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Santa Barbara Unified School District reports 20 COVID cases during first week of in-person learning

COVID impacts 14 students and 6 staff during first week on school in SB Unified School District

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-In-person classes began last week in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, but school board meetings are still virtual due to public comments made via Zoom.

Tonight board members learned about 20 confirmed COVID cases in the district. They include 14 students and 6 staff members.

Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said, "It is concerning to us because last April we had 26 in one month, only."

There is not evidence of any transmissions on school property.

The news comes two weeks after a small group of vaccine and mask opponents rallied outside the school board meeting.

Some people called into the meeting complain about masks and to say they opposed vaccine mandates.

At least 85 percent of the staff has been vaccinated.

Countywide 64 percent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Deputy Director Susan Klein-Rothschild said. "It is unfortunate and concerning that as we start our school year we are doing it in a community that has too much COVID19."

Klein-Rothschild presented slides showing a spike in hospitalizations.

The district is also looking into buying air purifiers and is recommending students wear masks that fit well.

If a students tests positive they are required to stay home for a minimum of 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.

Parents will be asked to give consent that will allow children under age 13 to be tested for COVID on campus.

Teenagers are allowed to agree to testing on their own.

Maldonado said she wants people to know that, "Students, our staff our teachers and everyone we are doing the best that we can and learning as fast as we can but more than anything we want to keep kids in school."

Next week the board will get an update and find out if the COVID numbers are going in the right direction.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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