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Santa Barbara Unified suspends all extracurricular activities as COVID-19 cases rise

SB Unified
Santa Barbara Unified School District students say that their classes felt empty all week due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With COVID-19 case spiking throughout the county, the Santa Barbara Unified School District made the decision to temporarily pause all extracurricular activities on Thursday evening.

Next week, SBUSD will begin implementing a comprehensive testing and screening strategy for all its students and staff.

Between the start of school in August and winter break in mid-December, the district recorded 175 COVID cases.

This week alone however, 151 students and staff on campus tested positive for COVID.

Additionally, over 1,900 students and 250 staff members have been absent from school thus far this week.

For this reason, SBUSD made the decision to suspend all extra-curricular activities. This includes field trips, performances and all athletic competitions.

“Our goal is to keep kids in school and COVID out,” SB Unified superintendent Hilda Maldonado said. “That is our main goal.”

Practices are allowed to continue on campus for all of these activities. 

The district will also bring back an outdoor mask mandate, meaning that everyone must be masked at all times on campus.

With finals week slated to start on Monday, Dos Pueblos principal Bill Woodard said that this was necessary to keep classes on campus and avoid distance learning.

“While it’s frustrating as a parent or a student-athlete to go through this, it’s only going to be temporary if we can get through this together,” he said. “Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, which is keeping kids in school.”

Starting next week, the Santa Barbara Unified School District will roll out wide-scale testing, administering rapid tests on campus to all of its staff and students.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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