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Santa Barbara School board learns about in person education options

School board members get COVID19 update as they prepare to bring students back
SBUSD entrance


SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--The Santa Barbara Unified School Board held a Zoom board meetings that began with an update on COVID19 and plans to bring the first small groups of students back to school for in person instruction.

Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said, "We will be sharing with them some options as to how to open in a hybrid mode and a full person mode. We are really going for the status of Gold, which is the most minimal risk that we can have in our community when we open our schools."

She said kids don't come in perfect packages of 20 or take the same subjects.

"What we have called our hybrid model since June has been two days on, two days off, with the fifth day as a time for kids to come in for intervention."

She said they are working on getting the some groups back at the end of the month.

"Right now we are really working on getting our small cohorts back, getting athletics started and testing our staff. That is the work we have been most focused on, right now, in preparation for everything that is coming down the line," said Maldonado.

The first cohorts are the most in need of in person learning.

"The small cohorts have been prioritized, we have set in our district students that are in special education or newcomer English learners who have been in school less than 3 years, Foster youth , homeless and those are students that we know are the most vulnerable and we want to get them back in as soon as possible, but in cohorts that are controlled by the size."

The return to school for other students will depend on the county's ability to move into colored tiers that depend on the number of new COVID19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Gold or yellow is the best outcome, but the county is currently in the purple tier and closing in on the red tier that requires fewer than 7 new COVID19 cases a day per 100,000 residents.

Once in the red tier for two weeks public schools can take action without waivers.

School Board member Kate Ford said, "Bringing back students in safe and healthy ways is really our goal at this point and I am really excited about it, especially the fact that hopefully our county will get into the red tier. So even though the state has made some pretty significant requirements of us we intend to bring students back starting Sept. 30th, and have the testing the social distancing, the PPE, the contract tracing, outdoor education opportunities in place so that these students can really benefit from the experience and it will be great for them and also just set the stage for us to bring back every student as soon as possible."

High school sophomore Ivan Jimenez can't wait.

"Something I hope is that we do go back to school because I do miss some of the teachers, and I would like to learn more things because I feel like I understand things more in person than online."

Jimenez took advantage of the tech center that is open weekdays to fix laptops, chromebooks, iPads and other technology being used during distance learning.

"I just dropped it off and told them what the problems were and they, like, pretty much fixed it in less than 10 minutes, which is amazing."

For more information on the district tech center or for a link to watch Zoom meetings visit

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

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


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