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Santa Barbara - South County

Drive-by protesters want Santa Barbara Unified to return to in-person learning

Drive-by protesters urge school district to reopen
drive-by protest
Joyce Roberson

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A group of parents drove by the Santa Barbara Unified School District office and honked their horns Tuesday afternoon, in support of reopening the school for in-person learning.

The drive-by protesters had to deal with construction on both Santa Barbara and De La Guerra Streets, but some inside the building said they could hear the ruckus.

Protesters may be happy to learn Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso sent a letter to the state saying the district's K-6 schools are ready to open with safety measures in place.

She talked about the letter during the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

State leaders are supposed to respond within a week.

Superintendent Hilda Maldonado and board President Kate Ford sent a letter to public health leaders asking vaccination clinics to make vaccinating teachers a top priority.

Maldonado has called the lack of learning in person an equity issue.

She said private schools are making it work and she believes the district can too.

Locally, middle schools, junior highs and high schools must be in California's Red Tier to reopen with safety measures and hybrid cohorts.

Santa Barbara County is still in the more restrictive Purple Tier.

If case numbers fall, teens are more likely to go back to in-person learning.

The Santa Barbara Unified School Board met virtually.

During the Zoom meeting Supervisor Hilda Maldonado said, "We may be approved to reopen within about 10 working days."

She said the ropening on K-6 in hybrid form would coincide with teachers having access to vaccinations.

She said they are not required to be vaccinated for COVID19, but teachers will be able to get them if they choose to as soon as the supply is available.

She also said parents would get to choose whether to send their children back to the classroom.

"Parents can expect to receive a note tomorrow to choose whether or not they will continue with their choice from the Fall to stay in distance learning or to now come into in-person hybrid modes," said Maldonado.

She also said they would be working with teachers and administrators to get their input and feedback on the best ways to recapture any incurred academic deficit.

Board member Lois Capps said they would work on summer school staffing which could be in greater demand due to learning loss during he COVID19 pandemic.

People can watch the meeting by visiting the school board's website.

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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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