SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It’s been almost a year since high schools in the Santa Barbara Unified School District held classes on campus.
“Eleven months without in-person school has been insane,” Dos Pueblos ASB president Nate Vance said. “It’s been very strange not seeing our friends or peers in class.”
“Being on the Zoom calls you only get to see so many people and some people have their cameras off,” Santa Barbara High ASB president Izzy Kamin said. “It’s not as much of an experience as being in-person is.”
In-person learning can only return if Santa Barbara County enters into the state’s red reopening tier.
For this reason, some students at Dos Pueblos created a campaign called the Hope for Red Pledge, encouraging teens to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Instead of taking a sense of immunity for students, we’re trying to reserve that,” Vance said. “Instead, get students to help their community.”
Soon it became a competition between all three high schools to see who could complete the most pledges.
“We sent the message to everybody that we knew, posted it on our social media and tried to spread the word as much as we could,” San Marcos ASB president Kaylene King said.
In total, over 2,500 students signed the pledge.
“We’ve had students going totally off on their social media, rallying up students and we are seeing competition,” Vance said.
“Getting together as a community again was also really important as well as some competition,” Kamin said. “It gave the students a big incentive to take part in the pledge because it was something we haven’t had a sense of in so long.”
The grassroots effort is giving everyone an opportunity to join together while reducing new cases in the community.
“What we’re seeing right now is about one out of every three students pledging to be COVID-19 safe,” Vance said.
“So cool to see this many students want to be COVID safe and want to go back to school,” King concluded. “It was cool to see that much school spirit.”
The school with the most pledges will be announced Monday on social media.
All teens who pledged will also be entered into a raffle to win prizes such as Sonos One Speakers and gift cards. Students from the school with the most pledges will be entered into the raffle twice.
Watch tonight on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY News Channel 12 and KKFX Fox 11 news.
(More information, video and pictures will be added here later today.)