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Elementary schools on track to reopen as COVID-19 cases drop

Hilda Maldonado
Blake DeVine/NC3
SB Unified Superintendent Hilda Maldonado oversees a young student taking an online class from a childcare center at Harding Elementary School.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The pandemic that has plagued Santa Barbara County for the past year is starting to slow down, as new coronavirus cases steadily decline. 

“We are seeing a beautiful trend downwards,” public health officer Henning Ansorg said. “We really want to continue on that trend.”

If the county’s adjusted case rate remains below 25 new cases per 100,000 residents, elementary schools could reopen on Wednesday.

“We are really excited about this new development,” Ansorg added. “We know how important it is to get our kids back into school.”

However, allowing kindergarten through 6th grade students to resume in-person instruction could come with risks.

“As Santa Barbara County schools start to reopen, it’s possible that more cases will be attributed to children,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said.

“Our daily case rate is still much higher than it ever was in our summer surge,” Ansorg said. “We are not out of the woods just yet.”

Despite a move into phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccinations, only limited appointments were available for those age 65 and older.

“With the winter storm, we experienced unexpected countywide delays with the Moderna vaccine shipments,” Do-Reynoso said.

With an eye towards the future, further reopenings will depend on the county’s collective behavior. 

“We have to continue with our most important activities,” Ansorg concluded. “By wearing masks.”

Separate sector populations will also be eligible to receive vaccinations on March 1st.

This includes those working in agriculture, food, education, childcare and emergency services.

Watch tonight on NewsChannel 3-12 and KKFX Fox 11 news.

(More information, video and pictures will be added here later today.)

California / Community / Coronavirus / Education / Health / Lifestyle / Safe at Home / Santa Barbara - South County
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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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