Dear SB Unified Families and Staff,

These are truly unprecedented times for all of us.  In my lifetime, I have experienced a significant moment about every twenty years – the assassination of JFK (1963), the space shuttle Challenger explosion (1986), 9-11 (2001), and now COVID-19 (2020).  We will all remember where we were when the coronavirus became a pandemic and the unfolding consequences for our society.

The impact of COVID-19 is across all facets of society.  Public health, transportation, industry, education, the economy, supply chains, on and on. In our local Santa Barbara community, the impact on tourism, hotels, restaurants, higher education, the service industry, and others will be greater than the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow of 2018.

A crisis is a test.  I am proud of our leaders, our staff, and what is being built as we respond to this crisis. I have been so impressed by the innovation and collaboration emerging from our teams of teachers and staff.

Our counselors and school psychologists are gearing up to connect with their students using online communication tools. Our dedicated food services staff served 4,900 lunches this week! Our updated Learning at Home website provides resources and tools to support students’ continued learning at home while instructional leaders have developed detailed plans for supporting teachers and students with remote learning as we prepare for long-term school closure.

Based on current information and the Governor’s mandates, we anticipate being closed through the month of April.  We will remain closed until state and local authorities determine when we can return and we will provide updates as they become available.

As families hunker down for the long haul, our technology, our communication systems, and our facilities will be beacons of hope and support for the community.  As we head into our spring break week, I am encouraging our staff to take a week of rest before we return to reinventing education as we know it.

We realize that there are many unknowns and questions that we do not yet have answers to. Please know that we are committed to working together as a community to work through these challenges together. We appreciate your flexibility as we continue to navigate through uncharted terrain while also placing the highest priority on the health and well-being of our families and staff.

I wish you all a safe, relaxing and healthful spring break.

Cary Matsuoka

Information & Updates:

  • The SB Unified School District Offices at 720 Santa Barbara Street are closed to the public beginning Friday, March 20 through Spring break.
  • Update! Santa Barbara Unified campuses will be closed through the month of April. All campuses are closed and no students are permitted on the premises. Custodian crews are supporting our Food Services teams. Our facilities team will be fulfilling essential functions, as needed.
  • Grab & Go: Our food services staff served 4,900 lunches this week! Sack lunches will continue to be provided to SB Unified students all throughout Spring break (except for Friday, March 27). We will continue to provide meals throughout school closure. Click here for Grab & Go distribution sites.
  • Got WiFi? SB Unified is partnering with Cox Communications to ensure ALL students have access to WiFi at home. Cox is offering free/low-cost WiFi to qualifying families. Families should check this ParentSquare message for details. We are also working to gather data on students who may still need an iPad, or need their iPad repaired.
  • Public Meetings, the Brown Act, and Governor Newsom’s Order (N-29-20): Governor Newsom has signed Executive Order N-29-20 that expands on the suspension of certain provisions of the Brown Act regarding public meetings. We are balancing the right of our public to attend and offer public comment vs. public safety and flattening the COVID-19 curve.  We will be testing various technology solutions to find the balance between public input to the Board and maintaining public health standards. Please check the district website under Board Meetings for updates.
  • Check the district website for regular updates, announcements and important resources in both English and Spanish.