By Hilda Maldonado, Superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District

Our county has made progress in our battle to decrease COVID rates. We are now in the red tier, and we are hopeful that we will continue to see a decline in infection rates.

We have begun to bring back small groups of students as well as Athletics. This week’s video highlights our visits to those campuses where student cohorts were welcomed back this past week. We also continued with our staff’s COVID 19 testing and are happy to share there are no positive cases reported to date.

By now you may have heard that schools will be allowed to open as early as October 13, 2020 if the county stays at the “Substantial transmission-red tier.” To help you learn more about what it means to return to in-person instruction, we have created a Family Resources & Information webpage which will be updated regularly.

As we move forward, each family needs to be thinking about three things when deciding whether to send their student back to school in person:

1. Know the status of the virus in your community

2. Know your and your family’s health risks

3. Know your school’s Health and Safety plan

In the coming weeks, your student’s principal will be communicating to you their individual schools’ health and safety protocols to ensure our campuses are prepared to welcome back students. The week of October 19, we will be reaching out to you to request your decision on your preference for your student: in-person school or distance learning.

Lastly, I met with a student advisory group last week and they have asked us to conduct a poll of students to learn more about their opinions on returning to school. Principals will be conducting the poll with 7-12 grade students this week.

Have a healthy and safe week everyone.