Greetings to Santa Barbara Unified students, families and staff,

As we prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday next week I have a number of important updates and reminders I’d like to share with you all.

As many of you know, cases of COVID have been spiking across our community.

Today Governor Newsom made an announcement that Santa Barbara County is included on the list of counties that have fallen back into the more restrictive “Purple tier.” At this time, we will be consulting with our School Board on next steps. The Purple tier means that schools are not allowed to open. If we do remain in Purple, and we apply for a waiver and it is approved, that means we can re-open as planned on January 19th. (As a reminder, waivers for re-opening are not an option for junior high and high schools.)

We realize that there are many unknowns, but at this time, we will continue to plan for three scenarios, including:

  • In purple tier: reopening elementary grades via an elementary waiver, but remaining in distance learning at the secondary level
  • In purple tier: remain in distance learning for all grades
  • In red (or better) tier: reopening our campuses on January 19 with a Hybrid model if we are permitted to do so

Last week, each family in the district was asked to confirm their decision regarding choosing in-person hybrid or distance learning for their student. Depending on where we are as a county in terms of transmission rates, we will be communicating with families to clarify our next steps.

At this time, only existing cohorts will continue and no new cohorts will be added. Under the more restrictive purple tier, cohorts may not mix, and are limited to 14 students and two adults. Students will be permitted to participate in one cohort group.

A reminder that our district website includes a newly revamped web page devoted to resources for families around returning to school. Please review our FAQ page that answers over 30 of the most common questions we are all receiving. The FAQ page is updated as conditions change, so please check it regularly.

A reminder that our district offers a number of Mental Health and Wellness resources for our students, families, and staff. Please check the calendar on our district website for details or reach out to a counselor, teacher or principal for any support you might need.

As challenging as it may be to not be with family and friends during this holiday, please follow all guidelines for practicing physical distancing, washing hands often, wearing a mask and avoiding large gatherings.

On behalf of our SBUnified staff I would like to thank you for trusting us with the education of all students.

May your Thanksgiving celebration be healthy, safe and peaceful!

Hilda Maldonado,