Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st title=
SBUSD Administration Building on Santa Barbara Street (file photo)
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Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District

At their school board meeting [Tuesday] evening, Santa Barbara Unified School Board members approved the district’s plan to welcome back elementary students with a phased-in, Hybrid learning model during the week of Monday, March 1 through March 5, 2021.

The vote comes after the announcement earlier today from the state Department of Public Health that Santa Barbara County’s Adjusted Case Rate has declined to 16, and remained below 25 for five consecutive days, which means elementary schools can reopen. 

Principals at each school site will provide specific details, so families should stay tuned for further news and information.

If Covid rates continue to decline to 7 per 100,000, the state will allow secondary campuses to reopen. Per the district's labor agreement, today the district issued a 10-day notice to all certificated secondary educators to return to campus on March 9 in preparation for in-person learning.

"We are ready to see our students back on campus and to continue to serve our families who chose to remain in our distance learning program," said Superintendent Hilda Maldonado. "We also acknowledge and thank our elementary teachers and staff and welcome them back to their classrooms. Their work and commitment since day ONE has been key to supporting and guiding our students during this challenging time."

The district's approved COVID Safety Plan and other return to in-person resources can be found HERE.

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sbres Feb 24, 2021 12:54 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Therein lies the problem "Dozens of local schools, like Montecito Union......" - SBUSD is not like Montecito Union which operates one school with fewer students than any one school in SBUSD. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.......let's all just move on and hope for the best.

dukemunson Feb 24, 2021 01:06 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

SBRES - You obviously don't understand the phrase "damned if you do, damned if you dont". In this case, the appropriate phrase is "blessed if you do, damned if you dont". Schools that opened (AROUND THE STATE/COUNTRY/WORLD) didn't see appreciable spread via school. In the face of that...our school district DID NOTHING...and so yes DAMN THEM!!! The waiver in California was practically created for Santa Barbara County, as the prison, Santa Maria and Lompoc numbers that were keeping SB in the wrong tier in the Summer and Fall should never have been used in the calculus for our schools to open. That was the whole point of the waiver! Circumstances that local officials know and understand better than Sacramento! But we punted...a waiver would have taken work and leadership...things Montecito Union and private schools and hope school district recognized. Shame on our school board...and everyone that voted for them and gave them a free pass!

bosco Feb 24, 2021 01:31 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

I don't buy the numbers argument. Yes, the school districts have more students. But they also have more staff and more teachers and more classrooms. The kids are dispersed and not all interacting at once. Yes it's harder to organize all the resources and manage more students at schools. But it's being done at Schools and districts large and small around the world for many months successfully.

letmego Feb 24, 2021 02:35 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

BOSCO, you do have to realize that class sizes are much smaller at MUS, Hope district schools, private schools. Plus many of these schools can raise the money to make class sizes even smaller. I mean, MUS class sizes are half that of SB. Not all schools have "extra classrooms" or "extra money". A better comparison would be Carpinteria.

dukemunson Feb 24, 2021 02:45 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Letmego - I've repeatedly (obviously!) berated GUSD because they have the money and the smaller class sizes to easily open...and yet they still were completely unwilling and unable to accomplish anything! Our GUSD school had less than 250 kids and the average class size pre-covid was around 21/22. They do have a silly amount of administrators though which guaranteed that they would be too big to succeed.

420722 Feb 24, 2021 09:34 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Think, the kids will only go back to school 2 days a week and be home on DOOM I mean zoom for the other 3 days. Though it’s a step in the right direction there is still much more to be done. It’s like getting a lazy person that sleeps all day to finally get up and move to the couch. Not much but something.

Basicinfo805 Feb 24, 2021 08:23 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Yeah no way anyone can defend the actions of the local public schools at this point. They failed big time. It's all on record. They collectively have TONS more resources than a small school like MU, Cold Springs, and the privates. The problem is they're complacent and lazy as a culture. Top heavy, slow to move, unable to think outside the box...
The public districts are overloaded with admin types that see they're role as cashing checks on their way to a cushy retirement, and never have considered having to work harder, think harder, or change in any way. I don't think most of the teachers are the problem. Some are. The teachers union IS a big problem though. They look pretty damn stinky right about now. It's a real shame what has happened here.

mm1970 Feb 26, 2021 01:52 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

You are kidding right? Schools like Cold Springs and MUS have 3x the money to spend. It's on record. You know that the average class size at MUS is 12? Twelve. An even dozen. SBUnified schools - almost twice that. With 13 schools, not one school. Also -much less on campus space for many of the schools.

It baffles me how so many people are unable to see the complexity of returning to school while allowing for both in person and remote, all while keeping class sizes at <13. Let me tell you how it goes...several of our teachers are going back next week - now teaching a combination class, instead of a single grade. Some of them are going to be teaching TWO new grades entirely. That means their current classroom full of students are ALL getting a new teacher.

Some of the students who chose to remain remote aren't only getting a new teacher (most of them are) - the district has ALSO said they are combining classes across schools.

Well, let's see, we can only have 13 students per class. We have 56 fifth graders, so that's 28 per class, but only 70% want to come back, therefore you've got 39 students. So, that's great - 3 sections of 13, right? But that's two full teachers, which means one of those teachers also has to include a combo class. BUT, don't forget about the other 17 students who are remote. They need a teacher also.

Lather, rinse, repeat for EVERY grade (all 8 of them) and EVERY school. It's like being stuck in the matrix. A brief survey of about 7 of my kid's classmates show that only 2 of them are keeping their teacher, four will be in combination classes, and some of the teachers are switching grades entirely.

With an average ratio of 12 students per teacher, 3x the money, and all that space, reopening is easy-peasy. For a school district as large as ours, not so much. In any event, I'm a fan of just doing what we are doing: rip off the band-aid. We start up next week, it will be an adjustment. We'll all be fine. You can't, and won't, make everyone happy.

mm1970 Mar 01, 2021 12:28 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

I have no idea why our class sizes are the way they are. Smaller classrooms? I haven't asked.

Also, turns out my kid is now also in a combo class, but at least they are going on different days. 5 days a week would have been better. I wonder why they didn't do it.

sblocal1967 Feb 24, 2021 08:59 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Any one know why the teachers/union were not requesting teacher get vaccinated day 1? They had almost 12 months to make this a priority.

Easy answer. Teachers never wanted to go back to school. Teachers like health care professionals and first responders could have easily made the argument of how essential they are and the importance to get kids back into school. But they didn't.

This is what I find so disingenuous. Where was Karen McBride the head of the SB teacher's union months ago. They all new a vaccine would be coming out at some point in time. Now that teachers are being asked to return to school she is demanding they get vaccinated. Really. Maybe if you made the same demands in the name of getting kids back to school you would be getting what you want.

mm1970 Feb 26, 2021 01:39 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

I think probably they never really thought the vaccine would be approved so quickly. I know I thought the vaccine wasn't even going to come into play until fall 2021. The teachers had agreed to come back when we were in the red, for the January start date.

Basicinfo805 Feb 26, 2021 07:14 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

SBWALKERS! Are you friggin' kidding? Are your kids ready?? That's really comical. The kids are ready. Everyone's kids are ready to be back in school. What possible preparation do the kids themselves need after being kept out of school and seeing their teachers and friends in person for a year?
You just earned The // C'MON MAN! // award for the year!

Congratulations.

dukemunson Feb 27, 2021 07:33 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

You mean the parents calling out the teachers union for (in the face of studies showing the devastating long term effects of school closure on our kids and society at large and the complete lack of increased safety risk of closure) refusing to be the only job to reopen?

mm1970 Mar 01, 2021 03:52 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

They haven't really had a year. Read my earlier response on how complicated it is to balance hybrid and full remote across 13 schools and the numbers involved (for SBUnified). Added to that, they had a number of families who had opted to go back to school hybrid when we were supposed to open in the red tier in January - who changed their minds to stay remote. They then had to redo the numbers / classes/ assignments.

Some of the teachers and students literally didn't have their class/ grade/ teacher assignments until late last week due to these changes.

dukemunson Mar 01, 2021 07:51 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

I don’t understand the 13 kid limit for SB unified. Goleta has around 80% kids coming back so 19 kids per class (with the 21 extra teachers in play) makes the math pretty straight forward... it’s odd how/why SB limited themselves to that specific number.

mm1970 Mar 02, 2021 10:59 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

DUKE - I don't actually know what the specific number is for SBUnified. I am just estimating based on my particular kid's class size. I expect it may vary school to school, depending on overall enrollment AND individual classroom sizes and available outdoor space. The schools very likely did the math in the fall as to how many students they could fit with 6' distance in each classroom, and went from there. (He went from 25-ish when we were fully remote to 12 or 13 with hybrid). He is actually going to be in the same physical classroom that he was in last year, and yeah, 12-13 sounds about right for that size of room.

dukemunson Mar 02, 2021 12:33 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

MM1970 - It's a point that I find interesting...the arbitrary number of kids in a class. GUSD is (I believe) going with 19 kids in each class...and that's no matter the size of the classroom and is across the full district. As best I can tell, someone chose that number and it's the magic number no matter what the physical class size is. It's somewhat bewildering!

Andrea Smith Feb 26, 2021 02:26 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

I've lost alot of the respect I used to have for teachers. Not all - not the ones who wanted to work - but the ones who insisted it was "unsafe". What about grocery store workers, in a much larger, less controlled environment with tons of strangers, some refusing masks, etc. They showed up. There were ways to deal with this. If a teacher is older or with underlying conditions make accommodations but otherwise, there is no reason they could not have figured something out. If it's class size that's the issue, split the class, alternate days that 1/2 is on Zoom the other in person. We did that at the courts. You could go in person [when they re-opened] or by Zoom. And it worked. Just no excuse.

bosco Mar 01, 2021 11:30 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Approves K-6 Reopening March 1st

Yes, This is the number one message I keep trying to get. Everyone else has had to figure this out. Industries have made every effort, made every accommodation, put in place new policies, and generally found ways to do their best to stay open and keep operating. The ONLY group that has put up extreme resistance is the Public school teachers. These teachers provide such an important and valuable service to the community it's embarrassing that they have positioned themselves this way. I don't blame the individual teachers, I have many teaching friends and for the most part they get it. But there has been a group think mentality lead by a few outspoken teachers and union representatives that has proliferated and become highly politicized. It's an unfortunate stain on what should be a well respected profession. This experience has really made me rethink my opinions on the public education system.

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