Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools
By edhat staff
Governor Gavin Newsom released guidelines for schools to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, restricting any county from hosting in-person learning while on the state monitoring list.
This includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura along with 29 other counties on the state's "watch list" to conduct remote classes this fall.
Newsom said schools could not reopen with physical classes until they stay off the monitoring list for two consecutive weeks. However, local school districts and public-health officials will then decide when to reopen.
For the 26 counties that are allowed to reopen their schools, most of which are in remote sections of California, all staff and students in third grade and above must wear masks. Younger students will be encouraged but not required to wear masks.
The state's monitoring list provides benchmarks for active cases and hospitalizations compared to population size to determine when a county is allowed to reopen. In the past few weeks Governor Newsom re-issued stricter orders closing business sectors in counties whose COVID-19 numbers continue to increase.
There are at least 356,000 confirmed cases in the state, with 7,345 reported deaths.
The Santa Barbara Unified School District responding to the Governor's mandate stating they will follow the orders and open the school year with 100% distance learning.
“Our number one priority is to learn from the experience we had in the Spring, and deliver improved and rigorous Distance Learning that meets the needs of all students, especially our Multilingual learners, Students with Disabilities and African American students. We are committed to providing families and students with increased support such as webinars with the principals, online tutors, direct communication with teachers and more engaging content and curriculum,” said Superintendent Hilda Maldonado.
Maldonado said there is no question that there were flaws in the “emergency teaching” that was done in a state of shock in the Spring when districts were forced to abruptly close down. “We have taken stock and are learning from those challenges. Teachers will be receiving training on effective distance learning, using only one platform to communicate with students and parents and aligning their lessons, for example.”
School Board President Laura Capps urged the public to follow all the safety measures during this pandemic.
"I implore our community to get this pandemic under control so our county's school children can physically return to class. As a mom, I can't wait for the golden day when our students are back in school, getting the in-person education we all agree is best, and socializing and enjoying all the activities they deserve. To get there, given the Governor's mandate, we ALL need to do our part by social distancing and making short term sacrifices and our leaders need to -- at a minimum - enforce mask wearing and other basic safety measures," said Capps.
The next SBUSD school board meeting is set for 6:30 pm, Tuesday, July 21 and will be held virtually.