Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Santa Barbara Unified School District (file photo) title=
Santa Barbara Unified School District (file photo)
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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.

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a-1595279153 Jul 20, 2020 02:05 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

I think it is interesting that both Trump and Biden believe kids need to be in schools! Science told them that with all its variations. Science does tell us many kids do not retain learning online even if they get it. Many lose interest right away. Charter/parochial schools with smaller classes can reopen. Seems most other comments refer to "science" as if it was a black/white world. Medical science is all about learning as one goes, especially with a new asian virus version. Have we not seen that we don't know what we don't know or understand. Kids have been vaccinated as well. Maybe this helps-- 95% is till the stat! Children without school time do not flatten the curve they harm their parents! Let's think out of the box -- Teachers have good ideas as well. Uh oh...I had my tonsils out? Where can I get some? This is a time to be flexible, careful and realistic! Other countries with similar stats have had no surge or have had rare incidents that cannot be linked to COVID.

sblocal1967 Jul 20, 2020 02:17 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Trump and Biden both want what ever will garner them the most votes. The majority of voters who have kids want them to go back to school. The majority of voters who do not have kids do not care either way - there are bigger voting issues for them to care about. Governors and school districts want minimal risk. It is very hard to quantify risk of kids not going back to school - but the very easy to quantify if they do go back. Very little of what transpires politically is about what is good for the "people" unless it is just a byproduct of whatever decision that was made. As is the case of all of the CV related decisions from the Federal level down to the local townships. What does every politician want? As second term.

sacjon Jul 20, 2020 12:18 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

THINK - nice screen name, love the irony! We need a school district to facilitate the temporary distance learning environment. We need a school district to be ready for all the kids to come back when we finally get this under control. We need a school district to support the online learners whose families can't afford home school programs and/or don't have the ability to teach home school during work days. There are LOTS of reasons why we need a school district. Why on earth would you seriously think we don't need it any more? Bars are temporarily closed, so let's just shut them all down permanently, right? "Think" about it ;)

PitMix Jul 20, 2020 09:24 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

High numbers of kids in LA are not participating in online learning, for various reasons. The physical schools and Districts exist to serve those usually poor kids that will not succeed with online learning.

mrs shell Jul 18, 2020 09:59 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

The countries that have successfully reopened classrooms have three things in common that we do not have: they have reduced their infection rates to low levels, they have assigned new money to schools specifically for Covid issues, and they have ample testing and tracing.

a-1595103841 Jul 18, 2020 01:24 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Besides the kids, there are a lot of other people involved with schools opening, like teachers, aides, support staff, etc, many of whom are in “at risk” categories. These are extraordinary times, and they call for extraordinary measures. I agree that in-person teaching should be delayed until the pandemic subsides sufficiently.

Sara Zen Jul 18, 2020 12:59 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Once again, it's clear that north and south should be 2 SEPARATE COUNTIES. 80% of cases are in the north. The situation in Santa Maria and Lompoc prison is totally different than SB. It's absolutely ridiculous for south county schools to be closed. Look at Europe. Even looking at the entire county, there are only about 400 ACTIVE cases; that's about .1% of the population. K-12 kids should be in school, TEACHERS with pre-existing conditions can STAY HOME. The fatality rate for children is LESS than normal flu. #recallnewsom

MT Jul 18, 2020 10:29 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Everyone seems to forget that the science shows children are not at risk of catching or spreading COVID. The infection rate among children is lower than the flu. This is nothing more than government control and fear mongering. Stanford University Chief of Neurology Dr. Scott Atlas said that claims of reopening schools as being dangerous are “ludicrous” and can only be described as “hysteria.” On Monday, MSNBC host Craig Melvin appeared to be expecting five pediatricians interviewed during one segment to say children should stay away from schools this fall. Instead, when Dr. John Torres asked the physicians if they would send their children to school with safe precautions such as masks and social distancing plans, all five said they would send their children back to school. In the Joe Biden-Bernie Sanders “Unity Task Force” proposal, the Biden campaign, backed by the teachers’ unions, states that sending children back to school is important and needs to be done, “there is no sustainable, long-term substitute for high-quality, in-classroom learning.” Yet here we have Newsom ruling by executive fiat that he knows better than science and dictates what is best for students.

PitMix Jul 20, 2020 09:26 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Some small number of kids will get severely sick or die from the disease, as has been reported. Google Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. But the other infected kids will help increase the community spread and give it to their older relatives. Does that sound like a good thing?

macpuzl Jul 18, 2020 05:53 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

And the kids who don't die will learn an important lesson: Their parents were uncaring fools.

SBgal74 Jul 18, 2020 10:12 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

While it makes me sad that my child who’s going into jr high won’t get the benefit of in person instruction, I do understand why this is happening. We’re not in a good situation in Santa Barbara folks. The numbers don’t lie. The sharp increase in cases and hospitalizations is very alarming. People are fatigued on social distancing and so they gather with others and continue to spread this virus. Masks aren’t worn at all or worn properly etc. For all those talking about how schools can make it work in all the “open spaces”, let me ask you in the hell do you keep children properly distanced when they’re not sitting in their desks? How do make children wear masks properly? Let’s face it, neither of those things are possible! While most children may not get gravely ill with COVID what happens when they bring it home to their parents and one of them dies? How does that affect the child? I’m not sure those who are freaking about the governor’s decision are really thinking this through...

mm1970 Jul 20, 2020 11:40 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Yeah, I don't see where any parent "wins" by keeping school closed, except for safety purposes. As far as keeping kids socially distanced or wearing masks...10:34...let me tell ya. My kids have been socially distanced because they almost never leave the house without us. The teenager is old enough to wear a mask on walks and introverted enough to not miss hanging with friends in person. The 8 yo? He wanted to wear a mask to walk the dog. Fine. Could not keep that darn thing on. Would not stop touching the face. Which is TOTALLY developmentally appropriate for a 3rd grader, by the way - parenting or not.

SBgal74 Jul 19, 2020 09:08 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

What parent would possibly have a “self interest” in not wanting schools to re-open other than the health and safety of their family and the public? That’s asinine! I’m actually paying a hefty private school tuition for my special needs child that involves a great deal of sacrifice. So, if it were at all possible and deemed safe for my child to return to school I’d be in favor of it! Distance learning will not mean a refund of tuition nor can I afford a private tutor as some might try to suggest. This situation sucks for everyone! There’s no great solution. What kind of leadership would just thumb their noses at the public health experts who say it’s not safe to send our children back to school right now? Oh, right that’s the crap “leader” who’s done nothing but sow division and hate and doesn’t believe in science or facts. I prefer leaders who believe in science and facts and actually care about humanity.

MT Jul 18, 2020 11:04 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Dr. Nicole Saphier explained why “children suggestively play a lesser role in coronavirus outbreaks than other common viral infections, not to mention, the far majority do not become as ill if they do get it [I]t likely comes down to two main hypotheses: children having fewer ACE2 receptor cells in their respiratory tracts (necessary component for coronavirus to enter) and since the severity of COVID-19 seems directly linked to the body’s own immune response, children having a less complex immune system may be protective. Not only may children be less likely to contract the viral infection themselves but also, it seems they may not transmit it as easily to others – an important factor when deciding to re-open schools.”

a-1595093650 Jul 18, 2020 10:34 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

SBGAL, if you claim you can't keep kids socially distanced or wearing their masks properly, then why does it matter where they are - school, home or free-ranging. A good book on parenting and instilling good habit may be in order. Do you have any other self-interests not letting schools re-open?

a-1595052456 Jul 17, 2020 11:07 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Worth looking into: elderly often had their tonsils taken out when they were younger. Younger people today, typically still have their tonsils. Tonsils are the first line of defense against respiratory infections. Could this fact about tonsils lead to the widely differing covid impacts according to age group?

SandyS Jul 18, 2020 11:04 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

You know, this is an interesting point. I never had my tonsils out. Even though I'm genX and most did. My mom just didn't b/c she knew that they are a first line of defense so I did suffer through strep here and there but that's it. I've almost never had a respiratory infection - I've gotten coughs from colds/flu but nothing serious. I wonder sometimes why they are so quick to remove tonsils. It's part of the body!

420722 Jul 17, 2020 06:02 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

There is absolutely no reason they couldn’t make this work for in-person. Use the cafeteria, the theatre stage, the sports fields, blacktops, empty or unused classrooms, the library etc. as makeshift classrooms. Anybody have kids in summer camps right now? Funny how that is going so well, no cases after more than a month of children from several different households together all day. IT CAN WORK! They need to pull their head out of Newsom’s ass and tell them we can handle the challenge.

SB_93117 Jul 18, 2020 10:06 AM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

420722: You are correct. I am on staff at an education program with several campuses (birth to 7th) in SB County and never shut down. No cases. No problems. Full education. Parents happy and working. Children active and learning. We work mostly outside. Lots of precautions. Schools can do the same. They should be open.

PitMix Jul 20, 2020 12:35 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Sacjon, that is defacto segregation. They do studies all of the time that say we are more segregated in terms of schools and where we live than we were in the 70s. Of course in SB, with such small minority populations other than latino, we are beyond segregation. And even if you include latinos, I bet the degree of integration in our local communities is very small.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 18, 2020 06:08 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

SBLOCAL: I wonder if Newson will bend to pressure again, and say that counties can decide which cities are okay to have in-person learning. Kind of how Trump said let states decide, and States have said let's see how counties fair, maybe counties can look at individual at an individual city's numbers and give the the green light?

sblocal1967 Jul 17, 2020 06:21 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Interesting that Gavin also won't let private schools go in person - why? wants to minimize haves getting an upper hand on the have nots. Sort of like Goleta/SB/Carp being penalized for North County numbers. Imagine if we are not able to open schools up due to Lompoc prison numbers. Be careful Teachers Union this whole thing may backfire on you. For many years companies thought about allowing more work-from-home to minimize office space cost but did not want to take the risk. Well now many companies realize WFH is not impacting productivity and in turn are not renewing leases. Obviously virtual learning is more cost effective and if proven to be just as effective, the result will be the need for less teachers.

sacjon Jul 17, 2020 05:34 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

THINK - not so much segregation, but it will create an even deeper divide between the haves and have nots. Hope Ranch parents are hiring private tutors to take over their kids educations, while working class families are lucky to have a spare room for their kids to focus in. This will be disastrous for our kids. I'm a Biden-supporting liberal (and proud of it), but this is a CRAP decision by Newsom. In fact, Biden came out TODAY with a plan to get all schools re-opened. Too bad Newsom didn't wait to read it.

LooseCannon Jul 17, 2020 05:09 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

It's official: TEACHERS are INESSENTIAL WORKERS. A bad decision, bordering on disgraceful. This was a foregone conclusion and a big middle finger to working families. The one-size-fits-all approach to a diverse county in a diverse state makes little sense. There is no epidemiological reason why classes couldn't have been held outside on school grounds, with fresh air and UV rays acting as a natural disinfectant.

LooseCannon Jul 17, 2020 06:58 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

And with respect to the teachers, PSTARSR, if they're concerned about catching "germs" (I know, I know, COVID is viral, not bacterial) from kids, they chose the wrong profession. It may be time for some teachers, old and/or with serious health conditions, to consider retirement, disability insurance, or another profession. Some could hold Zoom classes, I suppose, but I think most of the people in the teaching profession are, like the rest of us, in reasonably good health and could conduct in-person classes, just as most of us in the community are trying to go about our everyday business attempting to mitigate our risk of infection. Anyway, this is pretty much a waste of time, bellyaching. It was all a foregone conclusion.

LooseCannon Jul 17, 2020 06:48 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

PSTARSR, We know quite a lot about the virus. The optimum environment for transmission is when people are confined to poorly-ventilated indoor spaces, maskless, with no physical distancing. All of this could be mitigated by having classes outside. California has a warm climate, so we can do it. I share your "greater good of ALL" concern. What works in Santa Barbara for outdoor learning wouldn't work in Buffalo, NY, where students would freeze to death in the winter. But does that mean we shut everything down in Santa Barbara because we feel bad about the kids of Buffalo? I think not. I have one kid who received substandard education during the Spring and the thought of her being on Zoom in the Fall is dreadful. She has been confined at home and is becoming increasingly bored and listless. Her parents, myself included, are too stressed, financially and otherwise, to spend much time educating her, nor are we qualified to do so. Rich kids are getting private tutors for one-on-one learning. MIddle-income and poor kids are being left behind, perpetuating a miserable class and racial system based on inequality. Anyway you look at it, opening or closing, there are going to be negatives. I just don't think we're taking the education of the next generation seriously. I hate to be unkind, but this is another victory for the gerontocracy, government of old, rich people for old, rich people, with little concern for the future generation.

pstarSR Jul 17, 2020 06:09 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

there are lots of reasons. 1. if we knew how this virus acted we wouldnt be in this situation, remember to respect the fact that this is 6 months old and WE DO NOT KNOW. 2. one size fits all? you live in a society, comprised of lots of people, sometimes you have to do something for the greater good of ALL not just the few. 3. there is no epidemiological reason? I cant name 1 COVID-19. no matter the plan, there is no safe way currently to do this, thats why we are NOT doing it. I have 2 kids and am happy to see the smarter group prevail. heaven forbid people hang out with their children for a few more months and actually teach them something. remember teachers are NOT baby sitters and they are AT RISK of getting sick like everyone else.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 17, 2020 05:31 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

CANNON: Two points. First, I kind of agree, many teachers will be come inessential, since virtual classrooms effectively have no limits in terms of capacity. This of course is with the expectation that you'd need to have teaching assistants hold separate discussion sections to answer individual student questions on the material. Second, outside has it's downsides too, namely distractions. Do you remembers being bored and staring out the window at the trees, etc.? I do. Sometimes it was just more interesting. Outside kids will be subjected to all kinds of competition from the sights and sounds of nature and cars going by. Exams would be really tough for some kids under those circumstances. But the Greeks excelled in academics and they held outside classes, so who knows.

sacjon Jul 17, 2020 04:16 PM
Governor Restricts In-Person Learning for Local Schools

Thanks a ton to all you lazy, stupid morons who refused to wear a mask, ignored social distancing, insisted on still going to bars and restaurants and having parties. You all should be required to pay for our kids tutors so they don't fall behind (even more) the rest of the country. You should all be freakin ashamed of yourselves!

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