Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings title=
Dr. Henning Ansorg during Tuesday's Board of Supervisor's meeting
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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials discussed the progress of school waivers and the importance of wearing face coverings during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

School Waiver Progress

Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg reported the Public Health Department (PHD) has received 14 applications for the school waiver process. 

Of the 14 submitted, 10 have been reviewed by a PHD epidemiologist and pediatrician. These applications are expected to be sent this week to the state for a final verdict on approval. The remaining four applications will be sent early next week. 

So far two public school districts have applied for the waiver but the rest are private schools. The following schools that have applied as of Monday are:

  • Coastline Christian Academy
  • Cold Spring School District
  • Howard School
  • Knox School
  • Laguna Blanca
  • Marymount
  • Montecito Union School District
  • Pacific Christian Elementary School
  • Providence School
  • Santa Ynez Valley Christian Academy
  • SYV Family School
  • Valley Christian Academy
  • Waldorf School

A representative from Crane Country Day School stated their application was also submitted to PHD on Friday.

PHD is reserving two hours at county healthcare centers in Lompoc, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara for teachers to get COVID-19 tested.

Once Santa Barbara County moves into the red zone, all K-12 schools will be allowed to apply for reopening.

Rating Face Coverings

Dr. Ansorg provided examples of masks to show County Supervisors which ones are most effective and which are less effective, and how research has expanded on this topic.

"We have gone a long way. At the beginning of the pandemic, I'm guilty myself of having had a significant initial hesitation against the wearing of masks, that was under a very different scenario and in light of the scarcity of evidence for the benefits," said Dr. Ansorg. 

"Now that this has been a worldwide pandemic going on for more than 9 months, initially starting in Asia, obviously there is much more evidence out there so there is very clear evidence now that wearing a mask for the general public is clearly favorable. Masks do not have to be perfect to be effective, that's a very important message that I want to stress today."

The most effective mask is an N95 without the filter. This mas is designed for healthcare workers, is fitted, well-sealed, and comes in a variety of sizes. 

A surgical mask has three layers of protection with a metal band for the nose. These generally provide a better fit than cloth masks and are surprisingly protective to the wearer from droplets, almost as much as N95 mask, said Dr. Ansorg.

The cotton two-layer masks, often the creative hand-sewn ones, due reduce droplets as studies show. Other materials such as microfiber combined with cotton also work well. A recent study reported at least a double layer of cotton or microfiber mix is good and an additional third layer will improve the quality of the overall effect, said Dr. Ansorg.

Face coverings that are not recommended are the N95 masks with a filter and neck gaiters. The filtered N95 mask works well during fires and while in construction zones to reduce inhaling harmful particles, but the filter is not a good source of control to prevent the user's out-breath.

Neck gaiters are better than nothing, said Dr. Ansorg, but the spandex type of material is porous and not the optimal material for a mask. Bandanas are also not the best option as they have a poor fit.

"Masks don't have to be perfect to work, the most important part is that a lot of people wear them and wear them on a regular basis," said Dr. Ansorg.

He went on to say they reduce infections by huge amounts as the worse spreaders are asymptomatic carriers.

When asked by supervisors if there are people who should not wear masks, Dr. Ansorg stated children under the age of two years old should not wear a mask. Medical exemption can be provided for people with severe lung disease or severe anxiety/claustrophobia.

However, there is no scientific evidence supporting a harmful increase in C02 from wearing a mask and it does not replace the benefits of physical distancing, said Dr. Ansorg.

Data Trends in Santa Barbara County

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso stated COVID-19 cases have increased by 9% in the past two weeks, but the rate of increase is at a gradual and slow pace. Active cases have decreased by 18%, hospitalizations have decreased by 31%, and intensive care unit stays have decreased by 18%.

Additionally, in the past two weeks, the areas of Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Lompoc, north county incorporated, Goleta, Montecito/Carpinteria/Summerland, Orcutt, and Isla Vista have seen a decrease in cases. The area of northern Goleta and unincorporated Gaviota as well as Santa Ynez has seen an increase in cases.

Do-Reynoso attributed the recent downward trend in Isla Vista due to a call to action with community and school working together, making traction. 

"I really believe that Isla Vista is going to be a model," said County Supervisor Joan Hartmann. "We have student leaders out there who are really taking the message seriously and working with their peers. What's really exciting is there's a lot of research at UCSB that I hope we can pilot and we can be a model for the rest of the country."

Based on the state's new monitoring system, Santa Barbara County remains in the highest purple zone of widespread virus infections.

As of Monday, the county is at 9.0 daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population and a 6.5% positivity rate. To move into the lower "substantial risk level" section that's color-coded red, the county will need to lower its daily new case rate to a 7 or less. 

By Wednesday the county expects to have these new metrics and methods reflected on their website.

Tuesday's Numbers

On Tuesday evening, PHD reported 23 COVID-19 cases and 2 additional deaths. Both residents were over 70 years of age and had underlying health conditions. One lived in the City of Santa Maria and the other lived in the North County Unincorporated area.

Santa Barbara County's death toll is now 95 due to COVID-19.

The grand total of cases is 8,164 with 209 of those active. There are currently 36 hospitalizations including 17 in the ICU.

More information can be seen here: https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/

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89 Comments

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Lorax Sep 02, 2020 03:26 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

I hope someone has reported Nancy Pelosi to her nephew Governor Nuesome for breaking his rules with her haircut. He is too busy dodging law suites for his over reaching politics. What a charming family that is letting us eat "cake" as our children get further behind in school. Even though the numbers have improved they have now made colors a game and set new rules for schools to open.
Most likely he will be in the White house as a reward if Biden wins. Think about that one, the other side is getting more attractive all the time.

PitMix Sep 03, 2020 12:46 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

I hope you live in California and not Russia because then I can make sure to cancel your vote with mine. Just think, all you Trumpsters could move to a state where the majority supports facist candidates, but instead you choose to live here where liberals control the state and many of the local governments. Works well for me!

pstarSR Sep 02, 2020 03:39 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

GSD made a choice and voted not to sign up for it. probably because they didnt think it was safe yet. you voted them into office right? you dont trust their judgement now? SBUSD definitly doesnt think its safe yet, so thats why SBUSD has not.

dukemunson Sep 02, 2020 12:32 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

That's the general frustration a few of us (OK mainly myself and SacJon on here the last few days) have with the school district...they inexplicably voted 5-0 last week to NOT APPLY for the waiver! It's truly bizarre and inexplicable! Fill out the waiver and then present to everyone what opening would look like. We know...it's going to look different, shorter and weirder. How do we know this, the board already presented a Hybrid plan that felt confident they could implement!

dukemunson Sep 02, 2020 04:04 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

I see the problem, an innocent enough mistake! You don’t actually have any context or understanding of this situation. You are interpreting the school districts vote in logical terms with out actually reading any of the articles or things they have said. You are inferring that the only reason they aren’t opening MUST be for safety reasons. And yes, that certainly would make sense. The reality though is different. They have stated they have a plan to open safely, in fact it’s what they planned all Summer to do! The reason they weren’t going to open though, and this is literally what they said, was it would be too distributive to teachers and administrators to switch mid term. They aren’t staying closed for safety.... they are staying closed to not “DISRUPT TEACHERS”. If it wasn’t so crazy and sad, it would actually be quite hilarious.

macpuzl Sep 02, 2020 03:55 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

You seem to be ignoring the fact that the schools need to put safety measures in place to meet the conditions of a waiver. If they feel they can't implement those measures properly yet, why should the open? Just because of vocal COVIDIOTS?

pstarSR Sep 02, 2020 03:41 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

what I enjoy here is the blatant dodging of the fact that the people AVOIDING restrictions are the ones causing us to be in this lockdown longer. so if your mad, take a look at whos doing what and how it is affecting you.

dukemunson Sep 02, 2020 03:34 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Well, the health officials aren't demanding we open...but they are saying we can and seemingly suggesting we should open...so...huh...I don't know...are they COVIDIOTS...or not? They are " willing to risk severe health consequences for their children and the community", but not specifically demanding it. That's a tough call Mac...in spirit they seem to fit your definition of COVIDIOT...but I am slightly stuck on "demanding"...that could kick them down to something lower...is there a "COVNOTSOSMART" or ...?

macpuzl Sep 02, 2020 03:16 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

The COVIDIOTS are the one demanding a return to school without regard to the current state of the pandemic, which for our county is widespread transmission. They are willing to risk severe health consequences for their children and the community.

dukemunson Sep 02, 2020 02:47 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

A question: Can you be a COVIDIOT on either side? Basically, is a COVIDIOT anyone who disregards medical science regarding COVID? Because I'm 100% with you that people that think it's a hoax are idiots, but also think that people that disregard health officials recommendations on starting school are "COVIDIOTS" too...am I right? Or should we come up with something different? Personally I like i! And I'm going to say it in my best Rick Moranis Spaceballs voice!!!

sacjon Sep 02, 2020 11:44 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Some reading for you, first on from FOX:

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/cdc-did-not-decrease-us-covid-19-death-toll-heres-how-the-data-was-misconstrued

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/09/cdc-did-not-admit-only-6-of-recorded-deaths-from-covid-19/

https://www.vox.com/2020/9/1/21410352/cdc-6-percent-covid-19-deaths-comorbidities

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/01/fauci-debunks-theories-of-low-cdc-coronavirus-death-toll-there-are-180000-plus-deaths-in-us.html

sacjon Sep 02, 2020 11:37 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

OOPS - you' really don't read well, do you? I have been outside, going to the beach with my kids every weekend, allowing them to play modified sports and hang out with their friends (those whose families I trust). I'm not hiding anywhere and I support going back to school as soon as possible, I've said all this over and over again. What my problem is, is with people like you saying this is a hoax, when over 170K people just in the US have died from it. No, the 10K figure doesn't matter. If I have cancer and a broken toe and I die, what is the cause? Maybe a bit simplistic, but you get what I mean (actually probably not). Just because someone has a disease or condition other than covid when they die, if the CAUSE is covid, then the death is due to covid. That's why the number is still OFFICIALLY 170K.

Emotional my a*%, just sick of this "hoax" BS. Sick of you people going out and partying, hanging out indoors with groups of like-minded science deniers. People who ignore the severity of this pandemic are the leading cause of infection. So yeah, I'm emotional because my kids are not in school, not competing in the level of sports they've worked years to achieve, not able to be normal kids because of people like YOU. Done.

Simpleton Sep 02, 2020 11:17 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Oops can defend himself, but here is the dataset released by the CDC that is referenced in some news outlets related to the "only 10k deaths" claim. To me, it looks like the 10k deaths (or 6%) figure represents the percentage of deaths where corona is the singular cause of death. The other 94% of deaths had corona plus one or more comorbidities: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-contributing-to-deaths-involving-corona/hk9y-quqm

sacjon Sep 02, 2020 10:49 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

DUKE - your 10:33 comment is 100% right on. I used to disagree with you, but on the school opening (or lack thereof), I am with you. We need to go to the hybrid model as soon as the numbers are low enough for it to be deemed safe. "Disruption" my foot, the kids need to be in front of teachers ASAP.

sacjon Sep 02, 2020 10:47 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

OOPS - yeah, i have a lot of hatred toward people who think this is just some joke and have done nothing to help slow it down so our businesses can open and kids go to school. It is spreading because of people like you. You all cry and moan about the liberals closing everything down, yet it is YOU people who are spreading it. Look at the Midwest right now, look at Florida.

And why do I owe you any explanation for Pelosi? I don't.

dukemunson Sep 02, 2020 10:33 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

It's not a hoax, the science and proof is unequivocal. But the science is now dictating that in person school in Santa Barbara is possible, beneficial and preferable to the alternative. So yes, it's crazy to think this thing is a hoax. But it's also crazy to put blinders on and ignore our health officials and refuse to consider implementing the opening plan that was and is deemed safe.

oops Sep 02, 2020 10:32 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

SACJON- such hatred! apparently you didn't know the CDC lowered the deaths due to Covid19 to less than 10,000. the remaining 171K had pre-existing conditions and would have died anyway..perhaps from the flu too.

You still didn't address why 80yr old Pelosi felt safe enough.....

PdW Sep 02, 2020 10:19 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

It's not a hoax, obviously. But it's also obvious that it's time to open up in some limited capacity as well. Let's please follow the science and health officials, which are allowing for schools to open. That opening should perhaps be 4 weeks away and maybe only 2 days per week.

vvorker Sep 02, 2020 06:44 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic again?
Just wait till the second wave hits this fall, and then watch the comments then..
We need to drop the SH- out of school, and make it going to cool!!
Like the cool bus seen around town these days!!

ChemicalSuperFreak Sep 01, 2020 07:00 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

I posted an 11-year old, peer-reviewed study on N95 vs surgical masks (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19797474/) , right here on Edhat way back in March when we were debating the usefulness of masks. Glad to see that Ansorg finally got around to researching this topic and has decided to comment on it publicly. Also, way back then, several of us here also pointed out that eye protection would also be required, in addition to the masks, to fully protect against respiratory droplets. I think Fauci finally made that declaration just a few weeks back. It's legitimate concern when the public is more knowledgeable than the so-called experts.

PitMix Sep 02, 2020 07:41 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Masks are to protect others when you are asymptomatic, not to protect yourself. Even health care professionals get infected when they are around sick people who are actively coughing and sneezing with no mask on. Only way to fully protect yourself is to stay in your house most of the time.

Byzantium Sep 01, 2020 05:23 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Here is where SBUSD can find the money - they were willing to lose $25,000 a day on a very over staffed, undersupervised school food program: .....".The school board has received reports since December (2019) that the district’s Food Services program was over budget and beginning to drain the general fund, much of which funds academic instruction. Up until this point, Meg Jetté, the assistant superintendent of the district’s Business Services, has said that the district’s partnerships with nonprofits and other stakeholders all over the county and its mission to feed people outside of the district has run the program into the red.

Tuesday night, however, Jetté and Superintendent Cary Matsuoka presented a new report that points to overstaffing as a major cost overrun. The report said the department is overstaffed by 24 percent and as a result, the district loses $25,000 every day. ...." (Independent)

dukemunson Sep 02, 2020 10:27 AM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

No, it's important. What's concerning is your other posts that seem to disregard this fact and want schools to stay closed indefinitely. Kids need a safe place to learn, interact and (for many) get two somewhat healthy meals. Why do your other posts dismiss this need? Why do you advocate staying shut indefinitely...despite what health officials and logic dictate?

Byzantium Sep 01, 2020 06:22 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

SBUSD parents can promise to pack lunch and feed their own kids a bowl of hot oatmeal every morning. Then save $25,000 a day SBUSD was losing on their "free" school food program. Family breakfast is a good way to a child's day. School bag lunches that kids make themselves teach balanced meal habits.

PdW Sep 01, 2020 02:29 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

If you live in Montecito...you get school! If you live in Santa Barbara and are OK (and able to afford) 1 to 2k per month per kid...you get school! If you just pay for your school via property tax (owning or renting) in SB or Goleta (along with fundraising help and boosts you always provide) you get...Zoom school! I guess you get what you pay for...

420722 Sep 01, 2020 02:26 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Some of the kids in my child’s class fall asleep during class. Distance learning is pathetic and useless. More harm is being done to our kids by keeping them out of school. Hooray for those that chose or could afford a real school that knows how important in-person learning is.

dukemunson Sep 01, 2020 08:05 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Crazy year... seems like everyone is on edge... (Myself certainly included)... Cheers! And cheers to Edhat... nice having a spot to engage in well meaning banter with fellow Santa Barbarians... Goletians.... NoLetions... etc...

GeneralTree Sep 01, 2020 07:45 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Thanks Duke - you did get what I was saying. Yes - we were told at our public school in SB it would be either hybrid or remote - but not both simultaneously. Maybe we can be more cordial tomorrow. Best to you. It gets heated but seeing that we are locals maybe we can move past that.

dukemunson Sep 01, 2020 07:33 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Well If true that’s crazy! I’m coming from a Goleta School district Perspective (3 kids Deep in)... and they assured us that when they could open they would give everyone the option of in person or zoom. It would be up the parents. Thus the anger and fristration. Now that we can open, they (at first vote) chose not to so as to not disrupt the teachers. This is about Health and the kids. Once the health gave the thumbs up )as they have), X number of kids need in person.. and they need to open. If thats truly SB’s stance... I’m sorry... that’s terrible

GeneralTree Sep 01, 2020 07:24 PM
Public Health Officials Discuss School Waivers and Face Coverings

Duke Munson. NO - PUBLIC SCHOOL IN SB. PRINCIPAL HAS STATED NUMEROUS TIMES EVEN JUST A COUPLE WEEKS AGO THAT THERE WOULD BE NO OPTION FOR HYBRID vs DISTANCE LEARNING IF SCHOOL OPENS TO DISTANCE LEARNING. Criminy - I never said one freaking thing about private school.

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