Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention title=
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention
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Photo: Santa Barbara Unified School District 

By edhat staff

All schools from Kindergarten through grade 12 within Santa Barbara County will close beginning Monday, March 16 to prevent a potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

There are currently no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD).

“The closure of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instruction, social connection and cognitive engagement.  This was a very difficult decision, which was not made lightly,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido.  “Our school leaders recognize that this closure has widespread ramifications and are working to address impacts such as nutrition for students who typically receive meals during the school day.”

PHD declared a local health emergency on Thursday evening in response to an increased spread of COVID-19 across the country and the Governor of California’s Declared State of Emergency and mass gathering guidance.

During the press conference, local officials stated schools will remain open but in less than 24 hours they have appeared to change course.

A message sent to school staff and parents stated, "each district has the flexibility to begin cancelling Monday, March 16, with full closure no later than Wednesday, March 18. Santa Barbara Unified schools are closing beginning Monday, March 16, through (at least) Friday, April 3. Our staff will still report to work on Monday and Tuesday."

“We support the decision to close public schools. While there are no confirmed cases at this time, this demonstration of social distancing will help to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the public health impacts in our community,” said Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso.

Social distancing refers to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people to hopefully slow community transmission of the virus. It recommends at least 6 feet of space between one another and avoiding large gatherings. 

The Santa Barbara Unified School District will offer bagged meals for children 18 years old and younger that may be picked up between 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the following sites:

  • Adams Elementary
  • Franklin Elementary
  • Harding Elementary
  • Monroe Elementary
  • Dos Pueblos High School
  • San Marcos High School
  • Santa Barbara High School
  • La Cumbre Junior High
  • La Colina Junior High
  • Goleta Valley Junior High

Parents and caregivers should plan on driving their children to any of these sites and picking up meals from their car curbside. Alternatively, they can walk up to the meal cart to receive their meal to take home but hildren must be present in order to receive the meal.

Local schools join UC Santa Barbara who announced on Tuesday it is transitioning classes to remote instruction for the remainder of Winter Quarter and the start of the Spring Quarter through at least the end of April. 


[Editor's Note: Updated information has been added regarding meals for children outside of school]

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aragorn Mar 14, 2020 01:13 PM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

In 1966, when I was 10 years old my mom and I came down with the Asian Flu (commonly known as the Hong Kong Flu back then), and I was attending Franklin Elementary School at that time. The schools did not close down. My fourth grade teacher came over to the house to drop off some class assignments for me to do so when I returned back to school I would be caught up with the rest of the class. My sister who was over a year old did not get it. Coronavirus is much more serious. Let's all hope that a vaccination will be available soon to prevent coronavirus.

a-1594602438 Mar 14, 2020 08:53 AM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

Open your home to care for young children with working parents to help eliminate shortages of health care workers needing to miss work to care for their minor children. Under age12 kids, need a safe place to be 7a to 5:30p. Schools will continue to be paid in full their daily per pupil ADA revenue despite closure. Free meals will be available but young elementary age students age 4-12 years need a responsible adult to get them to meal distribution centers while parent works.

a-1594602438 Mar 13, 2020 03:44 PM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

To hunker down is warranted, but be reminded we're now beyond containment and in the delay phase. This sadly cannot be stopped. But we can slow the spread and any negative strains on healthcare. If it were possible for everyone to wait it out, every single person, then the virus could have been conquered. China tried this to no avail. It needed to stop in the circle of patient zero. In the same, if everyone hides from it now, it only delays infection as it lies in wait for us to come back to the few still outside who've been exposed. Social Distancing is about mitigation and slowing the infection rate. Those who wait longest, one day, will be the few not infected. With hope, this Covid will go through mutations over time that lessen any severity and impact. That and, after a few months, we'll know better what the real outcomes look like and how to live with that.

EastBeach Mar 13, 2020 08:28 PM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

As an engineer, I find that graphs/visualizations help to make a point. This nicely shows how measures such as social distancing, etc. can help keep our health care system from being overwhelmed the way that Italy's is now ..... https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/13/815502262/flattening-a-pandemics-curve-why-staying-home-now-can-save-lives

jqb Mar 13, 2020 04:52 PM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

The main reason to slow the spread is to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system, which in the U.S. in particular is vulnerable because the efficiency of the for-profit system keeps unfilled beds and unused respirators at a minimum. "With hope, this Covid will go through mutations over time that lessen any severity and impact. " -- the basic principle of natural selection is that the "fittest" mutations survive and spread throughout the organism's population. In evolutionary biology, what counts as "fitness" is the ability to produce viable offspring. So a mutation that makes it easier for the virus to attack cells, or that increases the number of viruses produced by the cell before it dies, or that causes sneezing which spreads the virus further, would be more "fit". A mutation that causes the virus to quickly kill anyone that it comes into contact with probably would not spread far. Perhaps there are mutations that would increase fitness while, as a side effect, would reduce the number of cases of severe pneumonia, but it's not clear that there's any reason to expect that.

Shasta Guy Mar 13, 2020 02:36 PM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

Our school had already planned to close on Monday for the next three weeks prior to this announcement. We will now have one college student and two high school students attending classes virtually from home. I wish all you parents of school age kids the best of luck and patience. This has parallels to the Thomas Fire because virtually every activity our family does is suspended until further notice. Perhaps we can share what we're doing that successfully prevent cabin fever.

EastBeach Mar 14, 2020 01:07 PM
Santa Barbara County Schools to Close Monday for Coronavirus Prevention

I second the suggestion for hiking. Or just a nice walk in the fresh air. Take a listen to see how many birds you can hear or see in the air. Ellwood Mesa, Douglas Preserve, Elings Park come to mind. Inspiration Point for a little more exercise. Tunnel, Rattlesnake, etc. for even more.

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