Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

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Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing
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By Hilda Maldonado, Superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District

Our county has made progress in our battle to decrease COVID rates. We are now in the red tier, and we are hopeful that we will continue to see a decline in infection rates.

We have begun to bring back small groups of students as well as Athletics. This week’s video highlights our visits to those campuses where student cohorts were welcomed back this past week. We also continued with our staff’s COVID 19 testing and are happy to share there are no positive cases reported to date.

By now you may have heard that schools will be allowed to open as early as October 13, 2020 if the county stays at the “Substantial transmission-red tier.” To help you learn more about what it means to return to in-person instruction, we have created a Family Resources & Information webpage which will be updated regularly.

As we move forward, each family needs to be thinking about three things when deciding whether to send their student back to school in person:

1. Know the status of the virus in your community

2. Know your and your family’s health risks

3. Know your school's Health and Safety plan

In the coming weeks, your student’s principal will be communicating to you their individual schools’ health and safety protocols to ensure our campuses are prepared to welcome back students. The week of October 19, we will be reaching out to you to request your decision on your preference for your student: in-person school or distance learning.

Lastly, I met with a student advisory group last week and they have asked us to conduct a poll of students to learn more about their opinions on returning to school. Principals will be conducting the poll with 7-12 grade students this week.

Have a healthy and safe week everyone.

Inside Santa Barbara Unified with Superintendent Hilda Maldonado from Santa Barbara Unified on Vimeo.

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SBSand Oct 07, 2020 02:22 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Wow Bosco, directing your anger at people that are NOT responsible for the virus is indicative of you having issues!

We all know that this pandemic hasn't been handled perfectly, which would be an impossible feat considering that it is not something that has happened before in most of our lifetimes. What we do know is that it is highly contagious and those that die from it die a HORRIBLE death. And when you look at the "great leader" of our country who has covid and downplays it and says it's no big deal as he gasps for breath... it's no wonder that some people are confused into thinking it is not that big of a deal. It isn't a bigger deal than it is BECAUSE things shut down. Yes, life needs to start taking steps towards returning to a more social and normal place but it needs to be done carefully. Children's educations are important but so is their health, and the health of the community.

It's not an easy thing to balance with so much still being a guessing game. Unless you have it all figured out over there?

bosco Oct 07, 2020 04:21 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

I am angry at people that are supposed to be doing what's best for our children failing to do their jobs. I don't blame them for the virus. I blame them for not putting our children's education and development first. They have had plenty of time, with plenty of examples around the world, to plan and get resources in place. The reality is opening as soon as possible was never their priority. I am angry when I see hundreds of wealthy families sending their children to private school when thousands of public school children are stuck in a substandard "virtual" education. I trust and respect our public health and healthcare institutions to make the best decisions for the community. I trust the educators to do what's best to educate our children. I am not saying COVID is no big deal. But I also believe it's a risk we have to learn to live with. Schools are too important to the well being of our community to close, they should be the very first institutions to open, no the last.

letmego Oct 07, 2020 05:01 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

I think it's obvious that they are concerned about health first, by virtue of the fact that they are starting up slowly (small cohorts), practicing their distancing, starting up their testing, and surveying parents and teachers about their preferences. I'm a big fan of baby steps, even though distance learning SUCKS (nevermind "it's hard", it sucks - it sucks for the elementary kid who can't focus, and it sucks for my former straight A high schooler who is pulling B's and Cs. The teachers don't like it either, but it beats dying.)

Sail380 Oct 07, 2020 01:25 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Amazing to watch the level of PPE evolve. In the beginning everyone was wearing space suits to administer tests. Now a low level mask and gloves is enough? Does this mean the virus isn't as severe as first thought? Who lowered the standard of protection for workers giving the tests?

sacjon Oct 07, 2020 02:16 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

VOICE - You are INcorrect. The virus is more severe than we thought, look how it's affected over 210K Americans. Just because we know more about the virus and learned that full body PPEs are not necessary, doesn't mean it isn't just as severe or more than we originally thought. Don't mistake increased medical understanding with decreased danger.

Voice of Reason Oct 07, 2020 03:07 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Current estimates for IFR are way below what they were in March/April. Just this week the WHO estimated 10% of the world population may have contracted the virus. 1M deaths / 780M infected = IFR of .13%. This is an order of magnitude below the original estimates which were in the 1.5% - 3%+ range. Is the virus dangerous? Yes. If you get it will you die? 9997 time out of 10000, no you will not. That's a 1/765 chance of dying IF you catch covid. Many other activities we partake in each day carry a similar risk of dying and we don't even realize it. Yes, covid is contagious and car accidents aren't, this is for perspective only. FACTS NOT FEAR

sacjon Oct 07, 2020 01:32 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

I got an email today asking when I was comfortable with my HS student going back. I'm so happy to see them moving forward and not refusing to even consider in-person learning like what they have been hinting at. If kids can be out there playing soccer, going to daycare, and now eating inside restaurants (without masks), then I am confident they can safely sit in a classroom, distanced, wearing masks in a clean environment.

bosco Oct 07, 2020 01:41 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Thanks Maldonado, all these things could have been started months ago in anticipation of opening elementary schools on waivers and everything else on the 13th. But we continue to lose months of our children's valuable education. Well done.

Voice of Reason Oct 07, 2020 04:19 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Is there a source I can read that from? Not being combative but I have had multiple email communications with the school board and changing requirements was the reason they now aren't able to go back to the model they had planned this summer, particularly the ability to bus children to school with the stricter bussing rules (i'm still digging on this.).

bosco Oct 08, 2020 09:56 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

I'm going off this information here. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID19CountyMonitoringOverview.aspx. See the section on schools where it says "Schools may reopen for in-person instruction based on equivalent criteria to the July 17th School Re-opening Framework (PDF) previously announced." There is a link to the school sector guidelines in the pdf that hasn't changed since 8/3.

lovesbalot Oct 07, 2020 03:02 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

I appreciate Superintendent Maldonado communicating with the community. I notice that she often uses the term " Students with Disabilities".. I understand that this is a government term however about 80 % of those SWD are those struggling with literacy and the preferable way to identify them is to refer to students with learning differences. Steven Jobs, John Lennon and Charles Schaubb ( a sb high grad) are or were not disabled. They simply have a different learning style. Disability has a negative connotation which is not helpful to students who already are falling through the cracks at our district. The CAASP scores for those with differences is negative 113. Hope the incumbents start to use best practices like the science of reading and automatic testing for students in k-3 and teacher training. Many with learning differences are brilliant so let's be more thoughtful with our language.

dukemunson Oct 07, 2020 03:21 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Anyone else for a 9am or 915am start for school? School doesn't need to be 7 hours long and we really should be letting the kids sleep...it seems like the science is pretty strongly in favor of this as well. (And then yes, we can stop using the excuse of kids waiting for their school bus at 630am in the dark to justify the November time change). SCHOOL AT 9am and we keep the clock how it is now!!!!!!

a-1602112433 Oct 07, 2020 04:13 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Duke, would that be for all ages, or just the higher grades? Because if I ever get back to my office, I need to get my child to her classroom before I go to work, and I have to be at work by 8:00. Maybe have later start times for kids who are old enough to get themselves to school.

dukemunson Oct 07, 2020 06:09 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Why not add a zero period to elementary or supervised play for the first 45 mins? Starting at 9am, if possible for the parents, is better for the kids. With schools closed let’s fix and improve some things for when we open. My work starts later and I hate waking the kids up... they need their sleep! And I think that would be true for a lot of parents. Not all... but a good amount. It would be nice if public could add in some choice and flexibility... especially when the science clearly shows how important sleep is at that age.

SBTownie Oct 08, 2020 09:46 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Could not agree more. 7:50 or 8am start time is beyond dysfunctional. I remember being exhausted every day of my life going to school from elementary through high school. College was great because I could finally set my own schedule. School is a babysitting service. We could accomplish the learning needed in 4 hours or less. I'm also against homework in most instances, especially if we're keeping kids in school all day. How about 4 hours of class and a few hours of study hall. No homework. When kids go home for the day, families can spend time together instead of managing endless busy work assignments, projects, etc.

hz Oct 07, 2020 04:20 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

voice of reason...it is not just about how many people die or do not die...it is the long term, possibly life long {only time will tell} debilitating, after effects on health and possibly early death from lung, heart and neurological effects such as stroke. I know people personally who had the virus back in March and April who are still suffering.

Voice of Reason Oct 08, 2020 11:40 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

HZ, you should stay home and stay safe. For me and my family, it is unhealthier for us to stay locked in our homes, out of school to avoid the potential for an "only time will tell" long-term risk, while waiting for a vaccine that might come whose efficacy and long-term side effects aren't know (only time will tell). See how my option gives you the choice but your option take my choice away?

haskelslocal Oct 08, 2020 09:38 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

62% of your property tax bill pays for this. And the fun part is somehow it became legal to allow not property owners to decide via vote how much YOU should be taxed because they want an inefficiently run jobs program.

SBTownie Oct 08, 2020 09:49 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Property tax should be abolished for primary residences. It's absurd to tax people for inhabiting a dwelling - a necessity in life. I'm fine with some tax for second homes, investment properties, commercial, etc. Nearly all European countries do not tax property like we do here in the USA. Tax is paid either at time of purchase or sale. I lived in and owned a home in two countries in Europe. We never paid ongoing property tax. Our income tax was "higher" than here, but came out in the wash to be the same as one pays owning a home and living in California or other high tax states. Plus, we had healthcare, trains, etc. Increasingly I am infuriated wondering where the heck they disappear all of our money to here in the US and California. Literally what am I getting for my taxes? I don't have children in school here, I don't qualify for ANY government programs or assistance, I just pay pay pay pay pay.

haskelslocal Oct 08, 2020 10:52 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Well put and interesting to compare. The tolerance we have for system designs such as this are incredible. And as you say, even if the overall burden comes out in the wash via different taxing strategies, there's still a huge issue with accountability and the new buzzword of transparency. Considering the system we have now, I'm honestly at odds that I pay 10x my neighbor for the same home because he's lived exactly in that house longer (even if we've both been in SB for the same time). I then itemize my tax bill by looking at the County Assessor details page and low and behold I pay for 62% for some form a "school" budget. And this, along with bond issues, are decided by voters who have no skin in the game? I'm surprised beyond reason how there's yet to be a brilliant legal mind who's taken this on as an entirely illegal method of taxation. With internet based programming today, we could apply payroll taxes directly to anyone who chooses to approve additional spending based on their vote. That's a fair system. Increases the tax base as well. They already did it with the gas tax addition over the past few years and that money went poof as nobody blinked an eye. Finally, I'd be somewhat fine with it if schools actually catered to children and not multiple overlapping bureaucracies drawing everlasting pensions.

Voice of Reason Oct 08, 2020 11:37 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

I wouldn't mind the extremely high taxes in CA if those tax dollars were put to better use. With some of the highest taxes in the nation we should have some of the best public schools, lowest ratio of homeless, best roads/infrastructure, awesome public transit. Unfortunately I believe most of that is due to a bloated public sector bureaucracy with way more employees than necessary to accomplish a given task, i.e. too much administration for the finished product. In addition, the public sector never shrinks as demands change, leading to an ever increasing, never decreasing headcount that only becomes more and more expensive to administer.

Sail380 Oct 08, 2020 02:58 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Pitmix I guess you don't travel or drive out of CA. Go see how taxes are spent in other places. As soon as you cross the state line into any bordering state the roads are in better shape, The shoulders are usually clean and well maintained, Bridges and interchanges well designed and decorated with art. There are parks that are clean and well maintained. All done with less taxes!!!!

SBTownie Oct 08, 2020 03:18 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

Pit, I drive on poorly maintained roads here in CA. I don't access public parks because they're filled with homeless. I used to spend a lot of time in public parks when I lived in Europe and I miss them very much. When I called the cops to report my vehicle being damaged in an overnight hit and run, I waited 3 hours for them to show up for my non-urgent call during a busy weekend and finally just gave up when it was 11 at night and I was tired of waiting. I'm not sure why you think we need property tax when we could tax income more fairly and cleanly without a bloated and insane tax code that benefits the .01% (not even the 1%) most of all. Everyone needs a home and property tax is a crazy concept. A tax to live in an abode that you may have owned for decades? Just for inhabiting space? Everyone has a right to a home free of taxation from the government. And like other commenters said - I have no problem paying my taxes when I get something for it and when I see government accountability. The bureaucracy, bloat, and waste I see here in the USA, California, and locally here in our city is unacceptable and unforgivable.

biguglystick Oct 08, 2020 10:54 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

In LA they have mouth swab tests. These nasal swab tests are highly invasive and really horribly uncomfortable, if not outright painful. I have dry and sensitive nasal passages. That test was AWFUL. Hurt me and I had a bloody nose on and off for the rest of the day. You would think that our city could get mouth swab tests. I cannot imagine how awful it must be for the children. They have even smaller nasal passages. Really, people, can't we figure out a test that doesn't HURT PEOPLE?

PitMix Oct 08, 2020 11:47 AM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

From Harvard Health:
A molecular test using a deep nasal swab is usually the best option, because it will have fewer false negative results than other diagnostic tests or samples from throat swabs or saliva.

bosco Oct 08, 2020 04:25 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

It has been improved. I got tested early on and it was painful. However, I just got tested again recently and it was better. They are now doing both nostrils but not going in as far, much better.

LooseCannon Oct 11, 2020 09:39 PM
Santa Barbara Unified Offers Drive-Thru COVD-19 Testing

These kids need to be back in school. The kids are under tremendous stress, having mental breakdowns. If supermarket cashiers can deal with dozens of people each hour, teachers can gets themselves in the classrooms wearing masks and doing their damn jobs.

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