Letter from Superintendent Maldonado: School starts in three weeks!

Dear Santa Barbara Unified Students, Employees, Families, and Community Partners,

I trust your weekend went well and you and your loved ones continue to remain safe and healthy. At last week’s board meeting we discussed the initial contingency plans for the start of the new school year. The presentation to the board included our commitment to plan for three potential scenarios: 100% distance learning, hybrid-model of learning and 100% back at school learning. We recognize that given the Governor’s guidance for reopening, our plans will need to be fluid. To mitigate a changing landscape, we have teams working to prepare guidance for all three scenarios. The Governor’s guidance allows for schools to apply for a waiver from distance learning. The basic process includes consultation with school stakeholders and the local Public Health Department, review of the local epidemiology, and consultation with CDPH. These processes are still being defined. 

School is only three weeks away and as the summer evolves, I would like to encourage you to make the best of this time with your children. As a parent, I recognize that children are adjusting in different ways. Each person’s age and personality may impact how they respond to transition and change.  Working parents may face additional challenges as they look to balance work with caring for children. I have heard from some parents who are tapping support from extended family members – like grandparents, aunts, uncles and older cousins – to help with young ones at home.

There are opportunities to enhance children’s learning with resources at the library, or hiking and walking trips where they are encouraged to discuss their observations or write and draw about their community. Older students will need opportunities to engage with their friends. Using technology with safeguards is a great way to encourage students to create and maintain friendships while practicing social distancing.

By the end of this week, we will be sharing more details with you about our Distance Learning Plan, and what families can expect as we head back to school on August 18.

Please know that we remain committed to making our 2020-2021 school year a positive, engaging and safe experience for all students. As we all look to creating new daily routines for students, we will emphasize the importance of mask-wearing, hand-washing, social distancing, and keeping healthy habits.

I wish you all a safe, healthy and enjoyable week.

Hilda Maldonado