The Santa Barbara Unified School board voted unanimously on Tuesday to bring students back to campus in person via a hybrid learning model on January 19, 2021, if the county has reached the Orange “moderate transmission” tier.
The decision means elementary and secondary students would remain in distance learning until January 19, which is the beginning of the second semester.
More than 700 people attended the board meeting, with 21 community members speaking during public comment.
In the coming weeks, families will be receiving more detail about hybrid learning at each grade level. Then, each family will be asked to officially select a program of choice: Hybrid or distance learning.
As designed, hybrid learning involves:
- 2 days in-person learning
- 3 days of at-home distance learning which will include a combination of online learning and independent learning activities.
Board trustees were asked to consider two possible reopening dates for the elementary grades: November 9 or January 19. Their unanimous vote landed on January 19 as it gives staff more time to design and communicate plan details, and fill needed positions to accommodate smaller class sizes.
In anticipation of increased staffing needs, recruiting efforts are underway for the following positions via the district website: sbunified.org:
- playground supervisors
- substitute teachers
Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said the board’s decision allows district staff to move forward in a methodical fashion with time to engage and inform families and staff.
“I’m pleased to have the board’s support, along with the teacher’s commitment and our parent’s understanding, that returning on January 19 is the best course forward for our students,” Superintendent Maldonado said. “We look forward to implementing a rigorous Hybrid learning model. We know that the best educational model is one that involves students learning in person with their teacher. We now need to all continue to do our part to reduce the rates of COVID in our community so we can move forward in bringing our students back for in-person learning.”