COVID-19 Protocols for the Return to School

Leiha Dulawan

Dear Santa Barbara Unified Families and Staff, 

As we prepare to launch the 2021-2022 school year, our number one focus is to do all we can to keep our students in school. That means we need everyone to do their part by doing the following: get vaccinated if eligible, and, if needed, be prepared to get tested for COVID on a regular basis. 

We are pleased to share that as of today, over 89% of our teachers and other certificated staff have provided verification of their vaccinations against COVID.

Please know that, as we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to follow the guidelines set for schools by the state and county Department of Public Health.

Please review the following information regarding our Back to School protocols prior to the opening of school on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.

  • Masks are required for all students and staff while indoors regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional outdoors. Extra masks are available at your campus.
  • We will do a baseline COVID test of all students in the first 2-3 weeks of the school year. We will use the data from this baseline testing to identify rates of COVID and to help us determine the frequency of testing needed moving forward.
  • Testing will be conducted with the care and support of trained school staff. Students will self-swab using an antigen (rapid) test. Parents/guardians will receive same-day results for their students. Results take about 15 minutes. Positive tests will be confirmed through the use of a PCR test, which will be sent to a lab. Results are typically returned in 1 to 2 days.
  • Please view the following video for a demonstration of a COVID Test: Student Self-Swabbing. Prior to your child being tested, parents/guardians will be provided with more in-depth information and asked to provide approval via a COVID testing consent form.
  • Students whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction will be offered enrollment in the Independent Study program via the district's Alta Vista School. Per AB130, our program has been expanded to serve students in grades TK-12.
  • As in the Spring, students and staff will continue to use iPass prior to entering a campus or building. iPass is a daily COVID-19 symptom questionnaire that ensures students and staff entering campus do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19. For a quick 20 minute guide on how to use iPass please join us next week as we offer two live webinars. Learn more HERE
  • In the event that students have to quarantine, they will have access to assignments through Canvas in elementary or NEO in secondary and be provided necessary instructional materials or modified assignments as determined by the teacher. Teachers will check in with them during the quarantine.

We would also like to share our Santa Barbara Unified 2021-2022 COVID Safety Plan. The plan is now on our website along with additional COVID resources. The Santa Barbara Unified Board of Education recently passed Board Resolution No. 2021/22-05 in support of the outlined COVID protocols.

For vaccination opportunities, locate a free, walk-in vaccination clinic HERE or at

Thank you everyone and please check in with your school sites for any further questions.

Dr. Frann Wageneck
Assistant Superintendent, Student Services