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SBHS Re-Opening Rundown

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an immense amount of information released by the administration of Santa Barbara High School and by the Santa Barbara Unified School Board regarding the imminent return to school. So what exactly do all of these outlines, plans, and charts mean? Tune in for a breakdown and general summary of all the information that has been sent your way.

Why are schools considering re-opening?

So why exactly has school starting in-person become relevant?

-As of September 22, Santa Barbara County entered the red zone (the number of covid cases is decreasing)

-In California, this zone allows the increased capacity of indoor establishments and the reinstitution of school under the state guidelines which were released on July 17th, and August 3rd 

-The reinstitution of school can be done in either the red or gold zone 

-October 13ths SB unified board meeting decided in which zone to open in

-The previous purple zone called for fully online learning, the case decrease in the county facilitated the start of certain schools, and the projected start date for SB unified schools.

Why not now?

If SBHS can open in the red zone, why aren’t they?

-While almost every precaution is being taken to ensure students’ safety when school opens, the safest option is simply waiting until case levels decrease to start school

– Superintendent Hilda Maldonaldo stated regarding the reopening date that, “we are erring on the side of caution by waiting until our COVID rates have declined and our county has progressed into the orange or gold tier.” 

-Considering the sheer size of SBHS it decreases the risk of a covid outbreak to start school when the case rates are lower

What will school look like?

When school opens on January 19th, what will school look like for those who choose the hybrid option?

-The student body will be split into two cohorts to decrease the number of students and increase  the social distancing protocols required

-Each cohort (A/B)will go to their classes as normal, except for only two days out of the week

-Example: cohort A will attend 4 classes on Monday, each 80 minutes. Then attend their zoom classes on Tuesday while cohort B is in school. Attend zoom class Wednesday as everyone’s online that day. Then attend classes in person Thursday, and zoom class Friday

The schedule for each Cohort is detailed below:

-While cohort C is NOT attending on-campus classes and is fully online; the people in this group WILL be able to participate in activities such as athletics and extracurricular activities that take place during the final period of the day, and after school.

How will the transmission of Coronavirus be prevented?

There is a pandemic after all, how are students and staff staying safe?

-The wearing of face masks/coverings and or face shields will be required for both staff and students

-Students desks will be 6 feet apart as will students 

-Portable handwashing stations will be installed 

-In order to decrease congregation in bathrooms and at washing stations, scheduled times to wash hands will be put into place

-Students will wash or sanitize their hands:

1before entering the classroom

2) before and after lunch

4) before and after entering an internal space that is not their classroom

 5) after sneezing, touching their face, coughing, or other similar actions, 

 6)throughout the day.

-Shared surfaces’ sanitation will frequently occur throughout the school day

-Windows will be open to maximize airflow, and students will be spaced accordingly

-Student and staff furniture will be spaced at a minimum of 6ft. distance both inside and outside of the classrooms

-Floor stickers and signs will be used to indicate doors for entering and exiting as well as lanes for travel in hallways

COVID-screening measures:

-Visual wellness checks of all students and student temperature with

a no-touch thermometer.

-Passive screening of all staff daily.

-Ask all individuals about COVID-19 symptoms within the last 24

hours and whether anyone in their home has had COVID-19

symptoms or a positive test.

-Document/track incidents of possible exposure and notify local

health officials, staff and families immediately of any positive case

of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality.

-The district will utilize a “Standard School Entry Method” through Google Docs and the iPass electronic screening and validation process that asks parents and staff members to respond to questions related to exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19. Students and staff will not be allowed to enter campus unless iPass clears them for an electronic “Entry” badge

Phased Return Plan: an excerpt from the school board presentation

Phase 1: The majority of the students remain in distance learning with the exception of small

cohorts. Small cohorts are classrooms with no more than 16 students and two adults.

Phase 2: The district will continue to bring small cohorts onto campuses. Students with

the most acute needs will be targeted for on-campus services. The number of people within each cohort is dependent on how many students a teaching space can safely hold. Certain sports will also be in session and adhering to health and safety protocols.

Phase 3: The district will implement its hybrid model, which brings 50 percent of the

students back in the classroom daily with one day dedicated to individual instruction and

professional learning for staff. The days that students are not on campus they will be

distance learning or working independently on assignments.

Phase 4: Return to full, in-person to instructional model. All students and staff will be

back on campus full-time with modified COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place.

Phase 5: All students and staff will be on campus full-time with cessation of COVID-19

health and safety protocols.

-Reminder: There will be a form released within the week of November 2-6 in which students can choose whether to attend in-person class through the hybrid schedule or continue fully online courses. This decision is irreversible once submitted, so families should consider both options carefully before choosing a learning option.

Parent and Student Zoom Meetings

To answer your questions about the schedule and hybrid learning, please join the following parent meeting:

Wednesday, Oct. 28th from 7:00-8:00pm

There will also be a student meeting where students can learn more about the schedule and what hybrid learning will look like for them.

Wednesday, Oct. 28th

11:45 – 12:45pm


3:30 – 4:30pm

The COVID-19 School Board Report is scheduled for October 27th at 7 pm. Click HERE for information on how to attend.


District Re-entry Plan,

Schedule for Hybrid model,, Theresa. “Quick Guide: What California’s Color-Coded County Tracking System Means for Schools.” EdSource, EdSource, 20 Oct. 2020, 


  • Isabella Vasquez

    Isabella (Bella) Vasquez is currently a senior in the Multimedia Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara high school. On her free time she enjoys mountain biking, making jewelry, and volunteering. She is honored to be the managing editor of The Forge this year, and hopes to provide quality articles and relevant news to Santa Barbara High School's community.

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