Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

As the Food and Drug Administration expanded its authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to include children ages 12 to 15, the Santa Barbara Unified School District is working with the Public Health Department to get more of its students and staff vaccinated.

The district’s three traditional high schools took a vaccine field trip last week where 33 16-18 year olds were vaccinated at the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital clinic. The district is also working with Public Health to create vaccination clinics at La Cumbre Junior High School and Santa Barbara High School for those who are 12 and older. 

Frann Wageneck, assistant superintendent of Student Services, estimated that about 82 percent of district staff are either fully or partially vaccinated by now. With major end-of-the-year events coming up, she added that the district is now in the huge undertaking of collecting proof of vaccinations from attendees.

“End-of-the-year activities like prom, senior events, graduations — they are coming up. In these large gatherings, the state does require either a negative test or proof of full vaccination,” Wageneck said.

The district has had a total of 190 known COVID-19 cases in students and staff since september 2020 — 109 staff and 81 students. There have been 14 new cases in the past two weeks alone. Over 60 percent of the cases in the past two weeks among students have been related but not a result of a contagion on any school campus.  There have been a total of 12 presumed COVID-19 transmissions on campuses. 

The district has also continued to require bi-weekly testing of employees who are not fully vaccinated, as well as some fully vaccinated who choose to keep getting tested. Student athletes who are not fully vaccinated and are competing in high-contact sports continue to test prior to their competitions. There have been 11,673 tests so far, 51 of them positive, for a 0.45 percent positivity rate. 

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