Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Santa Barbara County School Districts are going forward with in-person instruction as students return from winter break Monday, following recommendations from Governor Gavin Newsom and his office to do whatever possible to keep students in the classroom. 

The district continues to recommend that students over the age of five receive their vaccinations, and students over the age of 16 receive their booster, to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recently approved the COVID-19 booster for children ages 12 to 15. “We ask everyone to support us by doing their part, please check yourself, your students, and loved ones for symptoms, and if in doubt, test for COVID and stay home,” wrote Superintendent Hilda Maldonado in a press release on December 30.

A free vaccination clinic will be held by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department on Saturday, January 8, at McKinley Elementary School, which will include all vaccination and booster shots for everyone over the age of 5.

Before the winter break, each school in the district distributed take-home tests to students, with varying degrees of success, to encourage students to test themselves before returning to campus. Though testing was a voluntary option, the district will continue surveillance testing vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff. “We remain committed to in-person school and to do so will continue to maintain safety protocols in place, including testing, quarantine, and supporting vaccines for those eligible,” said Maldonado. 

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