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News From Parent Square

Returning to in-person instruction
March 8, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians of SMBSD students:

It is hard to believe that nearly one year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the closure of school buildings in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Over the past year, as students have engaged in distance learning, every part of the SMBSD community has been impacted. I am humbled and grateful for the response of our students, parents, school staffs, and the entire SMBSD community in meeting the challenges we faced as a community, state, nation and world.

Last Thursday, an agreement was reached in the California Assembly and Senate, along with Governor Newsom, on AB/SB 86 -- the "Safe and Open Schools Plan." This legislation establishes March 31, 2021, as the target date for schools to return to in-person instruction, starting with grades TK-2 if a county's adjusted COVID-19 daily case rate is below 25 per 100,000 population. As of the March 2, 2021, state reporting date, Santa Barbara County's adjusted daily case rate has declined to an average of 13 new daily COVID cases per 100,000 population. While still in the Purple Tier, the county’s daily case rate is low enough for SMBSD campuses to begin to re-open for in-person teaching and learning.

We have been working diligently in anticipation of the opportunity to return to in-person instruction to ensure a safe return to campuses for all students and staff. We will be presenting an overview of the plan for the reorientation to in-person instruction at the SMBSD school board meeting on Wednesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. The link to watch the meeting can be found here -

As we transition to in-person learning, students will continue to receive some of their instruction online and they will also receive some of their instruction at school with their teachers. That means that on some days students will still learn from home while other children are at school, and the next days, the groups switch. We will make every effort to keep students from the same household together on the same schedule in this rotation. However, this will be complex to schedule across all schools in the district.

Additionally, families who wish to have their children remain in Distance (remote) Learning full time will be given the option to do so. Families will receive a survey by text after March 10 which will give them an opportunity to tell us if they want their children to remain in full Distance Learning or to participate in the transition model with a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction.

The return of students to our campuses is the outcome we have awaited together-- thank you for your patience and your commitment to our school communities and our students.

Luke Ontiveros

Published: Tue Mar 09 10:56:40 PST 2021