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News From Parent Square

Looking ahead to the next school year
June 2, 2021

Dear Parents, Guardians and Family Members,

As we approach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the amazing flexibility and resilience that has been demonstrated by the entire SMBSD community--staff, educational partners, and especially students and their families--in navigating the challenges presented by the pandemic these past 15 months.

As the public health situation continues to improve in the state and locally, the prospects for a 2021-2022 school year that is similar to our normal school experience appears more likely. Governor Newsom’s proposed state budget calls for a return to traditional Monday through Friday, full day, in-person instruction for students in the next school year.

Consequently, we are anticipating offering full in-person learning in SMBSD schools beginning the first day of school on August 12. However, many of the specific requirements and expectations for how schools operate will be developed by the state over the summer. We may not have all the answers and information right away, but we are committed to providing updated information to you throughout the summer so that our students and their families have the details they need.

We understand that some parents may be hesitant to return their children to in-person instruction when the school year begins on August 12. The governor’s proposal would allow distance learning to continue next school year with guidelines that are still being created by the state. As soon as we know how our district can offer a quality distance learning program, we will make families aware of the option.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that guidance for schools for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year will be released in mid June. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is expected to modify its school guidance to reflect CDC guidelines 1-2 weeks later, after which the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) will adjust its local guidance accordingly.

As a result, we will not have clear public health expectations and requirements for the start of the 2021-2022 school year before this school year ends next week. However, as soon as we have updated guidelines about face coverings, social distancing, indoor school events and other essential clarifications, we will let you know.

Please pay attention to communications from your children’s schools and the district throughout the summer. We will reach out with important information to make the start of the next school year as smooth as possible for your children and your family. While it would be convenient to know specifics today, SMBSD, along with all of the other school districts in the state, must wait for guidance from our leaders in Sacramento.

I am confident that our staff, students and families are up to the challenge of reopening for full in-person teaching and learning, no matter what that may look like. Our entire school community has become adept at adapting to change. I could not be more grateful for the resilience of everyone in SMBSD and their commitment to flexibility in the face of constantly changing conditions.

As the 2020-2021 year winds to a close, on behalf of the SMBSD Board of Education, our staff and our community, thank you for your commitment to supporting your children and our schools through this unprecedented time.

Gratefully,
Luke Ontiveros
SMBSD Superintendent

Published: Thu Jun 03 11:19:11 PDT 2021