Schools Prepare to Re-Open: Need for Testing Remains

After almost one year of remote learning, many local students will have the option to return to school. With the red tier within reach, adjusted case rates and positivity rates trending downwards, Santa Barbara County has reached the level that permits TK through 6th grade with approved safety plans to return to in-person learning.

Goleta Union School District is reopening elementary schools on March 8, 2021. If local metrics continue to trend downward, secondary schools would have the ability to re-open as well. The need for more testing could improve weekly adjusted case rate leading to further reopening and will help move our County into the Red Tier and beyond.

The step forward for TK-6 requires close watch of the safety guidelines for children. Parents and schools will need to ensure many things including daily screening of kids, keeping them home when not feeling well, limiting gathering with people outside of their households, maintaining social distancing outside of their home, wearing face coverings, and following isolation and quarantine guidance when a family member or close contact tests positive.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Health Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg states, “COVID-19 is largely transmitted in the community and not in a TK-6 school setting. When everyone does their part to follow the safety guidelines and protocols, our children can return to school in a safe environment for themselves and for school staff.”

New State guidelines regarding youth and adult sports has been released. High and Medium contact sports can resume in the red tier or in the purple tier if the case rate is below 14. Santa Barbara County is close to reaching that goal and testing is encouraged to help us get there.

Community testing sites are available throughout the county. Many sites are open until 7:00 p.m., allow walk-ins, and have no wait times. Turnaround times for tests have also decreased.  More information on testing locations can be found here: