By Raiza Giorgi
The Santa Barbara County Office of Education has announced that all Santa Barbara County public schools from Kindergarten through high schools will close effective Wednesday, March 18 due to precautions for the coronavirus even though there are still no confirmed cases as of Friday afternoon.
“The closure of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instruction, social connection and cognitive engagement,” County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision, which was not made lightly.
“Our school leaders recognize that this closure has widespread ramifications, and are working to address impacts such as nutrition for students who typically receive meals during the school day,” Salcido continued.
“We support the decision to close public schools. While there are no confirmed cases at this time, this demonstration of social distancing will help to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the public health impacts in our community,” added county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso in the same statement.
Santa Ynez Valley schools will be closed from Wednesday, March 18 until Tuesday, April 14, according to a message sent to all valley parents through Parent Square.
“We recognize the hardship that a school closure causes for many families. With this in mind, teachers have already planned materials to send home. Students in need to special services will be supported. The National School Lunch Program will be provided for qualifying students, and we will keep in touch with you during the closure,” said Dr. Steve Seaford, Superintendent of Solvang Elementary School.
The school added that the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club after-schools programs will not operate during school closure. Parents should contact those programs immediately to find alternative solutions.
For the most current information regarding COVID-19, please visit www.publichealthsbc.org or call the County’s COVID-19 call center at (833) 688-5551.
Check back for updates to this story.