June 12, 2020

Dear SBCEO Family,  

I hope this message finds you and your families healthy and well. 

As our state and county move further through the reopening process, we wanted to update you on our plans for reopening on-site work for all SBCEO employees.  These plans are based on the current situation and may need to be modified as new or updated information becomes available.   

SBCEO OPERATIONS

As an essential employer, our operations have been open throughout the pandemic, but our campuses have been minimally staffed.  Keeping in mind the health and safety of our SBCEO family and in accordance with public health guidelines, we are now preparing to welcome employees back in phases, beginning July 1, with all employees back by August 3.  Specific details about these plans will be shared in the coming weeks when you can expect more frequent communication from myself and members of Cabinet.

Some of our current preparations include:

  • supporting physical distancing, such as adding plexiglass and moving furniture to modify workspaces
  • enhancing the cleaning and disinfecting
  • securing additional cleaning and disinfecting supplies in shared work areas, communal areas, and at individual workspaces
  • preparing signage regarding  face coverings, physical distancing, maximum room capacity, handwashing, and symptom checking
  • securing Personal Protective Equipment for staff in student programs
  • restricting visitors 

We appreciate all of the feedback received from the staff survey thus far.  We are taking into consideration your responses as we prepare for more individuals working on site.  If you haven’t responded, please take the survey here by June 15. 

SCHOOL & DISTRICT REOPENING

Over the last several months, Cabinet members and I have been working with district superintendents, SELPA, and site-based charter school directors to assist with plans and considerations for the 2020-2021 school year.  Every Local Educational Agency (LEA), including SBCEO, must continue to refine preliminary planning to determine the right steps for each school context.  

In the past few days, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Department of Education (CDE), and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department have issued guidance and orders for school re-opening.  This is significant for all of us in our roles as SBCEO employees and as community members.  

As you can imagine, the planning process for reopening is very complex because of the number of work environments we have -- from traditional offices to program sites to direct student services in classrooms and other environments.  We know that the reopening may be messy at times as there is not one approach that works for every program.  We appreciate the significant thought and effort managers and staff who have been working on the reopening plans have contributed.  It takes an enormous amount of time, resilience, and creativity to find ways to accommodate a variety of needs and situations.   

I want to highlight, specifically, the work by Child Development and Juvenile Court and Community Services staff,  who will be opening their program sites on July 1.  They have worked tirelessly over the last weeks to ensure that the needs of their students and families will be served well as we transition to in-person learning.

SERVICE AND LEADERSHIP

This brings me to this final point.  As we head into the beginning of our new fiscal year and the reopening of SBCEO to staff, we know that you may have questions.  We are committed to answering them and will provide you with more details as we move forward.  One thing we know for sure -- our foundation at SBCEO is built on service and leadership.  Each of us works hard to meet and exceed expectations of our SBCEO programs, districts, schools, employees, and the community.  You are needed to meet these goals.  And, while we continue to prepare our work environments to meet health and safety standards, I want to thank you in advance for making this transition.  Not only do we want to be together in person, but our community and youth need your service and leadership now, more than ever.  

In the coming weeks, as part of our continuing communication efforts, all employees will be invited to optional information sessions on the use of leaves, and supervisors will be invited to Zoom meetings about the reopening to prepare for employee questions.  

For those who may have questions about access to child care, one resource is the Children’s Resource and Referral Service of Santa Barbara County, which provides assistance in locating child care for children ages birth through 10.  Spaces are available throughout the County and as an essential worker, this may be an option for your family.  Find out more by calling (805) 925-7071, or visit http://MyChildCare.ca.gov.  For questions about paying for child care, contact the Children’s Resource and Referral Service or SBCEO’s Child Development Department’s Alternative Payment Program (805) 964-4710 x 4474.

For general COVID-19 questions, please visit the County’s portal to access information on free testing, what to do if you have symptoms, status reports on COVID-19 in our community, the public health officer’s orders, and much more.

Thank you for your continued support, collegiality, kindness, and understanding throughout this pandemic.   You make all the difference.  

Susan