July 17, 2020

Dear SBCEO Family,

I hope each of you, your families, and friends are healthy and well.  

This afternoon the Governor announced stricter requirements for all public and private TK-12 schools in 32 counties currently on the state’s monitoring list, which includes Santa Barbara County.  Among many other requirements, the Governor announced all schools in these counties must begin the school year with distance learning.  This announcement has significant implications for all of us, including SBCEO student programs, our employees and their families, and the broader community.  (The new framework for opening TK-12 schools is here and the updated school guidance is here.)

Throughout this week, given the current conditions of COVID-19 in our county and tri-county area, our Cabinet team had been reviewing possible modifications to our SBCEO reopening plan.  We were planning to announce an extension of our current transition plan beyond August 3, slowing the progression of having all employees on-site at the same time.  We now need additional time to process today’s announcement and to consider how this may impact our approach.  Be assured we will communicate additional information with you as soon as possible.  

At this time, we are seeking answers to questions stemming from the Governor’s orders, including impacts on Juvenile Court and Community Schools, Child Development, preschools, and our many other school sites and programs. We are asking for clarification from the state and will be sharing answers as we have them.  We understand that you may have some of the same questions, or additional ones, and appreciate your patience as we obtain more information.

I recognize that this uncertainty impacts all of us in real ways, including physical, emotional, and logistical. I want to assure you the decisions about SBCEO operations will only be made after significant discussion and consideration of the myriad of potential impacts on each of you, our programs, our operations, and our schools.  We continue to communicate daily with Santa Barbara County Public Health as we focus on balancing the health and safety of employees and those with whom you work and live while providing excellent service and leadership for our community. 

Thank you for your ongoing patience, understanding, support, and flexibility.