The families of 754 elementary students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District still have not provided consent for their children to receive a COVID-19 test. At the secondary level, 2,309 students have been vaccinated, and the district is waiting to hear back from 6,850 students about their vaccination status.
About 91.2% of the district’s employees are vaccinated. About 6%, or 100 employees, are seeking an exemption or have not responded to the district.
Assistant Superintendent Frann Wageneck provided the information during a COVID-19 report Tuesday night. Wageneck also reminded the school board that beginning in either January or July of 2022, all children will be required to received the COVID-19 vaccination.
In the past week, 17 students and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Since August, 80 students and 23 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Wageneck did not initially provide the total COVID-19 positive cases during her report. Instead, the public had to refer to the district’s dashboard on its website. Wageneck shared the COVID-19 data after members of the public noted that it was missing.
Wageneck said COVID-19 is having real impacts across school campuses. She said many students lost parents, grandparents and other family members, and that “there’s a lot of loss.”
“I know we expected trauma when our children returned to school, and I want this board to know that trauma is very real,” Wageneck said. “It’s impacting our teachers, our principal every day.”
Board member Kate Ford said that even though children are less affected by COVID-19 illness and death, they are deeply impacted by losing loved ones.
“That’s why we have to do our best to mitigate everything we can in this pandemic,” Ford said.
Some of the public speakers Tuesday night demanded that the district release the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 who have already been vaccinated.
About 15 people called in to speak at the board meeting.
The school district recently contracted with the Santa Barbara Police Department to stage a police officer at the board meeting. School board members have expressed safety concerns because of emails they have receied in recent weeks.
Parent Ann Thomas said she is pleased that the Delta variant cases have dropped.
“How many of the district kids and teachers who have tested postive for COVID this year are already vaccinated?” Thomas asked. “As you very well know, vaccinated students and teachers can get infected with the virus and infect others arround them. We, as parents, deserve to have that information. Why are you not sharing this?”