Santa Barbara Unified School District prepares for potential coronavirus impacts

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Mar 03, 2020

The Santa Barbara Unified School District says it is preparing its response to potential coronavirus impacts.

In accordance with guidelines from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school district officials say they are encouraging students and staff to wash their hands frequently and sneeze into their sleeves; alerting health officials of any increases in absences due to respiratory illnesses; regularly cleaning surfaces; sending students and staff home when ill and communicating with students, families and staff to provide updated information in English and Spanish.

"Plans are designed to keep campuses healthy and safe, while also minimizing disruption to teaching and learning, and protecting students and staff from social stigma and discrimination," school district officials say.

School district officials say all school trips are proceeding as scheduled. Schools may need to postpone or cancel trips if travel advisories change.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the novel virus in Santa Barbara County, according to a press release from the school district.

According to the press release, district officials use the Parentsquare app and the school district website to share health resources with students, families and staff.

The school district says there are already emergency response strategies in place from recent wildfires and the Montecito debris flow.

"We will continue to collaborate, share information and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community, including those with special health needs," said Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka.

The Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Frann Wageneck, says school officials will maintain regular communication with county health officials in the event that they need to close a school due to the virus.