Santa Barbara County Public Health Officials call the state's new color-coded tier system "sudden and complex" in a press conference held Aug. 28. The new change to monitoring counties' COVID-19 case count was announced at noon.
“The state’s new system is now color-coded to make it easier to understand one tier to the next," Chair of Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Gregg Hart said at the conference.
The pandemic, now measured in color -- with tiers ranging from purple to yellow. Both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County remain in the purple tier or widespread, along with most counties in the state.
Local public health officials say the transition to the next tier isn't easy, but the approach to combating the virus remains the same.
Under the new reopening framework, counties will remain on each tier for a minimum of three weeks. In order to move to the next less-restrictive tier, a county must demonstrate they can meet the goals of the less restrictive tier for a minimum of two weeks.
“Wearing of a mask in conjunction with social distancing and good hand hygiene provides the best protection from contracting or spreading the virus," Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said.
Steps that will hopefully bring good new to Santa Barbara County as they continue in a downward trend of countywide COVID cases and hospitalized cases in the past week, Ansorg said.
For those who are too young to social distance and still learning to keep their hands to themselves, it is a different story.
“Children are impulsive," Alice Shaw Kindergarten Teacher Monique Segura said. "They’re learning how to wash their hands. They’re learning how to keep their hands to themselves.”
Santa Barbara County recognizes school districts want to provide stability, SB Unified School District Superintendent Hilda Maldaonado saying there has been success in opening schools via distance learning model.
"I’m happy to report that 70% percent of our teachers have chosen to teach from our classrooms," Maldonado said.
A classroom without kids, doesn't work for everyone though.
“Larning is happening, but you know the children have the wiggles,” Segura said.
Zoom, causing the zoomies for kids unable to sit still.
Maldonado also said the district wants to ensure students feel connected beyond wifi connectivity.
Teachers like Segura said they understand the risk of returning to class.
“I do know I miss my students and I want to be with them, but I don’t want to sacrifice their safety or the safety of their families either so it’s a tough call," she said.