Santa Barbara County's K-12 schools will close by Wednesday, March 18, according to the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
School officials say the decision was made in cooperation with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a statement, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido said, "The closure of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instruction, social connection and cognitive engagement. This was a very difficult decision, which was not made lightly. Our school leaders recognize that this closure has widespread ramifications and are working to address impacts such as nutrition for students who typically receive meals during the school day."
Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said, "We support the decision to close public schools. While there are no confirmed cases at this time, this demonstration of social distancing will help to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the public health impacts in our community."
Schools will be closed through at least the end of March. No decision to resume classes has yet been made.