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COVID-19 Information
Dear Hope School Community,

Santa Barbara County school districts are taking a collaborative approach in dealing with the COVID-19 situation. All local educational institutions (public and private, K-22) and public health are now in communication multiple times a day.

I know there is concern, confusion, and anxiety. I do want to reassure you that while it is likely inevitable that we will have a case in SB County, as of this morning, there are still no confirmed cases.

That being said, we still want to be extremely cautious and conscientious. I have been working closely with the other districts and SBCEO. We have been taking our guidance from Public Health.

I want to apprise you of several other items regarding this situation:

Non-Essential School Functions Postponed/Cancelled
This morning, we made a countywide decision to cancel or postpone all non-essential school functions (plays, carnivals, auctions, galas). Things like an after school homework club can continue since that is comprised of people who have been together already in the course of the day in a space where they have also been in the course of the day. You should have already received a Parent Square with this message.

Are we closing schools?
We will be directed by the public health department for any decisions around closing schools. At this point, there is no plan to close schools. You will be notified immediately if we are directed to close schools.

Plans IF Schools Close:
Due to lack of capacity, we are not planning to move to an online instruction platform. Teachers are currently thinking of activities students could work on at home to keep occupied. These will likely be things like passion projects, reading, writing, challenges with Lexia/Reading Plus, allowing workbooks to be brought home, letting students take home multiple library books, etc. This work will not be required of students, but rather will encourage continued learning. Learning resources would be shared with all parents via Parent Square notices.

We are looking into purchasing hotspots for families without internet connection. These, along with District owned devices, would likely be available to check out. However, we have not yet completed this purchase, so no information is available at this time. I will send a message if and when this is available.

Our Current Plan:
We continue to focus on cleaning and handwashing. Today, we received a new cleaner called Virex II 256 which is identified as effective for killing the virus. It is a one-step Disinfectant. While teachers and staff are not required to clean, they have been wonderful about helping out. It is important to note that schools are not allowed to apply disinfectants in the presence of children, so the surface cleaning is occuring when students are out of the room.

We do have hand sanitizer (a very good thing since most suppliers are on backorder until May). However, hand sanitizer is a backup for when hand washing is not available.

We have just purchased an extra hand washing station for each campus to put by the cafeterias. Like other cleaning supplies, these are now difficult to find, so I am not sure on the delivery date. For now, we are being creative and permissive about how we allow students to wash hands in classrooms and bathrooms. Please continue to demonstrate the importance of washing for at least 20 seconds with vigorous scrubbing and drying at home. We have also already increased our order for soap and paper towels.

Absences:
Parents are inquiring about keeping their students at home. Please understand that we are required to follow Ed Code for all student absences. For now, if a parent wants to keep a student home for precautionary reasons, but does not have a doctor's note excusing the absence, it is considered unexcused. However, I am hopeful that the state will soon allow waivers for parents choosing to keep students home. In the meantime, parents can make what they deem to be the best decision for their family's situation. If you go above the 10% threshold for absences, please understand that the District will send the "dreaded" absence letter (unless we get that state attendance waiver). Parents have inquired as to what the "consequences" are for students missing school and the answer is simply that they are missing out on instruction.

If your child has a fever, runny nose, cough, or any symptoms of a communicable disease, you must keep them home. School offices will be increasingly vigilant about sending home students who show signs of illness. Please be understanding of our cautious approach.

Another Parent Square will be going out in the near future regarding spring break travel and the need to self-quarantine if students or staff travel to Level 3 areas (Italy, China, and Iran for example).

This is a rapidly evolving situation. I am inundated with calls, emails, texts, etc. and my response time to things may slow a bit as I am preparing multiple communication pieces and joining in on multiple update meetings daily.

I appreciate the way our community has come together, again, to support each other during a tough situation.

Thanks,
Anne Hubbard, Ed.D.
Hope School District Mission Statement
The mission of Hope School District is to develop in children the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to instill a lifelong love of learning and to become productive and contributing individuals in a changing society.
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