Nine other students and two other staff at the Santa Barbara Unified School District tested positive for COVID-19 last week, bringing the total number of cases to 58 students and 21 staff.
About 90%, or 1,504, of staff have provided proof of vaccination, and 51 more are in the process of being vaccinated. About 4% of employees, or 66 people, request an exemption from the vaccine.
As of Tuesday, 156 employees had not been vaccinated. In addition to these, the district employs 265 hourly and temporary staff, such as walk-in coaches, who will also need to be vaccinated. About 216 of them have been vaccinated.
About 23% of district students aged 12 or older uploaded proof of vaccination. The neighborhood waits for the rest, around 4,062 students.
Five other staff are planning to resign or have requested leave. In addition, six staff members refused to respond to the district survey.
Since the district began testing elementary school students, 11 of 2,384 students have tested positive for COVID-19. The district tested about 72% of elementary school students.
About 25%, or 862, of families of primary school students either did not consent to their children being immunized or did not respond to the district.
Several people spoke out in public comments Tuesday night to oppose the district’s mandatory vaccine requirement. The fact that the district now allows people to make public comments at the school board meeting has further fueled their anger.
The district passed a mandatory vaccine requirement for employees at a special meeting Thursday last week. The school usually meets on Tuesday.
Math teacher Nate Thompson said the board was “misleading” because the district held a special meeting last Monday to draft the resolution on immunization.
“I’m just going to talk about the pain I feel from the school board,” Thompson said. “I felt the way the school board developed this mandate was misleading. There was no communication with anyone, no stakeholder other than the bare minimum of posting it on the website for Thursday’s special meeting.
Thompson said the way the district organized the meeting “didn’t speak of integrity.”
He said he had lost confidence in the district and if they are to rebuild it officials must start by being transparent.
Justin Shores told the board he wanted him and others to be at the same table discussing vaccine policy rather than “just being told it’s the right way to do it. “.
“Whatever you do, it doesn’t work,” Shores said. “We did what you asked, but it doesn’t work. And now you just want to run a vaccine and force us all with no other options, no long-term data. You’re here to just do what you get. said by your party. Party politics shouldn’t have anything to do with education, health. You have to stop guys. “
Shores accused board chair Kate Ford of selling her “soul” to the Democratic Party.
Ford later in the meeting did not appear affected by the comment.
“I think there is cause for celebration with the increasing number of staff being vaccinated,” said Ford. “I am very happy to hear this.”
She praised the staff for working hard to solve problems and try to get elementary school students vaccinated.
“I continue to be concerned about the sobering fact that 26% of cases are young students, and what we’re trying to do is address this issue to keep our students safe,” Ford said.
Santa Barbara Unified has 12,701 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and 1,679 staff.