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Santa Ynez Valley school districts eyeing mid-August start date
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Santa Ynez Valley school districts eyeing mid-August start date

Photos: Solvang School students head back to school

Solvang School students in Carrie Padfield's kindergarten class practice raising their hands to ask a question on their first day of school in 2018.

Public schools in the Santa Ynez Valley are planning for a mid-August start date, with modifications as needed to address changes at federal and state levels regarding the COVID-19 health crisis.

School administrators like Steve Seaford, superintendent of Solvang School District, have continued to modify plans for the 2020-21 academic year as new updates are made available by the California Department of Education and Santa Barbara County Public Health, which are informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seaford said K-8 Viking Warriors will report to class on Aug. 13, likely using a hybrid instructional model like other schools in the Valley which calls for children to alternate days so no more than half of the student body is on campus at one time. 

On days when students aren't on campus, Solvang students will resume learning through the Google Classroom virtual platform, and Seesaw, an application for its TK-1 graders. 

"Solvang School is ready to transition to any instructional model, having done scenario planning to address emerging health data," Seaford said. "Whether it's having all students on campus at the same time, running a hybrid program, or having to go completely online, Solvang School staff is prepared to transition seamlessly to ensure that all students continue to achieve at high levels."

Los Olivos School District, in addition to greeting students on Aug. 13, will welcome new principal/ assistant superintendent Ray Vasquez to campus, who will provide details about the upcoming year as the start date approaches.

Buellton Union School District, which includes both Oak Valley Elementary and Jonata Middle School, also is looking at an Aug. 13 start date, according to administrative staff person Terri Schrepel.

"Though it could change on a dime," she said, referring to the frequent county updates relating to the coronavirus.

A school board meeting is slated for July 22, which could again alter the start date and the instructional model. Schrepel said school Superintendent Dr. Randal Haggard will continue sending updates to parents through the inter-campus communication application ParentSquare.

College School District of Santa Ynez and Ballard Elementary School are slated to kick off their new school year on Aug. 14, one day later than other Valley schools. 

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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