Schools & Childcare

Schools & Childcare Information


Schools and School-Based Programs Guidance

This CDPH document is the primary source of guidance for all schools in California. This State guidance is relevant for all public and private K – 12th grade schools in California and it includes elements related to  healthy hygiene practices, face coverings, intensifying cleaning, disinfecting and ventilation, distancing inside and outside of classroom spaces. 

State of California Safe Schools for All HUB:

Santa Barbara County Education Office COVID-19 Safety Plan: CLICK HERE to read the plan.

You can find specific guidance on appropriate masking in school settings HERE.

Click here to view Guidance for families of school aged children: Quarantine, Isolation and Testing after close contacts with individuals having a positive COVID-19 test. 

Schools Guidance

Schools and In Person Learning FAQs:

Vaccination against COVID-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection with the COVID-19 virus, and subsequent transmission and outbreaks. Current CDPH K-12 guidance strongly recommends vaccination for all eligible individuals, thereby reducing COVID-19 rates throughout the community, including in schools, and creating a wrap-around safety layer for unvaccinated students. 

CLICK HERE to read the full State Health Officer Order.

Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department released guidance steps to take when a child or staff member is symptomatic, exposed to COVID-19, and/or tests negative or positive for COVID-19. 

Click HERE to read Protocols for Symptoms, Close Contacts, and COVID-19 Cases: Students in School Settings

Click HERE for Spanish.  

School Waivers FAQ's

A waiver may only be granted if one is requested by the superintendent (or equivalent for charter or private schools), in consultation with labor, parent and community organizations. Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with CDPH when considering a waiver request.

A waiver application was created for Santa Barbara County schools. Both public and private schools can apply for a waiver for in-person instruction.

Waiver applications are submitted to:

Waiver applications need to include concise descriptions of how the schools are meeting the required elements.  Full Reopening Plans are not to be submitted with waiver applications. Those are to be posted on the school website for community stakeholders to view the plans.

Currently only grades TK-6 are eligible to apply for waivers. This is based on guidance from the California Department of Public Health.

Per the CDPH, based on current best available scientific evidence, COVID-related risks in schools serving elementary-age students (grades TK-6) are lower than and different from the risk to staff and to students in schools serving older students. In particular, there appears to be lower risk of child-to-child or child-to-adult transmission in children under age 12.  While people of all ages, including children, can be infected and have serious illness, the risk in elementary school children is particularly low.

There are health-related risk for children who are not provided in-person instruction, including lower rates of immunizations, higher rates of undetected child abuse and neglect, and other negative indicators of public health and wellbeing.

The waiver applications process includes the following steps:

  1. A district Superintendent, private school principal/head of school or executive director of a charter school must consult with labor and parent organizations and publish the school reopening plan on the website of the local educational agency
  2. The superintendent (equivalent or designated staff) complete the school waiver application form and submit it to Complete a County RISE attestation on the county Reopening Your Business website
  3. The local Health Officer then reviews the application, the reopening plan, and local community epidemiological data.
  4. The local Health Officer consults with CDPH* to make a determination whether to grant or deny the waiver

The local Health Officer must confirm that they have considered the following:

  1. Health & Safety
    1. Local health guidance, including appropriate mandatory requirements consistent with CDPH guidance such as wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, and following hand hygiene measures.
    2. Safety plans and availability of appropriate PPE, as recommended by the local health officer and CDPH guidance, for all elementary teachers and staff who will be involved in in-person instruction
    3. Availability of public health & school resources for COVID-19 investigation and response
  2. Local (city) Epidemiological Data & Health Care Capacity
    1. Current new case rate, testing & positivity trends, and the number and degree of indicators above thresholds to be on the monitoring list
    2. Local hospitalization trends and hospital capacity
    3. Any other local conditions or data contributing to inclusion on the monitoring list (e.g. out of jurisdiction hospitalizations, outbreaks, etc.)
  3. Testing
    1. Availability of testing resources within the community and, as applicable, via employee health plans to provide access to periodic testing to all elementary teachers and staff, with reasonable turn-around times
  4. Other consideration(s)
    1. The extent to which the school, school district, or system of private schools has consulted with relevant labor, community, and parent organizations, as applicable.

The SBC Public Health team will evaluate the waiver application within 5 business days of receipt.  The team will contact the applicant if additional information is needed, and the clock resets upon receipt of the revised waiver application.  The team will submit the waiver application for concurrence from CDPH, who will take up to 3 business days to evaluate the packet.  The applicant will be notified by the 10th business day from the submission of the waiver packet. 

Questions about applying for this waiver can be directed to: Susan Klein-Rothschild at

Feedback may be emailed to to be included in the application package.


Providing child care during COVID-19 is challenging, with new and changing guidelines from various authorities to help ensure that children are well cared for and providers help stem, not spread the virus.  The two primary sources of COVID-19 guidelines for child care programs are: 

The California Department of Public Health released official statewide guidance to ensure that child care programs help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep children and providers safe and healthy, while ensuring children are in a nurturing and responsive environment.  These guidelines are based on the best available public health data at this time and take into account the practical realities of managing a child care program. 

Click here for the UPDATED CA Child Care Guidelines

The Santa Barbara County Emergency Child Care website compiles the above California guidelines with the below Santa Barbara County, Community Care Licensing, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines into one, centralized, and easy to use document – the Santa Barbara Child Care Guide for COVID-19.

Click here for the UPDATED Santa Barbara Child Care Guide for COVID-19

The Santa Barbara County Emergency Child Care website provides critical COVID-19 information that specifically addresses the unique needs of child care providers, parents/guardians, and employers during this pandemic.

Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department released guidance steps to take when a child or staff member is symptomatic, exposed to COVID-19, and/or tests negative or positive for COVID-19.  

Click HERE to read Protocols for Symptoms, Close Contacts, and COVID-19 Cases: Child Care or Youth Setting outside of K-12 School

Click HERE for Spanish.

Community Care Licensing Provider PINS

Stay up to date on recently released Provider Information Notices (PINs) from Child Care Licensing Program.

COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Childcare Programs (CDC Guidelines)

Click HERE to read the CDC’s guidelines. 

Early Learning and Care Playbook

California for All produced guidance on key child care operation topics for providers.

There are multiple steps for child care programs to follow in order to safely re-open and remain open during COVID-19. Go to Reopening Your Business in Santa Barbara County to complete the attestation process.  SBC Emergency Child Care offers step by step instructions as well as information and resources for providers as well as parents. At this time none of the cities within Santa Barbara County have individually released guidance.

Click here for Reopening Your Business in Santa Barbara County RISE Self Certification

  • Children’s Resource & Referral can help guide parents through the challenge of finding a child care arrangement that best suits their needs, explain the state licensing regulations and the indicators of quality care, and answers questions about child care. To receive referrals to licensed child care in Santa Barbara County call (805) 925-7071 or CLICK HERE to visit the Children’s Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County.
  • If you are looking for child care or already enrolled in a licensed day care and want to subscribe to your child’s facility to get updates, visit Community Care Licensing’s Resources for Parents page.

Myocarditis and Pericarditis

CLICK HERE for more information about myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination.