Schools & Childcare

Schools & Childcare Information


Students (K-12) will return to virtual learning for the start of the school year in August.

All public school districts, charter schools and independent schools in Santa Barbara County are working with the County Superintendent for plans for Fall 2020. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to contact their child(s) school for more information about school meals.

Guidance for Small Cohorts/Groups of Children and Youth- California Department of Public Health

If your school organization is planning on implementing small cohorts, please complete this form.


Elementary schools (TK – 6th grade) may apply for a waiver for in-person learning. For more information, see the following Waiver Letter to Schools and Waiver Application Form.

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.


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) specifies that childcare centers, also known as daycares, are still open, but only for children of parents working in essential sectors. For daycare centers that remain open, CDPH advises that they should employ heightened cleaning and social distancing requirements. Babysitters may also come to the house to care for minors of parents working in essential sectors.

Click here for UPDATED Childcare Guidelines

In Santa Barbara County the following childcare offerings are available for essential workers:

  • Lompoc School District
  • Hope School District
  • Healthcare workers are encouraged to contact the Children’s Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County. Workers located in South County call (805) 963-6631; and those in North County call (805) 925-7071.
  • Employers interested in pop-up childcare for employees can contact the Child Care Planning Council Coordinator by telephone at (805) 964-4711 ext. 4473.

Resources for parents and caregivers:

Talk to your children about COVID-19 by clicking the links below for more information: