Reopening waivers for elementary school students now have been approved for three schools in the Santa Ynez Valley, the California Department of Public Health reported Wednesday evening.
Ballard Elementary School, Santa Ynez Valley Charter School and Los Olivos Elementary School all received approval to bring students back to the classroom over the past week, along with several schools in the Santa Barbara area.
Under this state waiver process, schools who receive approval for safe reopening plans from both the county and state public health departments can resume in-person learning for grades K-6.
By Tuesday, however, Santa Barbara County is expected to meet the two-week mark in the state's red tier, allowing for the reopening of all grade levels at schools, without the need for state approval.
In order to remain in the red tier, the county will need to maintain low COVID-19 case rates and positivity rates, as well as perform enough COVID-19 testing throughout the county.
On Thursday, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed an additional 24 COVID-19 cases.
The total number of cases in the county is now 9,387, with 126 cases still considered active and contagious, according to county public health data.
Hospitalization numbers in the county remain among their lowest, with 19 individuals currently hospitalized, including seven in the ICU, according to county data.
In the city of Santa Maria, 48 out of 4,004 total cases remain active. Sixty-two individuals have died.
In the community of Orcutt, 10 out of 340 total cases remain active. Three individuals have died.
In the city of Lompoc, 24 out of 877 total cases remain active. Eight individuals have died.
In the Santa Ynez Valley, which includes the areas of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, five out 160 total cases remain active. Seven individuals have died.
In neighboring San Luis Obispo County, 36 additional cases were confirmed on Thursday by the county Public Health Department.
A total of 3,815 total cases now have been confirmed, with 213 cases still considered active, according to county public health data.
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