EL MONTE – El Monte Union High School District will begin the 2020-21 school year on a 100% distance learning schedule, with the option of transitioning to a hybrid model later in fall semester should health conditions improve.

Under the District’s Reopening of Schools Plan – approved by the Board of Trustees during its July 15 virtual board meeting – students will take three classes from Aug. 18 to Oct. 16 (Fall 1 term) and three classes from Oct. 19 to Dec. 17 (Fall 2 term).

While Fall 1 term will be completely online, Fall 2 term could see students return to school should conditions improve. The District will monitor local and state health data, reassess the schedule by Sept. 25 and make a recommendation to continue with a distance learning, hybrid or an in-person instructional model on Sept. 28.

“There is no perfect model that will beat in-person instruction, but under these fluid conditions, we need to rethink, reinvent and reimagine what learning and teaching look like while ensuring the health and well-being of our school community,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “Working in collaboration with our teachers, staff, union partners and administrators, we have developed a rigorous distance learning plan that will allow students to continue their education from home and is adaptable to changing health conditions.”

Under Senate Bill 98, the District must engage in daily instruction, monitor student progress and maintain school connectedness. To guide its planning efforts, the District created a Reopening of Schools Taskforce, which includes administrators, teachers, union representatives, classified staff, parents and students.

The District also solicited feedback from students, parents and staff through surveys. A second survey was released this week to gauge their preferences for instruction and comfort level with returning to school given the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. The city of El Monte has the highest number of positive cases in the San Gabriel Valley.

“Right now, it is clear that is not safe to physically return to our campuses and we want to honor the concerns of our staff, families and students,” Zuniga said. “We will take an incremental approach to our decision-making and use our plan as a blueprint for how to safely move forward.”

Ongoing updates on the reopening of schools are available here.