EL MONTE – El Monte Union High School District students reunited with friends, classmates, teachers and staff as they returned to campuses for in-person instruction and kicked off the 2021-22 school year on Aug. 17.

This momentous day was commemorated at Arroyo High School with a visit from Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Duardo and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer.

“The Los Angeles County Office of Education is absolutely committed to the safety and well-being of L.A. County’s 2 million students and their families as they begin a new school year,” Duardo said. “It’s great to see that Arroyo High School is putting forth such a great effort to keep the health of students, faculty and community members their top priority.”

Duardo, along with Ferrer, reiterated the importance of health and safety, and thanked EMUHSD students and staff for doing their part by wearing masks and following the protocols in place to ensure a sustainable return to school.

Walking the campus with Principal Gabriel Flores and Superintendent Dr. Zuniga, Duardo and Ferrer had the opportunity to visit a classroom and meet with students during passing period, and even thank El Monte Union Food Services employees for their hard work and adaptability.

“We are excited to have students back on campus, of course, and we are following all of the health and safety protocols that are in place to ensure that our school community can continue to learn and grow in a way that is meaningful and safe,” Arroyo High School Principal Gabriel Flores said.

The return to full in-person instruction is supported by health protocols to help ensure the safety of students, teachers, staff and families. Such protocols include health screenings, the use of face masks, and continued efforts to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccines in partnership with community organizations.

El Monte Union held freshman and sophomore orientations across all five of their comprehensive high schools during the week of Aug. 9, preparing new and returning students for the first day of school back on campus.

Some El Monte Union students have opted into the District’s Independent Study program to continue online learning, rather than returning to campus, through the District’s Online Personal Learning (OPL) program.

OPL offers a rigorous high school curriculum with tremendous flexibility through asynchronous online or blended instruction, enrolling students in independent coursework that utilizes online resources, videos, and other supports to drive instruction. The program works best for students who are independently driven to succeed in school and/or have strong academic support at home.

“El Monte Union is dedicated to the health and safety of all students, staff and families, and we will be following all state and county protocols to ensure an environment that supports the wellness of our school community,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “Having students back on campus is certainly exciting, and we are committed to making this return meaningful and sustainable.”


081821_EMUHSD_FIRSTDAY1: From left to right, EMUHSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Larry Cecil, Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga, LACOE Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Duardo, Los Angeles Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, Arroyo High School Principal Gabriel Flores, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Robin Torres and Chief Business Official Wael Elatar, conduct a walk-through Aug. 17 at Arroyo High School.

081821_EMUHSD_FIRSTDAY2: Students at Rosemead High School were greeted with a balloon arch as they returned to campus for the 2021-22 year on Aug. 17.