FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified celebrated the first day of the 2021-22 school year and the return to full, in-person instruction on Aug. 6, welcoming students to campuses bedecked with balloons, banners and inspirational messages.

Fontana High School students were greeted by the sight of a maroon and white balloon arch and the sounds of a DJ playing music in the main quad. Inspirational chalk art could be found everywhere, with messages like “Welcome Back,” “We Missed You,” “Live Maroon” and “Once a Steeler, Always a Steeler.”

Scores of FOHI students reconnected with their friends, many showing their Steeler pride by wearing T-shirts in their school colors. FOHI senior Julisa Penaloza was happy to be back on campus and in the classroom.

“I look forward the most to seeing my teachers in person,” Penaloza said. “I am a sprinter for the FOHI track and field team. English is my favorite subject. I love the creativity behind it, how much you can express in words. I’m excited to be back!”

At Truman Middle School, students arrived in waves, greeted by principal Dr. Kim Hall. Stopping first to receive their class assignments and have their temperature checked, students then gathered in the main quad while Truman staff directed them to their classrooms.

“The most exciting day is always the first day of school,” Dr. Hall said. “It’s a new beginning, a new start. I think the kids are getting acclimated to being back on campus, and look forward to seeing how they’ll embrace the new school year.”

As many Fontana Unified students reunited with their peers and teachers on-campus, others started the school year in a fully online learning environment, offered through the newly launched Actively Creating Connections Ensuring Student Success (ACCESS) program and the Virtual Learning Program (VLP).

This year, Fontana Unified will continue efforts to foster innovation in education and providing the tools and resources to ensure every student is empowered to succeed.

Those efforts include the continued testing and creation of the District’s private wireless network, and the establishment of Innovation Empire, an incubation center set to open in early 2022. An expansion to full-day kindergarten at all elementary sites will begin on Monday, Oct. 25.

The District’s return to full in-person instruction is supported by health and safety measures, including temperature checks, face masks, partnerships to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and more.

Fontana Unified will continue to follow the current guidance from state and county health officials to ensure the health and safety of students, employees and the community. Such guidance includes a health order issued by the California Department of Public Health on Aug. 11, which will require all public school districts to verify the vaccination status of their employees, and requires any unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.

“We are thrilled to have our students back to campus for in-person instruction, and thank our students, families and employees in supporting a successful start to the school year,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “The health and safety of our District community will remain a top priority as we move forward.”


FUSD_FIRSTDAY_FOHI: Fontana High School students reunite on campus for the first day of school on Aug. 6.