FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified students in transitional kindergarten through second grade were greeted by cheerful signs, lively music and friendly faces as they returned to campus for their first days of in-person instruction on April 5.
Instruction is offered in a hybrid model with three cohorts of students; Cohorts A and B receive a blend of in-person and online instruction, while students in Cohort C remain in full distance learning. TK-2 student cohorts were welcomed back to campus on April 5 and 8; grades three to five will return on April 12 and 15.
At Almond Elementary, students arrived at a campus covered in banners – with reminders such as “We missed you,” “Welcome home,” and “You are loved!” – and were greeted personally by school site aide Angelica Salazar Navarrete as she guided them through temperature checks.
“You could feel how excited the students were to be back on campus with their teachers and each other,” Salazar Navarrete said. “As a parent, I feel very safe to have my kids return because of the precautions the District is taking, and I think being back will be good for their mental health.”
Salazar Navarrete also praised the school’s initiative in providing additional academic support to her kindergartener, who sometimes found distance learning a challenge, on his first day back on campus.
“They saw there was a need and didn’t hesitate to begin the one-on-one support, and I am incredibly grateful,” Salazar Navarrete said. “The teachers and staff are working hard to engage our students.”
The District’s return to in-person instruction for elementary students was supported by comprehensive health and safety measures, including weekly testing, partnerships to provide COVID-19 vaccines and advanced cleaning technologies.
In addition to standard COVID-19 protocols – such as requiring face coverings on campus, providing sanitizing materials all meeting areas and classrooms, shields and dividers to ensure additional separation, and using floor markers to support social distancing – the District introduced additional protective equipment and technology to further ensure the safe return of students and employees.
Additional safety measures included upgrading ventilation systems with bipolar ionization for additional bacteria filtration; installing thermal temperature machines to screen students, visitors and employees; and equipping maintenance staff with sanitization mister machines to provide thorough cleaning of classrooms.
“We are thrilled that our students are beginning to return to campus – an effort that has been a year in the making,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Thank you to all of our employees, volunteers and our community for your dedication and partnership in our efforts to resume in-person instruction. As we move forward in these efforts, the health and safety of our students, employees and community remains a top priority.”
FUSD_REOPEN1: Almond Elementary School first-graders are safely distanced from each other as they receive in-person instruction for the first time in 2020-21.
FUSD_REOPEN2: Surrounded by a plastic desk shield, an Almond Elementary student organizes her school supplies as she prepares for the instructional day.