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Fontana Unified Announces 2020-21 School Year Start Date, Provides Update on Learning Options

FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified School District will begin the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 24, at which time all students will return to school in an online setting.

This will allow additional time for students, parents, teachers, and staff to better prepare for a new school year. The decision to start the school year on Aug. 24 was announced during a July 22 Board of Education special meeting.

"Leading up to our first day of instruction on Aug. 24, we will provide our families opportunities to empower their students for success in online learning,” Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “By providing our families with tools such as laptops and useful training, tips and guidelines in advance of the school year starting, we can help our students reach the highest levels of achievement free from unnecessary distractions."

The new start date supports Fontana Unified’s continued efforts to ensure all students are equipped with devices needed to engage in distance learning. To date, the District has distributed approximately 30,000 laptops to students in grades 3 to 12. The District intends on providing all students in transitional kindergarten to 2nd grade with laptops as well before classes resume.

All students will automatically be enrolled in the online learning program through the District's flexible learning program, which allows the District to adjust its learning model based on the current COVID-19 situation, with the goal of allowing students back on campus once it is safe to do so. Instruction will begin with 100% online distance learning, as mandated by Gov. Gavin Newsom due to the state’s rising COVID-19 cases.

As the situation improves, students would transition to a hybrid model of learning, which features in-person instruction two days a week, and eventually back to the five-day-a-week traditional model.

Families who are looking for an alternative which allows their student to stay with 100% online learning for the entire 2020-21 school year – even as COVID-19 cases improve – can enroll in the District’s new virtual learning program.

The virtual learning program follows a different curriculum than the flexible learning program, requiring active parent involvement and allowing students to work at their own pace.

“Fontana Unified’s virtual learning program embraces the philosophy of community learning,” Director of Online Learning Dr. Shannon Miller said. “It takes a village to raise and educate our children. Parents will serve as learning coaches in the virtual program and be a key part of instruction.”

The District will have the opportunity to provide additional trainings to both parents and educators before the school year begins. Parents will have access to trainings that familiarize them with digital learning tools and resources. Fontana Unified will continue to provide teachers robust professional development as they transition to the District’s adapted form of instruction.

According to new state guidelines, only schools in counties that have been off the state’s County Monitoring List for 14 days and follow strict health and safety guidelines may reopen for in-person instruction. The District hopes that the new start date will allow additional time for San Bernardino County to reduce its number of COVID-19 cases and be removed from the County Monitoring List.

Additional information about the District's learning options for the upcoming school year can be found at www.fusd.net/reopen.