Summit cheerleaders

Summit High School cheerleaders greeted students at Sierra Lakes Elementary School who were returning to campus on April 5.

It's back to school time.

After a year-long shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, many elementary school students in the Fontana Unified School District are returning to in-person instruction this month.

At Sierra Lakes Elementary School, students in traditional kindergarten, first grade, and second grade were welcomed back to the campus on April 5 and received a special greeting from the national champion Summit High School cheerleaders.

"We're so excited to have our elementary school students back in Fontana," said Jesse Cerda, the Summit cheer coach. "We can't wait to have them be back in the classroom and learning here in Fontana."

The cheerleaders held signs and encouraged the young students, who also were greeted by Summit Principal Renee Castanon and Assistant Principal Silvana Guerrucci Pierce.

It was one year ago (February of 2020) that the Summit students achieved first place in the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Florida. But one month later, all of the school buildings in the district were closed, all sports activities were halted, and a Distance Learning program was established.

As the COVID-19 crisis dragged on into the 2020-2021 school year, there was a time in the winter months when it appeared as though in-person classes would not be returning. However, starting in late January, the number of coronavirus cases decreased dramatically, and the FUSD Board of Education announced last month that students who wanted to come back would be given that opportunity.

Students in grades 3-5 are scheduled to be in school buildings starting on April 12.

The district has implemented numerous health precautions, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, to try to ensure that all of the students and district personnel will be safe.

Still, a large number of parents will be keeping their children home and having them continue to learn virtually.

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