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Geneva 304 Returns to In-Person, Updates Mitigation Plan
Feb. 7, 2022

Over the course of this pandemic, local school districts have time and again been thrust into the center of painful and disruptive conflict. As educators, our guiding mission is to educate children, and throughout this long ordeal we have too often been asked to take our eyes off that goal and focus on issues that ought to be outside of our purview. The current ruling granting a temporary restraining order affecting certain school districts, in which Geneva 304 is a party, is no exception.

As we shared with you yesterday, Geneva CUSD 304 administration implemented an emergency day today to work through the additional information and guidance received over the weekend regarding Friday’s ruling in favor of a TRO regarding COVID-19 mitigation and school districts. We recognize the challenges this decision has on our families, but it was determined to be the appropriate action to protect in-person learning while we continued to process that information from legal teams, staff, and our COVID-19 task force, and to make further preparations for our plan going forward, which we believe allows us to continue our mission to educate children.  

Based on our understanding of the ruling and our district’s status as a named defendant, Geneva 304 believes that the TRO applies to all students, staff and visitors. Effective Tuesday, Feb. 8, District administration is implementing the following plan:  
  • Masking in Geneva 304 will be very strongly encouraged for all students, staff, and visitors in our buildings. Our district will continue to have masks available for individuals entering our buildings and will continue to offer those masks to any individual who is not wearing one. However, we will NOT be asking any of our staff members to enforce strict masking requirements.
  • Masks will still be required when riding a District 304 school bus, due to a Federal Order.  
  • Due to the ruling, Geneva 304 will not be excluding close contacts.  
  • Per the Kane County Health Department, students and staff who test positive will be required to isolate and will be excluded from school.  
  • Any students and staff who are currently excluded due to being a close contact may choose to return to school effective Tuesday, Feb. 8.
  • The current ruling has no bearing on IHSA expectations related to COVID-19.
We will continue to monitor this ever-changing landscape and, as we have learned, plans may be temporary. It is likely that the attorney general will file a motion to stay and appeal the judge’s decision. If a stay is ordered or the appellate court overturns the decision, Geneva 304 will be required to return to universal masking.

We know that moving to a mask recommended, but not required, environment will be a big change for our students and staff. One thing that does not change is our commitment to our additional layered mitigation strategies, including:  
  • Physical distancing
  • Encouraging frequent hand hygiene
  • Providing cleaning supplies to our classrooms
  • Proper ventilation
  • Situational monitoring
  • Staying home if sick or exhibiting COVID-like symptoms

These measures have allowed us to maintain in-person learning in a healthy and safe environment throughout this school year. Additionally, there will be efforts made to provide N95 masks to students and staff upon request. We want to reassure you that the health and safety of our students and staff are our top priority. It is critical now more than ever that you partner with us, so that we can keep our schools open. Please make sure you are monitoring your child’s health and keep them home if they are not feeling well. When it comes to wearing a mask at school, please make the decision that you believe is best for your family and have those conversations with your child regarding those expectations.  

Lastly, we would draw your attention for our theme for this year, #GrowingTogether304, and stress the importance of treating everyone with respect and kindness during this time as our students and staff make individual choices regarding masking. We need to continue to work together as a school community as we move forward.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kent Mutchler, Superintendent of Schools
and District Administration
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