GENEVA, Ill. — Geneva District 304 canceled school Monday, prompting the use of an emergency day, which elicited rallies from enraged parents.
The decision comes after the district was named in a lawsuit filed in Sangamon County. Last Friday, a central Illinois judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevents school districts statewide, cited in the case, from requiring students to wear masks in classrooms.
Late Monday afternoon, the district announced that masks would be optional for students and staff beginning Tuesday. Mask requirements will remain for school buses, however.
Administrators add that the use of masks is still strongly encouraged on school grounds. The district will also not be excluding close contacts, doing away with quarantine for those exposed in school. Any student who is currently in quarantine due to being a close contact will be able to return to school Tuesday. Additionally, any student or staff who tests positive will still be required to isolate at home.
Before the decision, Geneva Parents United for Students organized a rally Monday, expressing that they felt the district should have been better prepared for Friday’s court ruling and crafted contingency plans for various outcomes.
District 304 Superintendent Kent Mutchler sent an email to parents, with a message also posted on the district website that said, “While the ruling came Friday, the district continues to receive information that needs to be considered.”
The statement continued: “We recognize the challenges this decision may have on our families, but given the fluidity of the situation, we strongly feel that this time is necessary to effectively plan for any potential impact to our students, staff and school community. We know that many questions remain, ad we will provide additional information on Monday as the situation evolves. Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation.”
District 304 started the year mask optional but then reversed that policy. The make-up day is Tuesday, May 31.
Nearby St. Charles District 303 also used an emergency day Monday.