Geneva D-304 announces student masks will not be required for upcoming school year

GENEVA – Students in Geneva School District 304 will not be required to wear a mask while at school this upcoming academic year, according to an email sent to district families Thursday afternoon.

District officials reiterated mask use is recommended indoors by anyone who is unvaccinated, but stopped short of imposing a requirement that students or faculty wear them.

However, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, masks will be required on school buses, and must be worn at all times during transportation, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, the district said.

“The district will continue implementing layered mitigation measures, including cleaning and disinfecting of school buildings, proper ventilation in all buildings, advising people who are sick to stay home, encouraging proper hygiene, and maintaining physical distance,” the email stated. “Safety remains our priority, and in accordance with the guidance we will continue to monitor trends in our community — including community transmission of COVID-19, vaccination coverage, testing, and outbreaks — and make adjustments to our mitigation strategies as needed.”

The announcement comes days after the Geneva school board met and heard from parents on both sides of the issue, but did not reach a decision.

District administrators will present the mitigation plan, along with more details about plans for the return to school, at the Aug. 2 school board meeting.

The email states that the district expects further guidance on contract tracing, but fully vaccinated individuals will not be forced to quarantined if they’re identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case.

“We have carefully considered this information and are committed to making the best decisions possible to keep our students and staff safe and healthy as we look forward to welcoming them back in August,” the email stated.

St. Charles School District 303 announced Monday that masks will be optional for all students, while Batavia District 101 did not announce a decision on masking at Tuesday’s meeting. Kaneland District 302 is expected to announced a decision on masks at the July 26 school board meeting.