Geneva District 304 delays start date to Aug. 31

  • Geneva Unit District 304 is pushing back its start date to Aug. 31, giving employees and administrators additional time to prepare for what they say will be an abnormal school year.

    Geneva Unit District 304 is pushing back its start date to Aug. 31, giving employees and administrators additional time to prepare for what they say will be an abnormal school year. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/14/2020 4:00 PM

Geneva Unit District 304 is pushing back its start date to Aug. 31, giving employees and administrators additional time to prepare for what they say will be an abnormal school year.

The school board voted this week to approve the updated 2020-21 calendar, with the last day of classes now scheduled for June 4.

 

The district has been revising its "Back Together 304" plan as the coronavirus situation and guidelines evolve, administrators said, while maintaining a goal of offering in-person learning opportunities for students who want them. Delaying the first day of school will help to ensure the district can provide a "safe and high-quality learning environment" for students and staff members, according to a letter sent to district families.

"We all keep digging deeper as we learn more and are trying to address all the little intricacies of what some of our plans mean," said Andrew Barrett, assistant superintendent for learning and teaching. "It's kind of like an onion with all these layers, and as you keep peeling back a layer, there's more underneath that we need to start pulling apart and tackling."

District 304 still plans to offer a hybrid A/B schedule for all grade levels, allowing up to half the students in school at a time, while the other half is completing assignments and participating in independent learning experiences off campus, Barrett said.

Families also have been given the option to enroll in a "separate, parallel" online-only instructional model on a semester basis, he said.

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Starting next week, staff members are expected to engage in professional development, planning and collaboration to maximize their understanding of health and safety measures and logistics, according to the letter.

"This also allows time for additional guidance from state and local health departments, and focused approaches to delivering information and tools that will increase the level of comfort with our new protocols," officials said.

The district is prepared to adjust its plans at any point and adapt to the ever-changing situation, Barrett said.

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