Protesters call for Geneva schools to let kids attend every day, all day

  • A group of about 70 people pushing the Geneva school district to reopen schools fully marched in a protest Thursday through downtown Geneva.

    A group of about 70 people pushing the Geneva school district to reopen schools fully marched in a protest Thursday through downtown Geneva. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A group of about 70 people marched in downtown Geneva, calling for the Geneva school district to go back to full in-person learning.

    A group of about 70 people marched in downtown Geneva, calling for the Geneva school district to go back to full in-person learning. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Parents and children march through downtown Geneva Thursday, in a protest organized by Geneva Parents United for Students.

    Parents and children march through downtown Geneva Thursday, in a protest organized by Geneva Parents United for Students. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Protesters cross Third Street in downtown Geneva Thursday afternoon. They were calling for the Geneva school district to resume full in-person learning.

    Protesters cross Third Street in downtown Geneva Thursday afternoon. They were calling for the Geneva school district to resume full in-person learning. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/4/2021 8:14 PM

About 70 adults and children marched Thursday afternoon through downtown Geneva, calling on Geneva school leaders to let all students go to school in-person every day.

The march was organized by Geneva Parents United for Students.

 

"We need to keep showing up. we need to keep emailing. We need to keep calling," organizer Ashlee White told the crowd before they set off from Geneva Garden Club Park on River Lane down to State Street.

"We want to know what is holding them (school officials) back," White said, as she marched with her three children and her parents. She said she wants to know what metrics officials are using to determine what they do for this school year, and for next year.

"I don't know what they are doing for the fall. Do they even have a plan?" White said. She said she needs to know soon, so she can decide whether to register her youngest child now for all-day, everyday-in-person kindergarten at a private school.

Marchers carried signs saying "Stop Stealing Kids' Futures," "Kids Learn Best In School," Off Screens In School" and the like.

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The group formed at the end of January. Some members, including White, were particularly motivated by the district's decision in mid-January to have all students attend school remotely on Fridays for the rest of the year. In the fall, the district used an A/B schedule, where each team attended in-person the same two days of the week each week, and every other Friday.

The group has said the district has not included parents in its planning. White said the district's answers to their questions have been vague.

The march happened an hour before a meeting of the district's COVID-19 Planning Task Force, which the district broadcast for the first time. As many as 340 people watched a livestream of the meeting on YouTube, and the video will be posted to the district's website, geneva304.org.

Members of Geneva Parents United for Students criticized the district for not letting people attend the meeting in person, or ask questions during the meeting. The district asked people to send comments and questions in advance.

Several district officials appeared to be in a district conference room, but other members of the task force attended remotely.

At the meeting, Superintendent Kent Mutchler said the district is planning to have all students attend in-person every day in the fall, without any remote learning.

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