Geneva District 304 parents demand students return to classrooms full-time

GENEVA, Ill. (WLS) -- A group of west suburban parents protested ahead of a school board meeting demanding that all students be back in their classrooms full-time immediately.

Geneva District 304 was one of the first districts in the area to move to hybrid learning earlier during the pandemic. But with spring nearing, some parents believe it's time to get students back in class more than two days a week.

"It's absolutely dreadful. Those are kind words," said Jean Smith. She's ready for her grade school children to go back to class full-time.

"With where we are now, a year out, with the science and the numbers, we definitely need to see our kids in school, full time, 5 days a week," she said.

Currently, District 304 is continuing with hybrid learning, splitting the week between in-home and in-class learning and keeping kids home on Fridays.

"I think at this point, all of us would be happy with an increase in any in-person learning," parent Kate Coxworth said. "But the goal is always to get back to five days a week."

Upset parents have protested repeatedly, marching in solidarity to make their concerns known. At a District board meeting that was streamed virtually Monday night, officials listened - and also heard from parents praising the hybrid plan.

"Our district, when everybody else was offering just one option of e-learning, our district was one of the few that offered parents options. Either stay home 100% or give a hybrid plan and I think that was commendable," parent Heidi Demarco said.

These parents say hybrid learning is working for their children. They are also thinking about district finances as the year winds down in the next few months.

"Fiscally, it makes more sense to address next year," parent Hadley Woodhouse said. "And that by doing it right now, that $2.9 million dollar potential cost with 54 days left in the school year, whatever the number is, that's not a good use of district resources."

The district board did not make an official decision Monday night, instead choosing to listen to concerns and not indicating if any changes are coming.
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