Geneseo schools return to remote learning

Claudia Loucks
Superintendent Adam Brumbaugh

Geneseo schools will be on a remote learning plan for the rest of the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. The decision was made after three additional positive COVID-19 tests were reported, taking the total to five positive tests. Two positive test results were reported previously.

Students in the Geneseo School District began the 2020-2021 school year with in-person learning on Thursday, Aug. 13, and after two days of in-person classes, students at the Geneseo High School and the Geneseo Middle School transitioned to 100 percent remote learning. The transition was in place for Monday, Aug. 17, and Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the two buildings. All elementary schools continued in-person learning.

Students returned to in-person classes on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and learned on Friday, Aug. 21, that Monday, Aug. 24, would be the last day of in-person classes.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, through Thursday, Aug. 28, were Remote Learning Planning Days so staff could plan and prepare to make the transition to remote learning for all students, which began Friday, Aug. 28.

Brumbaugh said the remote learning plan will be in place until the end of the first quarter of school, Oct., when the plan will be re-evaluated.

“During this transition to Remote Learning, we are reminding everyone that we are not in Phases 1, 2, or 3, therefore our buildings are not shut down, nor are in-person opportunities for our students such as special education, services, driver education, athletics, vocational opportunities and other small groups, if deemed safe, like science labs or RTI (Response to Intervention) sessions.”

“Our teams worked during Remote Learning Planning Days to determine which opportunities we can still have safely on-site during the first quarter,” he said.

Brumbaugh said the need for contract tracing was a determining factor to make the transition.

Contact tracing is an additional responsibility placed on schools by the Illinois Department of Public Health and would be required for students and staff who test positive, those who are probable and even those who have just a single symptom.

Superintendent Brumbaugh said, “The new process could be seen as a minor inconvenience to some, but ultimately it removes countless students and staff from our buildings, potentially for 14 days at a time, and takes valuable time and resources away from us, our local hospital, and the county health department.”

He added, “This is not the outcome any of us wanted, but with the recent rise in Henry County metrics, the number of students we currently have in quarantine or with pending tests, our second positive student at GHS, and our second positive employee, I am afraid this hand could have played out similarly sooner than later.”