District 51 adjusts mask policy for elementary school students

The new year has brought back an older policy regarding mask use in classrooms
The new year has brought back an older policy regarding mask use in classrooms(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:04 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:05 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - District 51 students returned to school across Mesa County on Wednesday. For elementary school students, the new year has brought back an older policy regarding masks.

The school district is reverting to their original mask-wearing policy for students in grades K-5, which was outlined in the Safe Schools Reopening Plan from August. The policy requires elementary school students to wear face coverings when moving between classrooms, while participating in group exercises, and in any other situation where physical distancing is not possible. In classrooms, however, students are not required to wear masks.

This policy changed in November, when Mesa County saw its largest spike in COVID-19 cases. For the final weeks of 2020, all students were required to wear masks in the classroom, regardless of age.

With both the positivity rate and case numbers now steadily declining, District 51 will begin the second half of its school year following the initial Safe Schools Reopening Plan.

“What we’ve done all along is let science be our guide,” explains Dr. Diana Sirko, District 51′s Superintendent of Schools. “Young children really do have a much smaller incidence of getting the virus or passing it on to others.”

Older students are still required to wear face coverings, for now, as elementary schools move one step closer towards returning to a normal classroom environment.

“They’ll still wear them walking in and out of the buildings, in hallways transitioning between rooms, and certainly on the bus, [anywhere] we cannot socially distance effectively,” Sirko says. “It should be comfortable for them to do classwork without their mask on.”

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