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District 51 parents, students organize walk-out to protest school mask policies

Those protesting sought to advocate for the expansion of Mesa County’s“Free to Choose” policy to District 51 schools
A group of concerned citizens gathered to protest mask mandates at District 51 schools in Grand...
A group of concerned citizens gathered to protest mask mandates at District 51 schools in Grand Junction, Colo. on April 26, 2021.(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 7:08 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - A group of Mesa County Valley School District 51 parents and students organized a walk-out to protest school mask policies on Monday. The event took place at the Long Family Memorial Park.

Laura Hutchins, a concerned parent, expressed her view that “Here in Mesa County we are free to choose except for our students. And I want to make it very clear that as parents, as a community, we are not going to sit by and... let our students be afraid anymore.”

Sarah Fletcher, another concerned parent, echoed Hutchins’ sentiments when she argued that “When we go to restaurants, we’re allowed to take the mask off when we sit at a table. They do not allow the kids to even take off the mask when they’re sitting at their desks. I don’t see the need for that.”

District 51 has provided its reasoning behind its current policies in weekly superintendent’s letters. According to Dr. Diana Sirko, District 51 Superintendent, “masks are still required in schools according to a statewide mandate, and we anticipate maintaining the requirement though the rest of the school year. Schools are not alone in remaining under a statewide mask order in all 64 counties.”

Decisions regarding COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-2022 school year have yet to be decided.

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