GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — On Jan. 14, District 51 placed nine schools under a mask mandate due to a COVID positivity rate over 2%. Two weeks later, that number has almost tripled. On Jan. 28, Superintendent Dr. Diana Sirko’s weekly update included a COVID-19 update stating that 25 district schools have a student positivity rate at or above 2%, or had a positivity rate at or above 2% within the last 10 days.

The protocols that come with the Keeping Schools Open Plan call for these schools to universally mask for a minimum of 10 calendar days. Once the 10-day minimum has passed, the schools’ mask mandate can be lifted once their positivity rate is below 1% for five consecutive days.

These schools under the mandate are as follows:

  • Elementary Schools
    Dos Rios
    Dual Immersion
    Lincoln Orchard Mesa
    New Emerson
    Orchard Ave.
    Rim Rock
  • Middle Schools
    Mt. Garfield
  • High Schools
    Fruita Monument
    Grand Junction
  • Other
    Career Center
    Juniper Ridge Community School

Sirko’s update continues to say, “The Keeping Schools Open Plan protocols are designed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Our COVID-19 caseload in District 51 is trending downward, and our goal remains to scale back protocols starting Feb. 7. However, as discussed over the past month, we will have to meet the three criteria as a community.”

Those criteria include: a one-week average positivity rate below 5%; one week cumulative incidence rate below 100; and no more than one new hospitalization per day, with a seven-day trailing average.

The District 51 School Board, the superintendent, and Mesa County Public Health will be meeting on Feb, 1 to see how close the district is to meeting the criteria.