New mask mandates for three District 51 schools in Mesa County

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo — For students returning to Fruita 8/9 School, Dos Rios Elementary School, or New Emerson School at Columbus, the halls might look very different next week.

An increase in positive COVID-19 cases prompted school officials to mandate new masks requirements.

Some students told me masks give them anxiety, others told me sometimes it is hard to concentrate.

Several others also mentioned the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated is pretty much up to their parents.

96 students in School District 51 tested positive for COVID-19, according to the D51 data dashboard. This represents point 0.46% of the student population.

Stefany Busch, with Mesa County Public Health, says, “early August, right before school went back into session, from then to now, we have seen an increased rate of COVID-19 in general in Mesa County.”

Multiple schools on the Western Slope surpassed five positive COVID-19 cases, which according to Mesa County Public Health constitutes an outbreak.
The virus isn’t just affecting students in School District 51.

Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely announced Monday in a letter to students, classes will transition to remote learning after Thanksgiving break.

The hometown Mavs of Colorado Mesa University developed a new strategy to reduce infections.

Amy Bronson, with Colorado Mesa University, says, “mindful masking is really about engaging and knowing the why behind when we mask and why we mask, what certain situations masking is going to help with prevention”

Stefany Busch also says, “absolutely recommend mask-wearing as a tool, a layer of protection against COVID-19. We do know that vaccination is the absolute best defense we have in our toolbox.”

For more information on where to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine, visit

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