Supporters for Open and Safe Schools (SOS), a group of Mesa County residents who are alarmed by the lax Covid-19 prevention protocols School District 51 put in place for this fall, is challenging the District’s “2021-22 Keeping Schools Open Plan” as insufficient to keep students and the surrounding community safe from COVID outbreaks and school closures amid a continuing pandemic.
District 51 announced its “Keeping Schools Open” plan on July 16, but the plan does not require students or staff to wear face coverings. Instead it makes masking optional, lets unvaccinated visitors onto schools grounds without wearing face coverings and only encourages, and does not require, staff and students over 12 years to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Currently children under 12 are not eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, making them more susceptible to infection, especially with more transmissible Delta variant that spread rapidly in Mesa County after the County Commissioners ended all Covid protections in the county last spring. Currently only 43 percent of Mesa County adults over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated, far lower than the statewide average of 54 percent.
Mesa County has already had one pediatric COVID death.