A number of District 51 middle schools will join area high schools in shifting to online learning at least through Thanksgiving break.
On Thursday, all District 51 high schools went to remote learning, citing the number of students and staff that need to quarantine as a result of a positive COVID-19 test or because of contact with someone who had tested positive. In a press release Friday, the district added the majority of area middle schools to that list. Middle schools that are moving online are: Bookcliff Middle School, East Middle School, Grand Mesa Middle School, Mount Garfield Middle School, Orchard Mesa Middle School, Redlands Middle School and West Middle School.
Fruita Middle School will continue with in-person learning as they have experienced fewer impacts from COVID-19, according to the district's release.
Elementary schools are sticking with in-person instruction for now. District officials say the COVID-19 challenges in those schools haven't been as severe as at the higher grade levels.
"While some elementary schools are working to respond to positive cases in their staff and students, they are not experiencing the same level of cases or quarantines as our secondary schools. Elementary school situations are being considered on a case-by-case basis and might temporarily move some classes or grades to remote learning if needed." the district wrote in a press release. "We hope that, by moving the older students to remote learning, resources like substitute teachers can be directed to elementary schools so they can remain open."
A decision on how District 51 schools will handle the rest of the semester is expected just ahead of Thanksgiving. District officials have said they'll evaluate a number of public health factors over the next several days, with a decision expected no later than Nov. 25.