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DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools students plan to walk out of classes Thursday until the school district meets their demands for COVID-19 safety precautions.

According to DPS, the students sent a letter outlining their concerns about COVID-19 safety.

“No student should feel scared and have to sacrifice their health or their family’s health to get an education. We are speaking up and taking action so that we can be comfortable going to school,” the letter reads.

The students said they released a petition about their concerns on Jan. 12 and it had gotten more than 500 signatures in two days.

“What is on the table? Our list of what we believe are reasonable demands to keep us safe and combat the health effects both staff and students fear getting every day we attend school,” they wrote.

They sent the school district this list of their demands:

  • KN95/N95 masks provided to all students
  • HEPA filtration and airflow in all classrooms
  • Twice weekly COVID tests for in-person students
  • “Integrated learning” for students with COVID or those choosing to stay home
  • More weather-protected outdoor spaces for safe lunches

They asked the school district “to publicly acknowledge that you will meet our demands by Jan. 20” or they will walk out of school that day “and will continue to walk until we see the change we need! We are willing to risk our education and walk out if it means we are protecting our health!”

DPS responds to student demands

On Wednesday, DPS released a statement in response to the students’ demands:

We certainly understand our students’ frustrations. This is a very difficult time for schools right now, here in Denver and across the state and country. But our scholars and families rely on our schools, and we need to do everything we can to keep them open for in-person learning and support. Too much time has already been lost to the pandemic. We need to accelerate learning and strengthen support in our schools. Our health experts and partners are constantly and closely monitoring COVID rates and conditions in the community, and we have their full support in keeping schools open. We have strong safeguards in place, high vaccination rates across our schools, and we’re increasing the availability of N95 masks to staff and scholars. Given these safeguards and the needs of our scholars and families, we remain committed to keeping our doors open to serve our community.

Denver Public Schools