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'Increased tensions' over Eagle County Schools mask policy sees response from deputies

Eagle County deputies were at schools in the district Monday, with a focus on middle and elementary schools, the sheriff's office said.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — The Eagle County Sheriff's Office (ECSO) had deputies at all schools in the Eagle County Schools district to "keep the peace" amid concerns stemming from the district's updated mask policy, the sheriff's office said.

A spokeswoman for ECSO said that additional deputies were at all schools in the district, with a focus on middle and elementary schools. ECSO already has resource officers at two of its high schools, she said.

This was in response to what the sheriff's office described as "increased tensions" over the district's mask policy, according to an ECSO news release.

On Monday, the Sheriff's Office said the first day of school was "really smooth." Schools had designated areas where parents could gather if they wanted to protest, and very few people did so, ECSO said.

Fewer than 50 people gathered at a park in Edwards against the mask mandate, and the protest was peaceful, ECSO said.

In an Aug. 9 post on the school district's Facebook page, the district announced that masks would not be required, citing "high vaccination rates and minimal spread among youth."

On Friday, Aug. 13, the district updated its policy to require masks for students, staff members and visitors, the district said in a Facebook post.

On Sunday, ECSO said it was preparing for peaceful protests outside of schools and that deputies planned to be outside of schools to help students get off buses and cross crosswalks safely as they get to school, the spokeswoman said.

"Our goal is the same as yours, getting our children back to school safely," ECSO says in a news release. "Law enforcement is requesting that persons who are wishing to express their opinions not interfere or interrupt the freedom of movement and the functions of the schools."

RELATED: Here's a district-by-district breakdown of school mask and health procedures

RELATED: Adams 12 school district reverses course on mask policy for students

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