ROCKLIN (CBS13) — The Rocklin Unified School district is being sued by the Rocklin teachers association.

The Rocklin Teachers Professional Association filed a lawsuit saying the district is putting the health and safety of students at risk after reopening for in-person learning six weeks ago. The class-action grievance filed by the RTPA claims the district failed to follow safety protocols that both parties agree upon in early August.

In a statement, RTPA president Travis Mougeotte said, “We jointly agreed that without rapid testing available and in order to protect our students and staff while reopening in the distance learning hybrid model for on-campus instruction, that all students and staff exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms would be sent home with a recommendation for testing. It is crucial that the safety of our educators, staff, students, and community remain a top priority as we continue to educate our students throughout this pandemic in the safest possible environment.”

The union told CBS13 on Thursday that the initial agreement to send students exhibiting COVID-like symptoms home for testing has been reinterpreted.

“To give them the authority to allow our health aide on campus to make the judgment call if that student is presenting actual COVID symptoms or symptoms that they determine are related to something unrelated to COVID, in turn allowing that student to potentially be sent back to your classroom not truly knowing if they’re COVID or not,” Mougeotte said.

The union wants students to immediately be given a rapid test. Without it, many families are choosing to not get tested at all.

“So if we don’t have that rapid testing, many families are choosing to ride out the entire quarantining, whether it’s 10 or 14 days, versus getting tested and knowing one way or the other and potentially getting their students back to school sooner,” Mougeotte said.

In response to the lawsuit, Rocklin Unified said the district is following state and local public health guidelines and that the teachers association “is asking the District to disregard the protocols per state and local government health directives.”

“We will continue to follow these protocols and work with the Rocklin Teachers Professional Association regarding the grievance they filed and their filing with the California Public Employment Relations Board.  The safety of our students and staff continues to be one of our top priorities,” the district said in a statement Wednesday.

When students returned to campus in late September, the school leaders said there are mandatory masks, social distancing, and no lockers. Students were also required to wipe down their desks at the beginning and end of each class.

School officials also set up a “Covid Hotline” for contact tracing and to make sure parents know what to do if their children develop any symptoms.

The union hopes to get a response by December 1.

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  1. Strange says:

    I get that they’re suing, but the school district board also sits on the Rocklin Chamber of Commerce, That might be a conflict of interest right now – kids safety – vs keeping businesses open. in my opinion anyway

    To paraphrase one of the members of the Placer Board of Supervisors – promising emptily to make these rapid tests available, and reopening the schools is just like Aids Ribbons – the words don’t do anything but it shows that you care – end sarcasm –

    But seriously, in defense, RUSD will likely site the State Tier System. Even though RUSD made the promise and the commitment to protect the children siting a very explicit plan in August, failing to actually follow through on that was far more likely prompted due to the wider attempt to get the county below the Red and Yellow tiers. Those tiers have mandated procedures and reporting attached to them, and getting into Yellow meant that while they did make all those promises, from a legal perspective, they did not actually need to follow through on them. Or at least that’s how I read it:

    “Schools are eligible for reopening at least some in-person instruction following California School Sector Specific Guidelines once the county is out of Tier 1 (and thus in Tier 2) for at least 14 days, which is similar to being off the County Data Monitoring List for at least 14 days. The first day a county is considered in Tier 2 is the Wednesday after the weekly county tier assignments are announced and posted on the CDPH website (Tuesdays). For example, if a county is assigned to Tier 2 on Tuesday, October 13, the first full day the county is in Tier 2 is Wednesday, October 14. The county will have completed 14 days in Tier 2 on Tuesday, October 27 and may reopen schools for in-person instruction on Wednesday, October 28. As noted above, an LHJ may continue to implement or maintain more restrictive public health measures if the local health officer determines that health conditions in that jurisdiction warrant such measures.

    As stated in the July 17 School Re-opening Framework (PDF), schools are not required to close if a county moves back to Tier 1, but should consider surveillance testing of staff. However, if a school or district had not already reopened for in-person instruction while in Tier 2 and is then moved to Tier 1, it may not reopen those schools until the county moves back to Tier 2 and remains in Tier 2 for 14 days.”

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