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Rocklin Teachers Association Files Lawsuit Against District

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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