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Masks Now Optional For Roseville Joint Union High School District Students

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) -- Masks are optional, regardless of vaccination status, for students in Roseville Joint Union High School District (RJUHSD) as of Tuesday.

The resolution, which is the first among districts in the region, comes on the heels of anti-masking protests across the region. When we asked the district what part of the state guidelines give them the authority to move masking from mandatory to optional, they sent CBS13 a statement from Board President Scott Huber, that read, in part:

"We are taking the initiative to allow students and families to decide which option is best for them."

The board's resolution cites multiple reasons for the vote, including calling the state's K-12 mask mandate in schools "ill advised" and "in opposition to the educational and social-emotional goals of the State and the District."

Teachers, represented by the Roseville Secondary Education Association (RSEA), a union that represents nearly 500 teachers, spoke-out against the mask-optional policy. The union, affiliated with the California Teachers Association, said as teachers they are caught in the middle.

"They're putting teachers in a very tight situation that is causing us even more stress and anxiety when we've already had the stress and anxiety for the last few years," said Jessica Fork, RSEA President. 

Fork said the union was not consulted before the vote and on the Friday after it was decided worked to get more answers about the changes they would see Tuesday. RJUHSD employees are still required to wear masks, according to Cal/OSHA Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

In a statement to CBS13, the RJUHSD superintendent said, "District staff plan to examine industry guidance and will share updates as they become available."

Fork said the concern from the union and teachers is not about "mask or no mask," but that they feel they now have to chose between the board policy and the state policies, that determine teaching credentials.

"Once we lose our credentials we can't teach. So we lose our careers, all these things, for us we've never been in this situation it's very frustrating for us," said Fork. 

One student at Granite Bay High School in Roseville told CBS13 the conversations about masks in the classroom are limited and "mostly talked about by adults."

"I chose to wear mine cause in case I have COVID or if anybody around me has COVID. I want to be able to protect me and my family. I personally have events going on in my life where I can't afford to get COVID," said Abby Haas, a junior in RJUHSD.

Required COVID testing for asymptomatic students is not part of the mask-optional policy.

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