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Stuck In Quarantine: Rocklin Parents Say Students Forced To Teach Themselves, Call For Change In Policy

ROCKLIN (CBS13) - Parents are demanding answers after false-positive test results from the state's troubled COVID-19 lab left 400 students in Rocklin in quarantine for weeks.

Tina and Rich Watts say it's too late for their daughter Alexa. She was told to stay home after coming into close contact with a COVID-19 positive student in chemistry class.

Now, she's falling behind in academics and missing out on sports.

"I want a plan in place that doesn't include this ridiculousness," said Tina Watts.

But they say they want change from the county and district for other students.

"Our daughter has a lot of support at home from us, but there are a lot of kids who don't have that support," said Rich Watts.

For Rocklin students, the Watts say there's no quarantine plan in place with no option for "Zoom classes."

They say Alexa is now teaching herself, while preparing for finals and AP exams.

"You're going to get an assignment by email, go figure it out and when you get back, you'll be tested," said Rich Watts.

In response, the district said:

"The Rocklin Unified School District developed a plan prior to students returning to in-person instruction in September 2020 and regularly updates the districtwide protocols as CDPH's K-12 Schools Reporting Framework and Guidance is updated. Students/staff members that either test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone that did contract the virus then transition to Distance Learning for the duration of the quarantine period. Schools contact students daily that are in quarantine."

Specifically for high school students, the Schoology online platform allows students access to and submit their daily assignments and also have access to their instructors. Deadline extensions are given to students that are in quarantine to allow for some flexibility.

These widespread quarantines come amid false positives at districts across the state because of questionable results from the troubled state lab that our CBS13 Investigates team has been tracking.

The problem is now magnified because kids are packed into classrooms without six feet of space. Some students worry they'll be next.

"So it's scary if you sit right behind someone, it's like are they going to pull me out?" Julia Steiger, a senior, said.

Now, there's no process in place at the county or state level to identify and clear a false positive or allow the exposed students to test negative and return to school.

Under the state, federal and county health guidelines, close contact quarantine shouldn't be longer than 10 days.

So why does Rocklin have a blanket 14-day quarantine policy?

The district said:

"The Rocklin Unified School District welcomed all of its students back on campus for full day instruction on April 6, 2021 and cannot meet the six-foot spacing requirements outlined in the CDPH's K-12 Schools Reopening Framework and Guidance to implement a 10-day quarantine policy. Because of this, students that are exposed to COVID-19 and are required to quarantine will transition to Distance Learning for 14 days."

The district says it all goes back to that six-foot spacing requirement from the state that they can't meet, so they have to mandate the maximum.

"There's no uniform policy for these kids, so our district was deferred to the maximum," said Watts.

Alexa's parents still haven't been told when​ she can go back to school or sports, her next game is Monday.

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