Joint Message from Placer County Public Health and Placer County Office of Education
Rocklin, CA – Placer County Public Health and the Placer County Office of Education issued the following joint statement:
“Contrary to a Rocklin Unified School District statement on August 21, Placer County Public Health has not recommended delaying school reopening for in-person instruction.
While Placer County Public Health has discussed the risks of reopening schools without adequate testing, this was neither intended nor should it be construed as formal guidance nor a public health directive. Formal guidance for school reopening was issued July 17 by the California Department of Public Health.
Placer County Public Health was pleased to share this week that Placer County has fallen off the State’s County Data Monitoring List for COVID-19 as of August 19, with the rate of new positive cases now dipping below State-defined thresholds. Under the State order, K-12 schools may reopen for in-person instruction if Placer County remains off the list for at least 14 days.
Both the Placer County Office of Education and Placer County Public Health value and respect school districts’ authority and responsibility to make the reopening decisions that are right for their students and communities.
The Placer County Office of Education and Placer County Public Health want to resume in-person instruction safely and with a robust testing regime in place to identity and reduce possible disease spread.
Placer County Office of Education and Placer County Public Health meet regularly with school superintendents to discuss issues related to COVID-19 and reopening schools. We will continue to provide our school partners with data and information to help them make the most informed and balanced decisions possible.
Schools will be best positioned to contain COVID-19 – and therefore avoid hitting State-defined criteria for school closure – if suspected cases can be identified quickly. Timely testing is an important tool for safely reopening for in-person instruction. Placer County Public Health has shared turnaround times recommended by leading health institutions in an informational capacity, to help schools in their individual decision-making.
Though testing capacity has been strained statewide, turnaround and availability are again improving. Placer County Public Health continues to work with the Placer County Office of Education and schools to identify affordable testing resources to support their safe reopening when they decide the time is right.”
Rocklin Unified Aug 23 response
“Since my last email about delaying our schools reopening, Placer County Public Health (PCPH) clarified that they had discussed the risks of reopening without adequate testing in place, but did not issue a mandate. I took seriously the risk they raised, but I realize this back and forth is confusing and I apologize for any misunderstanding this has caused.
Bottom line: Having access to timely COVID-19 testing and results is essential to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and keeping schools open. Until we are able to meet these safety precautions, we will remain in distance learning for the time being. We are also working with PCPH to increase testing for schools. I will let you know as soon as we have information to share. We will continue to communicate updates to families via email.”