Park City family sues school district over COVID testing program

PARK CITY, Utah. — A local family who believes mandatory student COVID testing is a violation of constitutional rights has filed a lawsuit against Park City School District and several other government entities.

Holly and Mark McClure filed the case against the district, its school board, and state School Superintendent Sydnee Dickson. State and county health department officials were also named in the case. Their children attend Treasure Mountain Junior High School and Park City High School, according to a report Thursday in the Salt Lake Tribune. The suit was filed Wednesday.

The Test to Stay’ program was activated in January after the high school and junior high school switched to remote learning due to the number of active COVID cases on those campuses. After entirely remote learning for a 10-day period, the district introduced the ‘Test to Stay’ protocol, requiring students to be tested for COVID every two weeks – and receive a negative result –  to continue in-person instruction.

The protocol has been widely in use in the current school year for athletic programs and extracurricular actives.

Park City Schools Superintendent Jill Gildea said Thursday night that the district had not yet reviewed the lawsuit. Health department officials were not available to comment.

Generally, the “Test to Stay” protocol is triggered when an outbreak at a school hits a 15-case threshold; at that point, school officials decide whether to move classes online for 10 days, or instead offer testing to students want to remain in the classroom, according to a policy document on the district website.

Under that option, students who choose not to get tested should move to virtual or remote learning for at least 10 days. Those who test positive also must isolate at home.

According to the McClures’ suit, the ‘Test to Stay’ policy violates their right to due process and equal protection clause under the Fourteenth Amendment, as their children are “denied in-person instruction” due to their objection to “invasive, experimental testing,” the Tribune report said. The lawsuit also claims the program goes against the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, as well as sections of the state constitution outlining parents’ rights with their children’s education.

This is a developing story.

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