O.C. Board of Education to sue Gov. Newsom, CA health officials over school closures

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Education officials in Orange County are planning to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials over rules barring most schools from reopening classrooms when the academic year starts due to the coronavirus.

The Orange County Register reports the county’s Board of Education voted 4-0 Tuesday to file the lawsuit.

The board majority says the state hasn’t addressed how high-risk students will navigate distance learning.

The board approves the budget for the county’s education department but doesn’t make decisions for local school districts.

Newsom has said public and private schools in counties on a state monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections can’t hold in-person classes. 

After the legal action was announced, Orange County Supt. Al Mijares released the following statement:

On the heels of recommending students return to school without face coverings or social distancing, a majority of the five-member OC Board of Education has decided to file a lawsuit against the state public health officer and Governor Gavin Newsom over California’s school reopening plans.

I am disappointed by this latest legal action, but not surprised. This lawsuit continues the pattern of a highly litigious board majority that seems to have no qualms about diverting time, energy and financial resources from students and programs to satisfy their own ideological interests.

Remember that locally elected school boards and superintendents will continue to approve and implement their own plans based on the guidance of state and local public health agencies and the needs of their communities. The Orange County Department of Education is working to support them every step of the way, and I am optimistic that we can unite as a county to return our students to safe and equitable learning environments.

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