SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday July 21, the San Francisco law firm, Dhillon Law Group Inc., filed for an injunctive relief against Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of school closures.
Newsom first proclaimed a State of Emergency as a result of the of COVID-19 threat on March 4. Various steps have been taken to direct California residents to follow statewide public health directives.
In one of the latest directives, set on July 17, a framework to reopen schools was announced. The suit states that “under this plan, reopening hinges on not being on the county monitoring list for two weeks.” Dhillon points out that “California is the only state in the U.S. that is mandating at the state level that school districts not hold in-person classes…rather than leave that decision to the individual school district.”
There are currently 32 of the state’s 58 counties on the watchlist which translates into 5.9 million K-12 students that will have to begin the year remotely.
The lawsuit aligns itself with the stance of the U.S. Department of Education which encourages schools to re-open. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated during a press briefing that not re-opening would “fail America’s students, and it would fail taxpayers who pay high taxes for their education.” Over 8.2 billion in federal funds have been spent on California K-12 schools for the 2019-2020 school year.
In addition to Governor Newsom, the lawsuit lists Attorney General Xavier Becerra, State Public Health Officer Sonia Angell, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond as defendants.