LOS ANGELES — Governor Gavin Newsom announced his plan, July 17, saying schools located in counties that are on the Monitoring List must not physically open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days. Schools in counties that have not been on the Monitoring List for the prior 14 days may begin in-person instruction, following public health guidelines
However, Dhillon Law Group argued that the governor’s decree violates rights to basic education, will severely impact children’s mental and physical health, and cause social, academic, and emotional suffering. The law group brought a suit to open schools against the State.
The lawsuit stated records show no minors in the State of California have died from COVID-19 and the Centers for Disease Control reported children between the ages of 5-17 are hospitalized at a rate of 5.3 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 113.6.
Dhillon Law Group also cites the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the AAP website, “The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
Center for American Liberty founder and CEO Harmeet Kaur Dhillon said distance learning is a failure throughout the State and that children have a constitutional right to education. She said the lawsuit was not arguing for schools to be reopened and for all children to go back to school.
Rather, Dhillon said the lawsuit advocates for parent choice — rather than closures across the board — by putting the power to make decisions regarding reopening in the hands of the individual districts.
“The Governor’s decision to shut down educational facilities in more than 30 counties denies children in these counties their right to a basic education,” said Dhillon.
“Learning is non-negotiable,” said Governor Newsom. “The virus will be with us for a year or more, and school districts must provide meaningful instruction in the midst of this pandemic. In California, health data will determine when a school can be physically open — and when it must close — but learning should never stop. Students, staff, and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely.”
Dhillon also said the governor’s order is a direct betrayal to taxpayers.
“California taxes citizens and spends $100 billion of state and federal dollars annually on education,” Dhillon said. “This year, there will be little to show for that massive spending, other than increased depression, suicide risk, stunted learning, and the shattered dreams of millions of California children. California families — particularly the most vulnerable — will suffer economic loss, heartbreaking personal choices, and a state that utterly fails its obligations, all based on politics and not science."
School community members – including parents, teachers, staff and students – can track daily data on whether and why their county is on the Monitoring List at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/#track-data.