The state Supreme Court denied a petition to keep schools open and overrule the state’s emergency order closing them down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two private Valley schools, Immanuel Schools of Reedley and Clovis Christian Schools, were among nine plaintiffs seeking to overturn the order.
The court did not hold a hearing on the case. Both sides filed briefs and responses in recent weeks.
The court issued a one-page ruling denying the petition for an immediate stay and peremptory write of mandate.
As part of his COVID-19 emergency orders, Gov. Gavin Newsom deemed that schools could not hold in-person instruction as long as it was in a county that was under coronavirus monitoring.
Fresno County schools are prohibited from re-opening their campuses because of the county’s high number of positive COVID tests and hospitalization rate.
Supporters Not Deterred
In an email statement, attorneys for the plaintiffs vow to fight on.
“This court entry has no effect of law. It simply means that we will have to start the litigation by filing our claims in the superior courts because the court is not willing to permit this case to skip the lower courts. Once we proceed through the normal process, we believe we will still be victorious in the end,” the schools’ attorney Robert Tyler said.
A similar version of the statement was initially posted on the Facebook page of Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
“No public or elected official should have the authority to have unbridled discretion to deny children their fundamental right to equal protection and access to equal education,” Tyler said.
Fellow attorney Jennifer Bursch said:
“The Court’s denial of our petition for review is disappointing and while we have not yet exactly decided our next move, be assured we are prepared to continue fighting for the rights of the vulnerable children of California.”
Fresno County did not have a comment when asked by GV Wire℠.
County Case Ongoing
Immanuel Schools reopened last month despite state and local health orders preventing such action. The county sought a temporary restraining order to close the school, which was denied by Fresno County Superior Court judge D. Tyler Tharpe on Aug. 25.
“(Fresno County) has failed to make a sufficient affirmative factual showing of urgency for this matter to be heard on an ex parte basis,” Tharpe wrote.
Ex parte refers to having a hearing where only one party needs to prove its case, in this instance Fresno County’s request for an emergency order shutting down Immanuel.
Tharpe will hold a hearing for the county’s full request to close Immanuel — known as an Order to Show Cause — on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Read Supreme Court Decision
The one page order that came in today from the California Supreme Court: