Immanuel Schools warned of legal actions if students attend in person

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County public health officials are warning a private school not to bring students on campus to start this school year.

The school year is about to get off to a virtual start across Fresno County.

A state order doesn't allow schools to bring students back on campus until the county gets its coronavirus outbreak much more under control, so they've taken education online.

The one exception may be in Reedley. Parents tipped us off that Immanuel Schools would open the school year Thursday and they'll be doing in-person instruction.

When Action News called to ask the administration whether they're opening, chief financial officer Andy Souza told us "no comment."

On Wednesday, employees cleaned school buses, cones marked where classes would line up, and families brought students in small groups.

Most parents didn't want to talk to us about it, and the tipsters wanted to stay anonymous.

They say the school has enrolled hundreds of new students this fall for classes on campus and they don't think anyone will be required to wear a mask.

Fresno County public health director Dave Pomaville tells us he's warned Immanuel not to bring students into the classroom this week.

If they do it anyway, "the county health officer will order the school closed," Pomaville said. "If the school violates that order, the county will take action in Superior Court to obtain a court order to close. The county will also petition the state to take action to close the school. Additionally, the school could be subjected to prosecution for unfair business practices."

The school's website, like its administration, is mostly silent about plans for the school year.

It says August 13 is the first day of school, and elementary school students can get a turkey sandwich for the first school lunch of the year.

Public health officials are not eager for a fight, but they could develop an appetite if the school flouts the state orders Thursday.
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