Immanuel Schools can stay open for now, court rules

The judge said Fresno County hasn't convinced him yet that Immanuel Schools bringing kids on campus is an immediate threat to people's health.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno County court has ruled that Immanuel Schools in Reedley can stay open for now, despite being in violation of state and county emergency orders.

Judge Tharpe ruled the county hasn't convinced him yet that Immanuel bringing kids on campus is an immediate threat to the health of people in the county.

On Thursday, Fresno County filed for an injunction to close the private school, a week after it brought students and staff back on campus despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit says in the week before the school brought kids back on campus, the county warned the school not to open in a series of emails.

After they violated the orders and opened, the Immanuel Schools board of trustees issued a statement that declared its intention to ignore state and local health orders and open the school for in-person instruction.

Immanuel argued it has herd immunity with 59% of its students and staff infected during outbreaks in January and February.

County health officer Dr. Rais Vohra says that's improbable because antibody testing isn't reliable and the county didn't have its first recorded coronavirus cases until March 7.

The judge will give both sides a chance to make their arguments again and then rule on a possible injunction on September 15.

Some families and supporters of Immanuel Schools, who filled the Mariposa Mall next to the courthouse ahead of the hearing, were seen celebrating their victory after Tuesday's decision.
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