STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. — Some Stanislaus County school districts are eyeing a return for secondary student in-person learning after a judge ruled in favor of parents in a San Diego lawsuit.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland issued a temporary restraining order that keeps the state from enforcing provisions of its January framework for opening schools, according to KFMB.
School districts in Turlock and Ceres are among those already planning to welcome back their secondary students.
Turlock Unified School District sent a message to parents on Thursday letting them know that secondary students would be allowed to return to cohorted in-person instruction as a result of the judge's ruling.
"As a result of a San Diego lawsuit which issued a temporary restraining order on the January 14th California Department of Public Health guidelines, all secondary students are now able to return to cohorted in-person instruction. We will continue to have distance learning as an option," the district's message said.
The district said that, unless the state says otherwise, they're expecting the first cohort back on March 22 and the other cohort on March 23.
Just north of Turlock, Ceres Unified School District (CUSD) is following a similar suit.
District spokesperson Beth Jimenez said CUSD was already planning for reopening the secondary school campuses on March 25, in case Stanislaus County transitioned to the red reopening tier on March 23. With the news about the lawsuit ruling, they are moving ahead with their plans.
"We will now be able to move forward with those plans as tier assignments are no longer a factor for schools," Jimenez said.
On Thursday afternoon, Modesto City Schools spokesperson Becky Fortuna said the district was waiting on a statement from public health. However, any potential return to campus would have to wait until spring break ends for the district.
"Modesto City Schools’ sites are closed for Spring Break the week of March 22-26; however, it is our priority to safely welcome our students back on campus while also doing our part to adhere to health and safety parameters," Fortuna said.
Stanislaus County is currently in the most restrictive purple tier, which meant that some secondary schools weren't able to return to in-person instruction. Public health officials were already expecting to reach the red tier on March 23, which also would have allow their schools to reopen.