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Immanuel Schools, Fresno County Settle Legal Battle Over In-Person Instruction

The superintendent of Immanuel Schools said Wednesday he’s pleased to no longer be arguing the legality of keeping his K-12 private school in Reedley open. That’s due to a recent settlement among Immanuel, Fresno County, and the state attorney general’s office.

The settlement comes now that Fresno County is in the state’s “Red” tier, meaning all schools are allowed to reopen for in-person instruction. Per the settlement, the school, county, and state attorney general’s office agreed to drop all complaints. The County has also dropped fines against the school. 

In an interview on KMJ Wednesday morning, Superintendent Ryan Wood said there will be some changes like requiring face masks for all students; they had been recommended but not required for second grade students and younger. 

“I understand the county needs to do their job, the state needs to do their job, but I also need to do my job,” said Wood. “My job is to protect, and defend, and to shepherd our 600 kids that were on campus.”

The school’s attorney Jennifer Bursch said she believes the governor has overreached in applying COVID-19 limitations to schools under the Emergency Services Act.

“There’s lawsuits all over the state, including from my firm, that are questioning that and questioning whether he still even has the authority to do it,” Brusch said on KMJ. “I don’t believe he does.”

Immanuel students can still learn from home, but most have preferred to resume in-person. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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