On Wednesday, August 18, the California Supreme Court denied the Orange County Board of Education’s petition to challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate to require face masks at school.
The ruling comes just days after the Costa Mesa-based board brought forth the petition to the state Supreme Court, which was filed on August 3. In OCBE’s petition, the board called Newsom’s mandate regarding face masks unsound, and lacking “scientific basis.”
In a statement provided by Newsom to Irvine Weekly, the governor emphasized the need to get children back into the classroom as quickly and safely as possible.
“Our goal has been to get kids back in school for full in-person instruction safely, period. By relying on safety strategies as recommended by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, including universal masking, we’ve seen promising results – the Supreme Court rejecting this effort to stand in the way further reaffirms the state’s strategy,” Daniel Lopez, Newsom’s Press Secretary, wrote in an email to Irvine Weekly. “We are committed to working with school districts, other local governments, and other state officials to ensure schools implement this requirement to keep children and staff safe.”
In past conversations, Second District Supervisor Katrina Foley, who oversees Costa Mesa, said that the lawsuit was political theater that should be ignored. During a press conference on August 11, Foley said the board is entitled to file whatever petitions it deems necessary, but cast doubt on the board’s ability to move the lawsuit forward in the courts.
“The great news is that the superintendent of the Orange County Department of Education, Dr. Al Mijares, is not challenging the rule and he understands that masks are the best defense for our young residents, especially against the variant,” Foley said. “I doubt that this lawsuit will go anywhere – the Superior Court is requiring masks.”
In Irvine, students of the Irvine Unified School District kicked off the 2021-22 academic year on Thursday, August 19. Per state orders, all students are required to wear masks indoors.