EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma County District Court issued a temporary injunction against Edmond Public Schools, agreeing with the group of parents who requested the injunction over the school district’s COVID-19 protocols.
“The Edmond Public School District is temporarily ENJOINED from implementing or enforcing its COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated students because Plaintiffs have established the protocols likely violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteen Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the District Court Judge said in the order for temporary injunction.
The school district issued the following statement in response to the injunction:
“Edmond Public Schools respects the court and the thoughtfulness of Judge Andrews’ decision, however, we feel confident that our Covid safety procedures, developed in collaboration with trusted state health officials, were made in the best interest of students and staff.”EDMOND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The issue at hand concerns parents disagreeing with the school district’s policy requiring unvaccinated students closely exposed to COVID-19 to be quarantined.
The six parents requested the injunction in September.
The school district tweaked its COVID protocol since the filing of the lawsuit, moving from required quarantines for unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine notification.
“Parents will still be notified when their child has been in close contact with a positive case of COVID and then will have the responsibility whether to quarantine their child or not. If something changes or a new variant causes a resurgence of cases, we will reinstate quarantines if we remain above the .5% threshold for a number of days in the future,” the school district’s website states.
The plaintiffs, six people who are parents to students in the school district, requested the injunction in September.
School district officials consulted with Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) officials this past summer, seeking guidance on how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Edmond schools.
OCCHD officials recommended school personnel quarantine individuals who A) had been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case; B) were not vaccinated against COVID-19; and C) had not tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, according to the court’s order.
Edmond Public Schools administrators instituted COVID-19 quarantine protocols on Aug. 18.
The protocols required unvaccinated students who had been identified as having been in “close contact” of someone who was positive for COVID, and who had not tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, to quarantine at home for seven to 10 days.
“Even if an unvaccinated student did not display signs or symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, the District’s policy required the student to self-isolate at home,” the court order states.
An unvaccinated student who completed the quarantine was allowed to return to in-person classes without getting vaccinated or giving proof of having been vaccinated.
Plaintiffs said their children suffered negative psychological and physical effects from being quarantined. Those negative effects are described below:
- A child with behavioral issues becoming extremely violent;
- Significantly less in-person instruction for a disabled child who has special needs;
- A decline in grades;
- Suicidal tendencies;
- Psychosomatic effects of isolation;
- Losing the ability to absorb nutrients, causing weight loss during quarantine;
- Signs of anxiety;
- Talking about death more frequently.
The judge said evidences shows that quarantining unvaccinated-yet-healthy children did not slow COVID’s spread, and that the plaintiffs’ children were negatively impacted by being quarantined. The judge said the following in the court order:
“The District quarantined unvaccinated-yet-healthy children based on concern that some of those students could become asymptomatic transmitters of COVID-19. But evidence before the Court shows that in practice, the policy of removing unvaccinated-yet-healthy children from the classroom provided no benefit in slowing the spread of COVID-19. The policy did, however, inflict tremendous harm on some of those students, pushing some to the brink of suicide, while causing others to fall significantly behind in their studies. The District’s policy is irrational and fails to balance any of the known dangers associated with quarantining children against the fear of asymptomatic spread among unvaccinated students.”