Kentucky parents file suit seeking to resume in-person class
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WTVQ) — A group of Kentucky parents are suing several public school districts, seeking to put an end to online learning and return students to classrooms in-person, nearly one year after the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to pivot to virtual or hybrid models.
Northern Kentucky lawyer Chris Wiest told The Courier-Journal on Tuesday he filed the statewide class-action lawsuit in Boone Circuit Court. The formal complaint was not yet publicly available Wednesday morning. Wiest said he would share it once it was processed, according to the newspaper.
The plaintiffs include parents in Boone County. Parents from Fayette and Jefferson counties were expected to join the suit in the coming weeks, he added. Defendants were set to be the school boards of each public district named in the suit.
Jefferson and Fayette, two of the largest school districts in the state, have not reopened any schools to in-person learning since they closed in spring 2020.
Other districts have reopened at differing levels depending on coronavirus cases in their areas, and recently Jefferson has come under increasing pressure from parents wanting the district to reopen, The Courier-Journal said.
The lawsuit was dependent upon the Republican-controlled legislature’s overrides of Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes on bills aiming to limit the Democratic governor’s authority to order restrictions to combat COVID-19.
The General Assembly’s votes posed an attempt to loosen the governor’s actions to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Republicans saw the overrides as a check on what they viewed as Beshear’s overreach with his emergency orders.
The governor filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block the measures, arguing the actions to restrict his executive authority violate the state constitution.
The governor has not ordered schools not to return to in-person learning. Instead, the state issues guidelines and recommendations last fall that school districts could follow depending on levels of COVID cases in communities, but the decision was left up to local school boards.
Interestingly, Wiest has filed a number of lawsuits challenging the governor’s mandates but this lawsuit now asks the courts to issue a mandate of its own.