Community college wax and mask necessarily challenge litigation

A group of staff and students have filed a civil rights lawsuit against Southern California community colleges challenging vaccines, masks and testing mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campuses.

The lawsuit, filed in San Diego Federal Court on March 30, named the San Diego Community College District, the Grosmond-Kuyama Community College District, and the South Orange County Community College District. District staff and students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay on campus and wear masks at home. In some cases, students and staff who have not been vaccinated may need to be tested once or twice a week.

The case alleges that schools did not have the authority to accept such extensive orders and neglected or failed to adequately accommodate staff and students seeking religious or medical exemptions.

The plaintiffs are two employees in the Grossmont District, two employees in the San Diego District, one student and two employees in the Orange County District. They are unable or unwilling to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because of “deep religious beliefs or medical conditions,” the lawsuit said.

They oppose “the rigorous testing and masking requirements that are imposed on them.”

Staff and students are demanding that the judge take more immediate action by issuing a temporary restraining order and injunction against not only the jury trial, but also the injunctions.

Representatives from all three districts either refused to talk to the Union-Tribune about matters that were not settled as a matter of policy, or did not respond to a request for comment last week.

The case joins hundreds of others filed across the country over the past two years – against schools and private and government employers, challenging vaccine orders and other pandemic reactions.

Legal experts have previously said that such vaccines are generally mandatory for employers but that individual assessments should be made for religious and medical exclusions and reasonable accommodation. The cases of the Pandemic period have drawn mixed judgments in the courts, and the issues raised by them are likely to be filtered to the courts of appeals.

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