San Diego's St. Augustine High School has filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and related state officials over the shutdown order preventing schools across the state from reopening for in-person instruction at the start of this school year.
The suit filed on Aug. 6 states the school -- a private, Catholic high school -- is seeking to prohibit the enforcement of, "Governor Newsom’s discriminatory school shutdown order, thereby allowing Saints to bring its students back to campus for in-person schooling."
Seven families who have students attending the school have joined the lawsuit.
“At Saints, we don’t believe remote learning is sufficient to provide a quality education our students are entitled to and our families have come to expect,” said Principal James Horne in a statement. “We are confident we can open our school safely, consistent with CDC and San Diego County health guidance. We ran a safe and successful summer school program and believe it is an indicator that we can safely return to school in the fall.”
According to the school, St. Augustine safely and successfully completed both of its summer school and summer athletic programs for more than 400 students by complying with county health requirements.
"Saints was able to offer in-person learning for 214 students and athletic training programs for 192 athletes without any reports of on-campus COVID-19 cases," the school said in a statement sent to NBC 7.
Two students were reported to have COVID-19 after a beach party but never stepped on campus, Horne said.
The lawsuit also alleges Newsom's closure order discriminates against at-risk students, and seven school families who identify as low-income are plaintiffs, according to Horne.
"Many of these people don’t have computers, don’t have the ability to do Zoom learning. So, what do they do except get behind? Their education doesn’t happen," Horne said, adding that more than 100 of his students are considered at-risk.
The school added things like UV light filters and electromagnetic sanitizers to help sanitize surfaces and areas around campus.
But at the end of the day, Horne said the parents are trusted to report any COVID-19 symptoms in students and to keep their kids home if needed.
"We are a Catholic school, we collect tuition, we pay the bills. So there’s a business aspect to us, but we're open for business and our business is educating young men," Horne said.
The school said it will offer distance learning for those families who don't want to send their children back to school, and said it is exploring all options to offer the best educational experience for its students.
St. Augustine High School is a Catholic college preparatory high school for boys grades 9-12 located in North Park. The school has approximately 700 students enrolled.
NBC 7 reached out to the governor's office for comment but have not heard back.