Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer ruled against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by the San Diego Unified School District on Monday that required students 16 and older to be fully vaccinated for in-person instruction. 

A lawsuit was filed by the group "Let Them Choose" and was granted a writ of mandate by the judge. The group worked to stop the school district's vaccine mandate. The lawsuit cities over 1,600 parents are calling into SDUSD's board meeting discussing the mandate to oppose its proposed vaccination mandate.

According to Judge Meyer in a tentative ruling, the mandate imposed by the SDUSD, which does not permit religious or personal belief exemptions, contradicts state law. The state legislature can only impose mandates without exemptions. 

"SDUSD's roadmap appears to be necessary and rational, and the district's desire to protect its students from COVID-19 is commendable. Unfortunately, the field of school vaccine mandates has been fully occupied by the State, and the roadmap directly conflicts with state law," the judge wrote in a tentative ruling. 

With the judge's ruling, all students who attend SDUSD that are vaccinated with state-mandated vaccinations will be allowed to attend in person. The list of state-mandated vaccines does not include COVID-19.

Meyer said that while students are required to receive some vaccinations to attend in-person school, adding COVID-19 to the list of required vaccinations without allowing personal belief exemptions is another area that lies only with the State.

According to Meyer, If a mandate was made without legislative approval, it should be done at the state level and would need to include a "personal beliefs" exemption. 

If the district's multi-phase approach went into effect, unvaccinated students would be required to participate in virtual learning or independent study. Unvaccinated students without medical exemption would be prohibited from attending in-person on Jan.24, when the spring semester begins.

Students within the age group were to be fully vaccinated by Dec.20 prior to the tentative ruling for the upcoming semester. The SUHSD has the option to appeal the verdict within the five days the judge has to sign it off. It is unclear whether the SUHSD intends to appeal the order. 

A Scripps Ranch High School student and her parents challenged the district's vaccine requirements when it was announced on Sept.28 in a federal lawsuit. They sought to block the mandate on religious grounds, but the San Diego Federal Judge denied the request. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision. The student's attorneys have since asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case.

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