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County Orders Capital Christian School To Close After It Used Loophole To Open For Students

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento private school has been ordered to shut down after the county said they used a loophole to reopen under daycare guidelines.

Capital Christian let students back on campus Thursday. According to Sacramento County Public Health, the school allowed in-person learning by operating under daycare services. Currently, there is no state guidance for high school students to have in-person learning in school or a daycare setting.

Parent Laine Laves currently has two children in third and fifth grade who are going to school back on-campus. Laine believes the school has taken all the necessary precautions to welcome kids back to school safely.

"It actually feels safer this year than it has in years past," she explained. "Honestly I think they should give us a chance if we are willing to be somewhat of a guinea pig in it, let us try. Let us prove that we can do this in a healthy, safe environment."

County Public Health has ordered the school to shut down all in-person instruction. Capital Christian School faces fines of up to $1,000 per day, plus any incurred costs if it continues in-person instruction.

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"They are using their daycare workers and training their high school teachers and middle school teachers specifically to be daycare workers, so they can get around the rules," said County Health Services Director, Dr. Peter Belienson.

Belienson said the school is putting students and the public at risk by re-opening

"They are much more likely to become super spreaders and spread the disease to their parents, grandparents, colleagues. So, we are out here looking out for the health of the population," Belienson said.

Head of School, Tim Wong, said he does not consider how they are operating to be in-person learning. Instead, he said the idea was designed after a poll from parents who overwhelmingly approved of the solution to bring students back to the classrooms.

"They are able to get a level of support that they wouldn't normally have. I think that is so important. We don't want any students to be left behind and we really do feel like we are honoring all the guidelines that keeps our students safe," Wong explained.

Students are required to get their temperatures checked each day. They are separated by 10 students per classroom, spread six feet apart and are required to wear face masks. Wong said each student works on their online classwork individually. He said the teacher is only in the classroom to oversee the students.

READ: Jackson Elementary Students Return To School For In-Person Learning

"This innovative solution that really I believe addresses a lot of needs and I don't know why our solutions have to be this or that and not an and," he explained.

County Health said with 14,500 people in the county positive with COVID-19, students should not be allowed back to school.

"We want to be really sure that cases are coming down dramatically, that we don't have a major outbreak at the time that we are allowing waivers for elementary school or high schools to reopen," Beilenson explained.

Wong believes his approach could help students who are having a hard time working from home.

"If we are doing something that we are not supposed to be doing, certainly let us know. But we are seeing the impact that it's having on students and families and how much they are appreciating it. That is why we are doing it," he said.

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