By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore's Kings Christian School opened its doors to students late last week despite state orders mandating distance learning.
Lemoore's Kings Christian School opened its doors to students late last week despite state orders mandating distance learning.

Kings Christian School, a local faith-based K-12 school in Lemoore, which operates elementary, middle school, and high school programs, on Thursday, welcomed students back to class despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate prohibiting in-person instruction for all schools currently on the state’s Coronavirus watch list.

The local Christian school could get a visit from the Kings County Department of Public Health (KCDPH). According to Governor Newsom’s July order to limit some businesses and shutter schools for distance learning, it makes no distinctions between private and public schools.

According to officials with the KCDPH, they say they are dealing with the issue, and backing up the county’s efforts is $15.6 million in CARES Act funding from the state and federal government designed to ensure the county certifies its adherence to all state and federal COVID-19 guidance and orders, including businesses and schools.

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) established a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to make payments to the state, local, and tribal governments dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

The California Department of Finance is the decision-maker in whether Kings County adequately “adhered” to state orders to get the Pandemic-related funding. At a minimum, “no county ordinances or resolutions can be inconsistent with the state’s stay-at-home orders, executive orders, or California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance.”

County officials will initially implement “good faith” efforts to bring about compliance. Kings County proposed a five-step process that begins with education and outreach. A warning is issued upon non-compliance, following by demand, a health order, and finally, an injunction.

Additional CARES Act funding will depend on Kings County living up to its agreement with the state. Allowing a local school, private or public, to violate the state’s restrictions regarding “in-person” instruction could lead to the loss of additional funding. The state may withhold (and redirect) funds if the county is not in compliance.

Kings County is and continues to be one of 42 counties currently on the coronavirus watch list as of Tuesday, August 18. The only way for schools to get off the list is for a county to be off the state’s monitoring measures for 14 consecutive days.


As of Tuesday, Kings County public health officials are reporting 37 total deaths and 1,520 active cases since the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health officials also report that 1,743 Kings County citizens have recovered. There have been 3,300 total Kings County cases. Kings County nursing homes report 23 deaths and six deaths in Kings County’s two prisons.

Kings Christian’s officials have not returned a series of phone calls from The Leader.

Kings Christian School was founded in 1977 to meet a need for a Christian K-12 education.

All public schools on the “Watch List” since Newsom’s declaration in July, are currently holding classes via distance learning. Lemoore High School began its distance learning endeavor on Wednesday, July 12, while Lemoore Elementary began instruction on August 11.

Kings Christian is not the only religious institution to defy state orders to implement distance learning. Fresno County Department of Public Health officials are considering legal action, or fining Reedley’s Immanuel schools, for allowing students to return to on-campus learning.

School officials in Reedley were ordered to close down Thursday after reopening for the first day of school. Students returned to classes the next day. According to the Fresno Bee,  Immanuel Schools is based in Reedley and operates kindergarten through 12th-grade programs and serves some 600 students.

Immanuel Schools issued a statement from its board of trustees and Superintendent Ryan Wood, who said they “feel strongly that parents are ultimately responsible for their child’s schooling choice, and if they desire an on-campus education, why should they be denied that right.”

The statement added that for families who have medical needs or are not yet comfortable with being on campus, the school would continue its School from Home learning option.


Local Christian school welcomes students back to class despite California mandate to begin distance learning