The Associated Press
Updated: September 22, 2020 06:28 AM
Created: September 22, 2020 06:23 AM
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is siding with the father of a seventh grade prep school student in a lawsuit that challenges pandemic-related limits on classroom capacity at private schools in New Mexico as more restrictive than public school guidelines.
Albuquerque-based U.S. Attorney John Anderson filed a statement of interest on Monday that argues the state is violating the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by limiting attendance at private schools to 25% of building capacity when public school guidelines say 50%.
The administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says public schools have greater oversight requirements that accompany the potentially higher 50% capacity limit, and that daycare centers simply cannot operate remotely by videoconference.
The administration also notes that students in grades seven-12 are not receiving in-person instruction as state education officials take a cautious approach to reopening.
Separately, President Donald Trump has proposed diverting federal funding away from public schools that decline to open.
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