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SAN DIEGO (LifeSiteNews) — A state judge rejected a lawsuit from parental advocacy groups against California’s COVID rules for schools across the state. Pro-freedom groups already said they will continue to fight the mask mandate.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland “rejected challenges to California’s statewide requirement that students and staff wear face masks indoors at schools to prevent spread of COVID-19, leaving it to the governor to decide when it’s safe to lift the mandate,” the Times-Herald reported.

Parties disagreed about whether the state guidance amounted to a “de facto mandate” due to possible consequences for school districts that did not enforce the COVID restrictions.

Judge Freeland made her decision on Friday, November 12. “While there is a fundamental right to an education,” Freeland said, “courts routinely have permitted the exclusion of students who refuse to comply with public health and safety measures designed to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, measures far more invasive than a mask mandate.”

Let Them Breathe, one of the groups opposing the mask mandate and other restrictions, said the ruling is a disappointment but identified a positive portion of the decision.

“While it’s disappointing school masking was not allowed to be put on trial, at least it appears schools are free to enforce the mask mandate anyway they see fit and are not required to remove kids from the classroom for not wearing a mask,” Sharon Mckeeman, the founder of Let Them Breathe, wrote on Instagram.

“Based on the state’s concession and the judge’s ruling, it is crystal clear California’s quarantine and testing protocols are only recommended and completely optional,” Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools, said about the lawsuit. Reopen the Schools also participated in the lawsuit.

“We will continue to fight the arbitrary and harmful mask guidance and are urgently crafting our next legal steps with our legal team,” the joint news release said. “We will be working with school districts to raise awareness that if they honor students rights the state can’t punish them for not removing students from classroom since it’s not in their guidance.”