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Supreme Court: Madison schools OK to open

The Brillion News

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction on Thursday, September 10, cancelling an order by Public Health Madison and Dane County that forced schools to close in response to the COVID-19 virus.

The court order allows K-12 schools in Dane County to fully open for in-person instruction.

The health agency said it was disappointed and urged schools to gradually allow students to return to school via a phased-in approach.

The temporary injunction follows a lawsuit, filed in August by the public action law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), challenging the order. It was filed on behalf of several parents and private schools.

"We are heartened that the [Supreme] Court concluded that our argument is likely to succeed on the merits and, for now, barred the closing of private schools," WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said. The court case is not settled, but the temporary order allows all schools in Dane County to reopen for in-person schooling while the court considers a permanent injunction.

WILL's suit was one of three such suits filed against the joint Madison-Dane County health department.

WILL's suit contends that:

  • State law doesn't give health departments to close schools for in-person classes.

  • The health department lacks proof that school closures are a necessary part of health precautions responding to the pandemic.

  • The health department's order infringes on parents' constitutional rights to direct the education of their children and freely exercise their religious faith.


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