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Washington County Exec fears Evers plans to close schools, issue new stay-at-home order

The Brillion News

WEST BEND - Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann said he fears that Thursday's executive order requiring masks be worn in public statewide is just the first step in what he sees as tightening control by Governor Tony Evers.

"[The] new public health emergency puts Wisconsin on a dangerous road. Make no mistake, this order is way broader than a mandatory mask policy. The media is already ensuring today’s mask mandate is a Trojan horse," Schoemann said. "Evers grabbed the broad powers of another public health emergency then issued a mask mandate. With many businesses and organizations across Washington County already requiring masks, this unnecessary power grab adds to the fear which is plaguing our county, state and nation."

Schoemann said he is fearful that the latest "public health emergency" gives the governor all the tools he needs to close schools, mandate virtual learning, and issue another safer-at-home order.

That is, in fact, what one special interest group is proposing the governor do next.

"Governor Evers says in his public health emergency that high risk levels of COVID-19 outbreaks will prevent the full reopening of school. Either the governor needs to commit to ensuring schools have the resources to fully reopen in September or the legislature needs to immediately act," Schoemann said. "As a former school board president, I know firsthand there are too many negative lifelong impacts for our children if we have a closure or even virtual operation of schools."

Schoemann said he wants people to be safe, but he said the emergency order issued on July 30 sets the stage for more closures and economic ruin.

On Friday, July 31, a liberal organization called Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group indeed called for harsher action by the governor.

“Wisconsin’s leaders should close non-essential businesses. People should stay home until the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is at two percent or lower on average statewide," said WISPIRG Director Peter Skopec. “However, even when the positivity rate hits two percent or lower, the state should not start reopening again unless we meet additional important criteria laid out by health experts. This includes greater daily testing capacity; a workforce of contact tracers large enough to trace all current cases; and enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep essential workers safe.”


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