State Supreme Court temporarily blocks Dane County school order

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued a temporary injunction against parts of Dane County's Emergency Order #9 that prohibit in-person classes for students in grades three through 12.

The state Supreme Court issued the order Thursday after several groups have asked the court to step in and prevent the county from forcing schools to teach students virtually.

The order does not affect aspects ofEmergency Order #9that regulate other areas like business reopenings and a county-wide mask mandate.

The order combines three different lawsuits brought against Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County.

The petitioners in the lawsuit, which include Madison's St. Ambrose Academy, will have 20 days to submit new arguments to the court and then Dane County will have 10 days to respond.

Public Health Madison & Dane County declined to offer an immediate comment Thursday evening as they said they were still reviewing the order.

In its order, the court said that it believes the group bringing the case against Dane County is likely to win because Wisconsin statutes give the power to close schools during epidemics to the state Department of Health Services. Local health officials do not have the same authority under state law.

Dane County originallyissued the order in Augustbefore amending it to allowstudents with special needs to attend class.

The order prevents most students in grades three through 12 from attending in-person classes within Dane County. Those in kindergarten through second grade can go to school if certain precautions are in place.

The order went into effect Aug. 24.

St. Ambrose Academy raised tens of thousands of dollars to bring its challenge in just 48 hours after Emergency Order #9 was issued.

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