Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks Racine order that would close schools over the holidays

Posted at 8:00 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 21:07:28-05

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the City of Racine Health Department from ordering that all school buildings closeover the holidays.

The temporary injunction from the state's highest court blocks the order just days before it was to go into effect, this Friday.

On Nov. 12, the City of Racine Health Department orderedall K-12 school buildings close from Nov. 27 through Jan. 15. The order also suggested schools switch to virtual learning during that period.

Dottie-Kay Bowersox, the City of Racine Public Health Administrator, argued that COVID-19 cases were already swelling, and data suggested the spread would get much worse during and right after the holidays.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, representing a number of private schools, local groups and parents, went after the Nov. 12 order by filing a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In its order Wednesday, the Supreme Court decided to put the Racine case on hold, until a decision is made in a similar case filed in Dane County.

In her dissent, Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Frank Dallet said that the City of Racine case did not go through the circuit court, as is routine, but instead jumped to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the City of Racine also issued a stricter all-encompassing COVID-19 order, anticipating an even greater swell of coronavirus cases over the holidays. The 'Safer Racine' order put a 25 percent capacity cap on bars and restaurants, a 50 percent cap on retail businesses, and a 50-person cap on special events like worship and mass gatherings, with some exceptions. That order was an extension of the COVID-19 order approved by the Racine Common Council last summer.

Click hereto read the health department's order regarding school closures.

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