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School closures no longer up to health department

On Friday, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court made a decision that could impact future health emergencies. The Associated Press reports that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in a 4 to 3 vote that decisions to close schools due to emergencies similar to the coronavirus pandemic will no longer come from local health departments. The vote also pairs with the ruling that a shutdown of private schools in Madison and Dane County by their local departments overstepped religious rights. This is another order that was challenged in the courts and was rescinded or deemed unconstitutional, joining indoor capacity limits and mask mandates. 

 

The four votes in favor of stripping local departments' ability to close schools came from Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, Justice Patience Roggensack, and Justice Brian Hagedorn. The dissenting votes came from Jill Karofsky, Ann Walsh Bradley, and Rebecca Dallet. More information on Friday’s Supreme Court opinions can be found here.

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