Shortly after normal office hours on Friday (08-21-2020) Madison/Dane County Public Health issued an order closing down in-school education for students above second grade at private schools for the upcoming school year — matching the voluntary stance taken by area public schools.
“This is clearly about making sure private schools aren’t allowed to show up the [unionized] MTI teachers in the public schools,” one of the attorneys, Andy Cook, told the Werkes.
In response, the Catholic Diocese of Madison plans to file lawsuit this week contesting the coronavirus pandemic order. Many Catholic schools had been scheduled to open today (Monday 08-24-2020). Fourteen diocesan Catholic schools are located in Dane County; another 20 outside the county in southwest Wisconsin.
“As expected, Dane County Public Health [was] less focused on actual health and science and more so on social justice,” attorney Cook told the Werkes. “They pulled the rug out from beneath the private schools after hours on a Friday night.”
The diocese says it has taken steps to assure safety of staff and students amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to one source, the diocese will hire the same law firm that turned back Public Health’s limit on attendance at Holy Mass. That would be Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, a law firm that earlier this year helped the Diocese of Madison defeat attempts to place strict limits on Mass attendance due to COVID-19. The diocese scheduled a Rosary prayer rally for 3 p.m. today on the State Street steps of the Wisconsin Capitol.
“We are extraordinarily disappointed at this order and its timing. You have told us of your sadness, your anger and your children’s grief as they burst into tears when you told them of the county’s decision.” — Bishop Donald J. Hying and Michael J. Lancaster, superintendent of diocesan Catholic schools. in a letter to parents.
In June 3, the Madison Catholic Diocese protesting the limits on Mass attendance and threatened litigation; less than 48 hours Madison/Dane County Public Health backed off.
The importance of reopening America’s schools this fall
The best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms. Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults. At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant. — U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention