The Douglas County Health Board on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to revise a public health order allowing exemptions from face coverings, confirming that the order does not apply to the Douglas County school district. .
The county health department’s masks and quarantine order is currently blocked by a federal judge after the Douglas County School District filed a lawsuit on October 20 against the county health department along with parents of nine disabled students.
“The amended order preserves most of the original public health order—with the exception that the Board of Health cannot enforce a public health order against the Douglas County school district, so it does not apply to schools or other educational facilities that are owned, operated, or controlled by the Douglas County School District,” the health board said in a statement Friday.
The amendment approved Friday by US District Judge John L. Kane, who on October 26 issued a temporary restraining order against the Board of Health. Kane saw the Douglas County public health order as a violation of the American Disabilities Order. Work.
“I think the risk of irreparable harm to plaintiffs is significant and they have sufficiently demonstrated that the public health order deprives student plaintiffs of reasonable accommodation in the form of science-backed masking and quarantine requirements,” he said from the restraining order. read.
The Douglas County Health Department order also does not, in most cases, allow a person in the county to quarantine because of a “real, suspected or potential risk related to COVID-19 if the person is asymptomatic.”
A hearing is scheduled for Monday in federal court before Kane.
“We have amended our order to reflect what the judge has already ruled and removed this order from applying to the Douglas County school district,” the health board said in a statement. “We believe this is the most prudent decision at this time because it would: 1) stop the clock on potential litigation costs associated with defending the order; 2) allow the new school board to come into office with maximum flexibility as they Let us proceed to provide reasonable protections under state and federal law for all students and all teachers.
A newly elected school board is less than three weeks away from taking over the 64,000-student Douglas County School District. The November 2 election was won by a slate of four Conservative candidates who oppose the masked mandate, and would have a majority on the seven-member board.
On October 8, the newly formed DCHD, in its first public order, declared that students, teachers and staff members of the 64,000-student Douglas County School District would not wear face masks.
DCHD was formed after splitting from the Tri-County Department of Health, of which it had been a member since 1966. The tri-county implemented a mask mandate for all students in Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties on September 1.
“The Board of Health looks forward to meeting with the newly formed Board of Education to discuss the best way forward and then move forward as a unified county,” the health board said on Friday.