Appeals court sides with governor on keeping private schools closed

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CINCINNATI (WDKY) – The U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Sunday struck down a temporary restraining order that would have allowed religious and private schools to re-open for in-person education on Monday.

An executive order was signed by Beshear requiring all schools to halt in-person classes in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 within Kentucky, starting November 23. Elementary schools can reopen after December 7 if their county is not in the state’s “red zone,” middle and high schools cannot reopen before January 4.

Following the executive order, a lawsuit was filed on November 20 by Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Danville Christian Academy. In the lawsuit, a temporary restraining order was asked to be put in place against the order for religious and private schools.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled Wednesday the order stands for public schools nationwide, but that religious and private schools were exempt from that order.

In their ruling Sunday morning, a three-judge panel in Cincinnati ruled that the executive order is broadly applicable and does not discriminate against a certain group.

They also say they are “not in a position to second-guess the Governor’s determination regarding the health and safety of the Commonwealth at this point in time.”

In a tweet, Gov. Beshear wrote “While we all want to get our kids back to in-person instruction, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recognized that doing so now would endanger the health and lives of Kentucky children, educators and families.”

Attorney General Cameron wrote on Twitter “We’re disappointed with the Sixth Circuit’s ruling allowing the Governor to close religious schools, but we’re already hard at work to take this matter to the United States Supreme Court.”

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