Appellate Court Rules on COVID-19 Mitigation TRO
Just before midnight yesterday, the Appellate Court issued its decision on the appeal of the February 4, 2022 TRO enjoining the Governor from enforcing certain COVID-19 mitigation measures including universal masking. With one Judge dissenting, the Appellate Court dismissed the appeal as moot against the state defendants based on JCAR’s refusal to extend IDPH Emergency Rules regarding masking, exclusion, and vaccine and testing requirements in schools. Because the emergency rules are no longer in effect, the circuit court judge’s decision finding the rules null and void is moot.
Importantly, the Appellate Court decision affirmed that the TRO does not prohibit school districts from enforcing COVID-19 mitigation measures. The Court said the following about local school authority: “We note the language of the TRO in no way restrains school districts from acting independently from the executive orders or the IDPH in creating provisions addressing COVID-19. Thus, it does not appear the school districts are temporarily restrained from acting by the court’s TRO.”
As districts assess the impact of this decision on their COVID-19 mitigation measures, several factors should be considered including current mitigation measures, board of education action on the related issues, whether the action was dependent on the Executive Order, and the basis of any decision to modify existing COVID-19 protocols, among others.
We have a team of attorneys available to assist school districts and provide targeted advice for your situation. Please reach out directly to your Franczek contact or the authors of this post.