Diocese of Lansing files lawsuit against MDHHS over extension of pandemic restrictions

Posted at 10:44 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 22:44:18-05

LANSING, Mich. — Catholic schools and families in the Diocese of Lansing have filed a federal lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services over its 12-day extension of pandemic restrictions.

READ MORE: State extends COVID-19 restrictions for 12 more days

The announcement was made on the Diocese of Lansing’s Facebook page this evening.

“Today’s order confirms our fear that MDHHS will continue to make decisions about closing schools, and in our specific case Catholic schools, without regard to the obvious and proven efficacy of our local COVID-19 school safety plans nor the uniqueness of our mission-based schools which are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution," says Superintendent Tom Maloney.

“The fact is, our high schools’ COVID-19 safety plans […] are working well at protecting both our school communities and the community at large, while also ensuring that our young people can receive the in-person education and formation that is so irreplaceable to their spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and social development,” Maloney adds.

Lansing Catholic High School and Father Gabriel Richard Hugh School have both joined the Michigan Association of Nonpublic Schools the suit against Director Robert Gordon of the MDHHS, the post reads.

The diocese says there were only 15 cases of positive COVID tests at Lansing Catholic across three months of in-person instruction, all of which are thought to have been contracted off-campus.

“The truth is that teachers and parents are becoming increasingly concerned by the damage that is being done to our children’s educational, emotional and mental well-being by not being in-person at school,” says Father Gabriel Richard High School President John DeJak.

“And yet, to date, the state has still not explained why they have closed our high schools while allowing retail, fitness centers, tattoo parlors, hair salons, and other secular businesses to remain open,” DeJak adds.

READ MORE: Michigan leaders, organizations react to partial COVID-19 shutdown extension
READ MORE: West Michigan businesses not surprised by extension of partial shutdown