New school exclusion COVID order doesn’t change quarantine due process, attorney says

New school exclusion COVID order doesn’t change quarantine due process, attorney says

SPRINGFIELD, IL — On top of his most recent 30-day COVID-19 disaster proclamation, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued his 90th executive order, which is about who can be excluded from schools, such as those with possible exposure to COVID-19.

Pritzker on Friday reissued a majority of orders from the past 19 months. On Monday, at an unrelated event in Peoria, he said a new component in COVID-19 executive order No. 90 with definitions and policies about excluding people from schools over COVID concerns.

“Local health departments are helping to separate people, to quarantine them, to keep them from infecting other people and to give them the opportunity to test and then come back into the institution,” Pritzker said.

The order states all schools must exclude any student or school personnel who is a “confirmed case or probable case” for certain periods and lays out recommended options for testing to return.

“Schools shall Exclude any Student or School Personnel for a minimum of 10 days who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 until they are fever-free for 24 hours and until 48 hours after diarrhea or vomiting have ceased,” the order states.

Attorney Thomas DeVore, who has secured several court orders against schools for excluding students or requiring mask use without a court-ordered quarantine, said Saturday on Facebook the law is clear.

“You can’t exclude a child from school because it’s a type of quarantine without, guess what it’s called, procedural and substantive due process,” DeVore said. “It’s guaranteed to you by the United States and the Illinois Constitutions.”

He said the governor’s most recent order is “nonsense” because due process is the law of the land.

“Is he going to go back in these cases that we’ve already won now or these lawyers going to come back and say ‘oh, judge, we’ve got a new executive order,’ they’re not going to do that,” DeVore said. “That’s not going to change anything.”

DeVore said he plans more lawsuits similar to the ones last week he secured temporary restraining orders against schools in Montgomery, Effingham and Clinton counties.

Pritzker said he was aware of the recent litigation challenging schools following his orders.

“I know that there are people that are attempting to challenge these things in court. I would just say that this is a very unhelpful thing to do and it is going to make schools and health care settings less safe,” Pritzker said.

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