A private Christian school is celebrating a legal victory in Ohio, where it clashed with the county health department that was imposing mandatory closures due to COVID-19.
Monclova Christian Academy has been granted an injunction, pending appeal, by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that will allow it to resume in-person classroom instruction on campus.
"This is a great decision from the federal court of appeals,” attorney Mat Staver, who leads Liberty Counsel, says of the ruling.
The school is a ministry of Monclova Road Baptist Church, located in northern Ohio in the community of Monclova, which has a population of approximately 12,000 in Lucas County.
With a population of approximately 428,300, Lucas County has 23,959 confirmed cases and 540 deaths as of Jan. 5, according to the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department website.
In December, the county’s health department issued a resolution that closed grades 7-12 at every public, private, and parochial school, but school leaders at Monclova spoke out because office buildings, gyms, tanning salons, and even a casino remained open.
According to Staver, who read the court’s ruling, the 6th Circuit cited a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling from last November that ruled in favor of a Catholic diocese in New York City.
The federal court also noted in its ruling that Monclova Christian Academy was employing strict social distancing and hygiene standards, and there was little documentation of in-school transmission.
The court also suggested that the county resolution favored “secular facilities” over schools.