FREMONT – Steuben Circuit Court Judge Allen N. Wheat has said it will take seven to ten days before he makes his decision whether or not to dismiss the civil action that Fremont Community Schools parent Andrew Lies , filed against the district on behalf of her daughter in October 2021. the school’s perceived COVID-19 policies.
Without legal representation, Lies defended his claims against the district, alleging he violated Indiana quarantine laws and the vaccine passport law, passed in 2021.
“I don’t dispute that the school has the power to quarantine,” Lies told Justice Wheat. âBut, they have to go about it a certain way. They should follow the procedure.
In her complaint against the district, Lies, citing the Indiana Chapter 9 quarantine code, asserted that “a student can be quarantined but it must be done by a public health official and an order from the court”.
Mark Scudder, an attorney for Barnes and Thornburg, Fort Wayne, took the lead at Friday’s district attorney’s hearing.
“All COVID-related quarantine policies enforced by defendants or otherwise reflected in school policies fall within the scope of a Chapter 2 quarantine, not a Chapter 9 quarantine,” a Scudder argues.
Scudder said under Chapter 2 of the Quarantine Act, the Indiana Department of Health must establish procedures to prevent communicable diseases and publish a list of disease control measures and conditions. associated with diseases.
âYour honor, that’s exactly what the Indiana Department of Health did,â Scudder said.
Fremont Community Schools Superintendent Bill Stitt, along with superintendents statewide, received a letter from the Indiana Department of Health on October 26, a day before Lies filed a complaint, to clarify concerns. COVID-19 requirements for schools.
The letter, signed by state health commissioner Dr Kristina Box, told Stitt that schools must comply with specified interventions or controls that “schools in Indiana are legally required to comply with. comply with COVID-19 control measures, including quarantine requirements for students â.
District attorneys used Box’s letter as an exhibit, along with a brief to support their claims, when they filed the motion to dismiss Lies’ lawsuit.
In his letter, Box wrote that these control measures include “reporting cases, tracing contacts, isolating positive cases and quarantining close contacts if necessary.” (Indiana law) legally requires local health departments to institute controls in their jurisdiction, which means they are required to ensure that schools in their jurisdiction comply with the controls. “
Referring to an alleged violation by the district against the vaccine passport law, Lies said in his complaint that “FCS assumed that people who received the COVID-19 vaccine are immune.”
In court, Lies told Wheat the district “never asked me for immunization status.”
In its plan to reopen 2021-22, Fremont’s close contact and quarantine procedures state that if a person was “within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more” , steps to take include staying home for “10 days after your last contact.”
According to her complaint, Lies met with Stitt on September 21 to discuss the 10-day quarantine of her minor child that had started the day before. Lies said Stitt told her that “her child was in fact quarantined on the basis of a seating chart”. Lies said a Fremont police officer, also present at the meeting, told him “they would enforce quarantine if the Lies … attend school.”
Lies said after her minor child was dropped off at school as usual, they were “allowed to go to school but were then escorted by police from Fremont to the office.”