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Friday hearing between QPS and parents canceled

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- The preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for Friday between the parents of three Quincy Public School students and the school district over school's quarantine policy has been canceled, according to court records.

Attorney Thomas DeVore of Greenville, Illinois, who represents the parents, said after Adams County Circuit Judge Debra Wellborn granted a Temporary Restraining Order to allow the students back in class on September 2, he felt the school was abiding by the law.

DeVore said he met with the school's attorney, David Penn, and they made the decision jointly to cancel the hearing. DeVore said the court agreed.

DeVore said a status hearing is set for October 7 via Zoom, but he hopes the school will continue to abide by the law and that can be canceled as well.

DeVore had filed for the temporary restraining order and an injunction in Adams County Circuit Court on August 30 on behalf of parents Scott and Jamie Hamby, Christina Terwelp, and Travis and Ashley Oshner.

DeVore asked for "an immediate and definitive determination" because "each day the students are denied their in-person learning is irreparable and can never be recovered."

The judge agreed with Devore.

According to court documents, the Adams County Health Department issued an immediate order the week of August 30 for all three students to quarantine until Sept. 4.

QPS Superintendant Roy Webb said the school was just following those orders.

"They should stay for the distance the Adams County Health Department says is safe," he said. "That’s what we’re supposed to enforce per the Governor's Orders and per the IDPH letter."

DeVore argued successfully in court that the orders to quarantine should have expired within 48 hours, and even though none of the students were positive for COVID-19 or showed symptoms, Webb would not allow them back to class.

DeVore stated that in the case of Hamby and Oshner, the Adams County Health Department acknowledged via email that the emergency order to quarantine was only good for 48 hours.

"What we're saying that the health department itself has to participate in actually getting an order that this child is a public health risk and if they do that, that would be procedurally proper," he said.

DeVore pointed out later in the filing in all three cases, the health department chose not to seek a court order to extend the terms of the quarantine.

Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha told WGEM News that his office would only seek a court order for quarantine if a person was living in a household where someone had tested positive for COVID-19.

DeVore claimed that Quincy Public Schools has taken it upon itself to act as if the lawful quarantine still exists, and is not allowing the students to attend in-person learning, which is a violation of the Illinois State Board of Education resolution and guidance.

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