Justice Department backs private schools in virus challenge

Michigan

A U.S. Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it’s on the side of Michigan faith-based schools that are challenging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ban on in-person classes in high schools.

The Civil Rights Division filed an argument in favor of three Catholic high schools and the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools. A federal judge in Kalamazoo will hear arguments Monday.

The government says schools and families have a constitutional right to practice their religion through in-person instruction.

A ban on in-person classes at high schools and colleges has been extended through Dec. 20.

Indoor restaurant dining is also prohibited, and other business restrictions are in place.

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