By Bria Brown

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of local health officials in western Michigan in a dispute with a school over masks and a coronavirus infection.

Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville sued to stop the Ottawa County health department from closing the school. But U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney declined to upset the agency’s orders.

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The health department said Libertas refused to make masks mandatory and had failed to supply information about a virus case involving a teacher.

“The county established a compelling interest for the names and contact information requested in the cease-and-desist orders. … The county has established that such measures are a necessary tool to slow the spread of the virus,” Maloney said.

The judge, however, declined to rule on the school’s challenge to the mask order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. Maloney said state courts can consider it.

The health department said Libertas can reopen Friday for in-person learning if students wear masks.

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“This is the same mandate being enforced by all other Ottawa County schools,” the department said.

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