The Des Moines public school system is fighting a state mandate to reopen its school buildings.

The Des Moines Public Schools system sued Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and other state officials in late August after Reynolds mandated that nearly all schools in the state reopen. Des Moines school officials believe it is still not safe to send children and teachers back to classrooms, pointing to the state’s surge in coronavirus cases.

“No circumstances in our lifetimes have had a greater impact on the ability of school districts to operate safely than the COVID-19 global health pandemic,” school officials wrote in the lawsuit. “This is literally a matter of life and death.”

Tuesday, the judge denied the school district’s request to suspend the mandate while the legal challenge makes its way through the courts. The ruling means that if the school system does not offer face-to-face instruction to all students, it could be in violation of state law.

Schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart said Tuesday in a statement

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