JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The fight over face masks in schools in Jefferson County has moved to court. Jefferson County Public Health has filed a lawsuit against three schools after it determined they violated a COVID-19 public health order and will not follow mask mandates.

(credit: CBS)

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The county currently requires masks indoors at all schools and child care facilities. The schools in question are Beth Eden Baptist School, Augustine Classical Academy and Faith Christian Academy.

The lawsuit claims the schools prevented health inspectors from going into school buildings to investigate.

On Tuesday, the health department went to court seeking an injunction. JCPH says COVID-19 cases for school-aged children are more than six times the case numbers a year ago.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Jefferson County Courthouse, some carrying American flags and others with signs that read “Freedom Not Force” and “JCPH Uses Kids As Political Pawns.”

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(credit: CBS)

Jefferson County Public Health released this statement to CBS4 on Monday: After extensive effort to provide education and support to ensure compliance with PHO 21-002, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has taken legal action against three schools (Faith Christian Academy, Augustine Classical Academy and Beth Eden Baptist School) to ensure compliance with the Order. Non-compliance places students, teachers, staff, and their families at increased risk of COVID-19 and also jeopardizes continued in-person learning.

Our approach to all Public Health Orders, including PHO 21-002, is to provide education and support to obtain voluntary compliance, and to only pursue legal options when all other options to ensure compliance are exhausted. We cannot comment further as this litigation is pending.

RELATED: Protest Over Masks In Schools Forced Jefferson County Public Health To Shut Down

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Jennifer McRae