Rock County courts will resume a limited number of in-person court appearances starting March 1.
The courts have been holding nearly all hearings online since last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anyone appearing for in-person court proceedings must wear a mask and review health self-screening questions posted at the entrance to the Janesville courthouse, according to a news release from the county’s judges.
The judges have determined that safety benchmarks they set for limited in-person hearings, including a drop in the test positivity rate for the virus, have been met, according to the release.
This decision moves Rock County courts into Phase 2 of the court’s COVID-19 plan, in which most court appearances will continue remotely by Zoom videoconference. Public access to these hearings remains available through livestreaming at wicourts.gov/courts /livestream.htm.
Parties, attorneys and other participants should continue to appear at hearings by Zoom videoconferencing unless the court notifies them to appear in person.
Judges and court commissioners may approve requests for in-person appearance on a case-by-case basis. Some hearings might take place with some participants appearing in person and others appearing through Zoom videoconferencing.
The judges announced previously that jury trials would resume March 15.
Public access to jury trials will be permitted on a first-come, first-seated basis consistent with physical distancing requirements and capacity of each courtroom. Jury trials will not be livestreamed.
Seating for certain interested parties such as victims, family and the press will be reserved in each case.