Take Action: Please urge your legislator to take action on liability now so that Oregon schools can reopen this fall. It’s urgent and important for the future of our students.
Schools across Oregon are working hard to reopen their doors for the new school year this fall. But the legal risks of COVID-19 spreading among students and staff present a fundamental threat to school finances and could block many districts from letting kids return to class. That’s why the Oregon Legislature must take action to limit schools’ liability for COVID-19.
Why Liability Matters to Oregon Schools
Oregon schools have been working tirelessly to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic and minimize disruptions to our children’s education. Now that summer is here, districts across the state are working on preparations to reopen schools this fall. But the risk of COVID-19 could stop all that work in its tracks.
It has been determined that the schools' liability insurance policies, for the most part, do not offer coverage for the risk of unintentional spread of COVID-19. This means one lawsuit could sink a district’s finances, along with its ability to serve Oregon students. CampusSafetyMagazine.com recently noted that “nearly all school (districts’) liability insurance coverage specifically excludes claims related to viral infection or transmission”:
An issue that has been noticeably absent in the re-opening discussion is the liability exposure that schools are certain to face. The record following other disasters, the litigious nature of our society and the human need to assign blame when faced with an adverse outcome all but guarantees that litigation will follow. [CampusSafetyMagazine.com, May 27, 2020]
Why the Oregon Legislature Must Take Action Now
Oregon schools will not be able to reopen this fall unless the state acts to limit their liability. Schools that are complying with state and federal COVID-19 guidelines deserve temporary liability protections until this crisis passes. A smart, balanced approach will still ensure accountability for reckless or intentional misconduct while protecting schools so they can move forward with reopening in the fall.
Use the form below to easily contact your legislator today!