As the first local school reports multiple staff test positive for COVID-19, other school districts have either implemented a COVID-19 waiver or are considering their options.
Heath Elementary School was prepared to welcome students back to the classroom Tuesday, September 2. Due to the number of positive cases of staff members prior to in-person instruction, preschoolers through fifth grade will continue with online instruction until September 15. McCracken County Schools Superintendent Steven Carter sent out a letter to the Health Elementary School Families on Friday, August 28 sharing the change of plans.
The Marshall County School District is requiring students or legal guardians to sign a waiver that relinquishes the right to sue the district, the board or it’s employees, and any affiliates should a child contract COVID-19. The document states, ‘regardless of the actions, omissions, or negligence of the Released Parties,’ all parties are protected.
Other school districts are exploring legal options that would limit the school’s responsibility should a student become ill. Paducah City Schools indicated they’re exploring options as well as the McCracken County School District.
The Marshall schools’ waiver points out the potential dangers associated with contracting the virus. "It’s extremely contagious and dangerous and can result in a range of symptoms which include, but are not limited to, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, and nausea or vomiting. These symptoms can be mild or severe, sometimes resulting in death."
The waiver continues to explain the protocols put in place to keep students safe but clearly states words to the effect ‘enter at your own risk.’ Parents and students have an option to continue with virtual learning and if there’s any doubt about returning to campus, NIT is the best alternative.
Earlier this month, Governor Andy Beshear recommended schools wait until September 28 to resume in-person instruction. However, many parents and their communities wanted their children back in the classroom.
Several local attorneys have stated that this type of document wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. Regardless, Marshall County Schools were prompted by insurance carriers and their attorneys to construct the waiver and obtain parent signatures.
The letter to Health Families and the Marshall County School District waiver are both included in this article.