Is the school liable if your children contract COVID-19?

| Jan 15, 2021 | Premises Liability |

Chicago is beginning to send kids back to the classroom despite ongoing COVID-19 complications. If your child gets sick when going to school, can you hold the education system accountable?

Families face the first steps in returning to in-person learning after schools spent $8.5 million outfitting classrooms for the pandemic. But even with new air filters, masks and other equipment, you may wonder if it’s enough to protect your family.

Unhealthy expectations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health have created outlines for how schools can welcome back students. Those that stray from the plan could open themselves up to liability, but knowing exactly when they cross the line can be hard to discern.

The call will likely depend on where institutions stepped away from the path and the details of their decisions. It may then fall on your shoulders to show that a school meets the standards for liability. And those standards can be lofty. Protections in place under the Local Government Employees Tort Immunity Act set strong buffers for public entities.

Ill-conceived education

But those shelters don’t mean Illinois schools are untouchable. There some severe circumstances that could mean trouble if a child contracts the virus:

  • Intentional actions that will endanger students
  • Indifferent conduct in the face of the pandemic
  • Awareness of decisions that put children in harm’s way

It can be difficult to know when these scenarios come into play, especially with the protections that extend to schools. As children slowly return to in-person learning, it will be important to understand exactly what the plan is and where things may start to get dangerous.