/ Modified aug 14, 2020 5:06 p.m.

Are schools liable in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak?

UA law professor Tara Sklar explains how vulnerable schools could be to legal challenges.

As schools look to mitigate the risks of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus, they find themselves in similar positions as businesses regarding whether their actions could result in a lawsuit. For clarification we turned to Tara Sklar, an expert in health law and policy at the University of Arizona College of Law.

“As long as schools are taking all reasonable care to follow the guidance that’s been given to them, by their school districts and county health departments or state, they are protecting themselves against liability,” Sklar said. “They’re showing they’re taking reasonable efforts to make sure that their staff and their students are safe.”

Sklar explained that schools can look to how assisted living facilities handled the pandemic to determine best practices or avoid any missteps.

“There are ways to safely reopen but it involves disciplined communal effort, transparency with the data, ongoing communication. It is not something that we can just have wishful thinking and we can magically reopen. It is an ongoing effort,” Sklar said.

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