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Arizona schools demand parents fill out COVID-19 waiver to avoid lawsuits, prompting warnings and anger


Is this the new normal?

Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Arizona schools are issuing coronavirus waivers to district parents in order to avoid potential COVID-19-related lawsuits, according to Newsweek.

What are the details?

The Arizona School Risk Retention Trust provided districts across the state with the coronavirus liability waivers in order to absolve schools from any blame in infection.

As pointed out by the outlet, the waiver appeared on the Queen Creek Unified School District website on Monday.

A portion of the document states, "Although Queen Creek Unified School District is taking many steps to protect your child from the spread of COVID-19 as outlined on our website and communications provided to you, it is impossible to reduce the risk to zero."

"By signing the waiver," the document continues, "you're agreeing not to make a legal claim against the district if your child gets sick. It's another way of acknowledging that no matter how hard we try, we cannot control every environmental variable."

The waiver also tells parents that they are not to send children to school if they have any applicable symptoms related to the deadly virus.

The letter adds, "Our hope is that, if everyone does their part, we can avoid unnecessary risks at school."

In the unique environment of the pandemic, Queen Creek Unified School District parents can opt their children out of face-to-face schooling and can, instead, utilize the district's virtual learning portal for credit.

A caution to take the waiver seriously

Mark Linder, a former school board member, told KNXV-TV that he's not sure all parents are seeing the waiver for what it really is.

"It releases the district of any and all liability if your child gets sick in school," he explained. "I think a lot of parents are just clicking through and approving it, without actually reading what it is."

The station also reported that 249 of the 256 traditional school districts across the state were "provided a standard waiver by Arizona School Risk Retention Trust."

One district parent and teacher — who wished to remain anonymous — told KNXV that they were "enraged" that the district did not let the parents or employees know such a move was coming.

"When I logged into ParentVUE [portal] and saw the waiver, my first gut reaction was I was enraged," the parent and teacher said. "It wasn't communicated. It was just, 'Hey here's two waivers you need to sign.'"

The Trust told the station on Tuesday that it also developed a "coverage option" that would make the "optional waiver" obsolete.

The board is set to vote on the matter during the Aug. 4 meeting.

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