Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak Wants Legislation To Limit School Liability For COVID-19 Deaths

A bill proposed in the Nevada State Legislature would protect schools from liability if students suffered ill effects from reopening on-campus in-person classes. The Nevada State Education Association (NSEA) is opposing this, saying that if districts don’t have liability, student safety will suffer.

steve sisolak to remove school liability for covid
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

“Back to school supplies should not include an updated will or trust. For many educators, they have become a necessity before the school year begins. That’s not the way it should be; our Legislature and school districts should be putting the safety of educators and students first,” the NSEA says in a call to action z9petition here), citing budget cuts that already make it difficult for schools to meet student and educator needs.

In a proclamation (PDF) this week, Governor Steve Sisolak brought up liability as an issue to address in a special session of the Nevada legislature. He said he was requesting legislation to protect, among other entities, elementary, middle, and high schools, from liability as long as they’re “substantially complying” with health and safety standards.

However, across the country, there has already been backlash and horror as school districts implemented liability waivers — documents parents would have to sign releasing a school system from any liability if their child contracted COVID-19 during school or sporting events.

The NSEA says that additional budget cuts and safety can’t co-exist reasonably, and that instead of focusing on protecting schools from liability, the governor and state legislature should be focusing on providing the resources to open safely. Instead of sending schools the message that they won’t be held responsible for student safety, the organization wants the state to give educators the power to protect students to the greatest possible extent, while also providing an education.

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