Attorney says COVID may cause school districts to add rider to liability insurance

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ST. LOUIS – The school year is about to start and some predict trial attorneys are ready to pounce.

There could be all kinds of COVID-related lawsuits at these public institutions.

Fox 2 legal analyst attorney Chet Pleban explained out on the Lakeside Renovation and Design Weather Deck.

Pleban said all school districts have liability insurance, but he said most of those policies exclude communicable diseases. COVID is a communicable disease. Pleban said a rider will probably have to be added to the policies which will increase premiums and cause a deductible to be added.

Pleban expects school districts to do this individually and then the state will come in and react.

He said the biggest legal question being asked as kids return to the classroom is, “What’s the standard of care?” Then school districts have to worry about the repercussions of putting a mask mandate in place in order to curb the spread of COVID.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said if schools put a mask mandate in place, the state will then take away the school’s funding. DeSantis also said if superintendents decide to move forward with a mask mandate, their salaries will then be taken away.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson recently signed an immunity bill for businesses that states if a person goes into a business and then contracts COVID, that business would be immune from ordinary negligence liability. Pleban said a shopper who experienced this, would have to prove that the business acted recklessly or they acted willfully. That bill goes into effect on August 28.

When it comes to people making fake vaccination cards, Pleban believes the penalties for having one of those are enforcable. He said it’s similar to underage people having a fake ID in order to drink alcohol.

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