Archdiocese Of Chicago Asks Parents To Sign COVID-19 Waiver Ahead Of School Year To Prevent Lawsuits

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Catholic schools in the Chicago area are having in-person learning to start the new academic year, but there's a twist.

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago are opening for the new academic year over the next couple of weeks to in-person learning. Parents do have the option to choose e-learning; but for those whose students will be in the classroom, parents are being asked to sign a waiver before sending their child to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Archdiocese of Chicago wants parents to sign an "acknowledgement form" that includes a waiver that gives up the parents’ rights to sue the school or the archdiocese should their child contract the coronavirus.

The form asks parents to sign with the understanding of the COVID-19 protocols the schools are putting into place and to promise to follow the COVID-19 protocols, but also understand that "there was no foolproof measure to prevent the introduction of the virus in our school environment."

The Archdiocese said it chose to include the waiver "as a way to impress upon parents the importance of our partnership in implementing these protocols to limiting the introduction and spread of disease in our school communities."

The archdiocese said in a statement that principals have been told that if parents do not want to sign the legal waiver part of the form, they don’t have to, and their children may still attend school in-person, "provided they accepted the protocols and assumption of risk. Our schools will work with our families."

There are about 70,000 students who attend the archdiocese’s 199 schools.

The Archdiocese said they plan to offer both five-day, in-person learning, as well as remote e-learning for those unable or whose parents are unwilling to have their children return to classrooms.