While we were sure that education would change forever as a result of COVID-19, colleges are now taking a drastic step. Students who wish to return to campus this fall will be asked to sign a form, releasing the college from all liability if the student contracts the disease.
While other safety precautions such as wearing masks are also being enforced, higher education facilities have made use of waivers and risk acknowledgment forms. The back-to-school packets have taken a moe ghastly turn for the upcoming school year.
Higher education officials insist that these precautions are necessary to ensure that everyone understands the risk of coming back to campus. While safety measures will be taken, it is important to grasp that the threat of COVID-19 is always hovering nearby.
However, some may argue that these precautions are not solely for the safety of students, but to protect the colleges in the case of mishaps.
A law professor at Georgetown University Law Center argues that universities are trying to relieve themselves of responsibility for their students. Heidi Li Feldman has advised her students not to sign any documents that remove the college from all liability. The high education facilities have given these documents and made it more difficult to win in any lawsuit battles.
It is important to completely read the document before signing it as most waivers or agreements are not obvious in what rights are being withheld. While some colleges may be relieving themselves of responsibility, a majority claim that they are solely giving acknowledgment forms.
One thing that students may find particularly frustrating is that without signing the waivers and other forms, they will not be allowed to return to campus. This makes returning particularly difficult for students who do not sign the liability waivers.
The forms have made students aware of any risks associated with returning to campus and even influenced some to not return at all. However, colleges claim that most students have agreed to sign the forms and return.
Not only students but staff are being required to sign the forms as well. Not doing so could result in a suspension or loss of their jobs. As both staff and students continue to protest these forms across the nation, the choice of returning to college is still ultimately up to the students.