COVID-19 coverage for Arizona schools

Insurer reverses course, will provide COVID-19 coverage for Arizona schools

(Hannah Watters via AP)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest insurer for schools reversed course Tuesday, saying it would provide liability coverage for claims related to COVID-19.

The Arizona School Risk Retention Trust, also known as the Trust, approved a plan to add the coverage for an additional contribution or premium that will vary depending on district size.

Initially, the Trust said it would not provide coverage to members for claims or lawsuits that allege a school district is liable for injuries or damages caused by COVID-19.

That decision left districts worried about potential lawsuits and resulting costs.

Among the preconditions of the coverage are the implementation of a reopening plan that follows state guidelines for the return to in-person instruction and a district requirement to ask parents and guardians to sign a liability waiver.

Parents or guardians aren’t required to sign the form, however.

The Trust said the form is meant to inform parents of the risks of in-person instruction during the pandemic, how they can limit children from potential exposure while in school and to limit districts’ unfunded district liabilities for COVID-19 exposures.

The new coverage is in addition to coverage for cleaning and disinfecting a school if a COVID-19 outbreak were to occur. The Trust will also provide workers’ compensation to staff members who prove they contracted the coronavirus at school.

The Trust provides insurance coverage to nearly 250 school districts and community colleges in Arizona, operating as a risk retention pool funded and governed by its members, and is backed by reinsurance companies.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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