(Renton, WA) The WIAA released the new State guidelines that are now being required for schools to get back to playing sports. There are several changes to the guidelines which now the Governor says are requirements yet continues to say the local schools, leagues and the WIAA have the final say. The Governor and State Health Department have literally shifted the burden to the local school districts and organizations.
Governor Inslee’s orders fit in a “kind of” policy. By shifting the final decision to the local level it is now up to each school district to either abide by the guidelines and follow them to a tee or risk liability issues that are only in Washington State. State Superintendents and school boards have to weigh the risk individually and even though schools are in a large insurance pool individuals can also be held liable if found they ignored or purposefully disregarded safety guidelines.
This puts them in a very difficult position, a lot more difficult than you will find in other states. The state legislature can help relieve some of the pressure on schools and individuals for that matter but they don’t meet until then end of January unless a special session is called. The state of California recently passed legislation to help schools get back to the classroom and to sports. Their piece significantly lessened the amount of liability a school or individual could face if they were operating in good faith to comply with all of the guidelines set forth by the state.
Below we have two interviews to help you understand the liability issues we face in this state compared to others with former State Attorney General Rob McKenna and an interveiw with the WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman and WIAA Exec Board President Tim Thomsen on the new regulations set out by the State Department of Health.
Links of note:
Interviews up first our interview with WIAA’s Mick Hoffman and Tim Thomsen followed by our interview with former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna on the liability issues in Washington state.
Rob McKenna Interview