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Lawyer warns of legal ramifications of students returning to classrooms

FILE PHOTO. An empty stairwell at a Calgary high school with signs dictating one-way traffic to help limit contact between students.. (PHOTO: Jo Horwood, CityNews)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – There are growing concerns over whether or not the government is doing enough to keep students safe and who’s responsible if the virus is spread in classrooms.

Lawyer Avnish Nanda said the constitution makes it clear governments must be responsible for ensuring children have a safe education space.

“I’m kind of concerned that we’re walking into a huge problem,” said Nanda.

“If I was the government, I’d be extremely concerned from a legal standpoint.”

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He added if students are told to go back to a school that might not be able to accommodate health protocols, lawsuits might occur.

“I hope this doesn’t happen, but if there is an outbreak, certainly there will be lawsuits on whether it was wise to allow kids to go back.”

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He explained if the virus were to spread in schools, almost everyone could be held liable.

“It’s not going to be an issue for just the government and school boards. It can be parents, it can be kids, it can be staff, it can be teachers. We’re walking into something that could be a huge mess.”

“For instance, if you’re a parent and you have three kids going to school and one of those kids has symptoms and you have that kid stay home, but the rest of your kids go to school, maybe they are asymptomatic and they spread the virus and then you could be sued.”

He said everyone is sending mixed messaged and could lead to a mess he hopes to avoid.

“You have the government saying everything is fine, you have school boards saying they need more money and resources to ensure everything is safe, and you have teachers saying that we don’t feel safe or comfortable coming back into the classroom.”