Today's Law As Amended


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AB-1384 Local educational agencies: liability for COVID-19-related injuries.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) All of California’s public school pupils deserve and need safe and supportive school environments in which to learn.
(b) The COVID-19 pandemic has required significant changes impacting public schools throughout the state and nationwide, including the temporary closings of school facilities to limit contact and achieve social distancing.
(c) Because of the uncertainty and fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic and response thereto, federal, state, county, and local regulations and orders and public health guidelines have changed and developed over time.
(d) Creating safe learning environments in a manner that gives due consideration to current COVID-19 regulations, orders, and guidelines is critical for the state and its residents.
(e) Subjecting public schools to costly litigation and liability exposure by reopening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic would divert scarce public resources from providing pupils with educational instruction, meals, and other essential resources.

SEC. 2.

 Article 3 (commencing with Section 32315) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 19 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, to read:

Article  3. Liability for COVID-19-Related Injuries
32315.
 (a) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “COVID-19 pandemic” refers to the time period during which a state or local declaration of emergency exists related to the outbreak and spread of the illness commonly referred to as COVID-19.
(2) “Local educational agency” means a school district, a county office of education, a joint powers authority consisting entirely of school districts and county offices of education, a charter school, the California Schools for the Deaf, or the California School for the Blind.
(b) (1) During the COVID-19 pandemic, a governing board of a local educational agency, or its designee, shall establish health and safety policies and procedures for operating programs and facilities in a manner consistent with applicable federal, state, and local requirements and COVID-19-related guidelines published by the State Department of Public Health.
(2) The governing board of a local educational agency, or its designee, shall ensure that reasonable efforts are undertaken to implement the policies and procedures referenced in paragraph (1) and to update them as needed.
(c) (1) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damage shall arise against, a local educational agency, or its officers or employees, that meets the requirements of subdivision (b) for injury relating to COVID-19 infection, transmission, or the policies and procedures established pursuant to subdivision (b), including, but not limited to, claims for injury or death, notwithstanding any law that might impose that liability, including, but not limited to, any provision contained in Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code, and Section 1708 of, and subdivision (a) of Section 1714 of, the Civil Code.
(2) This subdivision shall apply to a cause of action for injury alleged to have been sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(3) This subdivision shall not apply to employee claims for injuries sustained in the course and scope of employment pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) of the Labor Code.
(4) Except as otherwise expressly stated in this subdivision, this subdivision shall not apply to a local educational agency’s existing statutory duties to employees with respect to workplace protections, including, but not limited to, the Educational Employment Relations Act (Chapter 10.7 (commencing with Section 3540) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code), workplace safety, disability and family leave, or employment discrimination.
(5) This subdivision shall not apply to claims for money or damages for gross negligence or for reckless, intentional, or willful and wanton misconduct, to the extent that those claims are permitted under the law existing at the time the claim is made.
(6) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the scope of immunities available under any other law.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.