Are institutions legally responsible for student and faculty COVID deaths?

Can we mourn our student and faculty coronavirus victims without being culpable?

Reported by Education Dive, a recent announcement about a student death at Appalachian State University brought up this ethical question when the university’s death announcement included facts about the student’s off-campus residence and their only-online course enrollments. This left those in the campus community seeing the announcement also as the institution’s legal defense at the same time.

The takeaway? Could institutions become even somewhat legally responsible for student and faculty COVID deaths? With many institutions believing they have both an academic and financial responsibility to open up campus, but then trying to avoid any culpability for the health and wellness realities of those same decisions, institutions run a serious risk of trust erosion with their community.

May you continue to fight the good enrollment growth fight at your institution today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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Eric Olsen

Eric brings more than a decade of award-winning creative brand development, marketing analytics and higher education experience to Helix Education. Eric is a graduate of Bradley University and earned his MBA at Lewis University.