Paul L. Caron
Dean



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame Bail On In-Person Classes

Inside Higher Ed, Higher Ed's Moment of Truth:

“It’s a shitshow in the making,” said A. David Paltiel, a professor of public health at Yale University.

Jeff Hirsch (North Carolina), A View From Chapel Hill:

Despite the law school being in good shape and the university allowing us to stay open, our Dean decided to go all remote yesterday. While I was personally bummed about this--I really liked being able to see my students in person--I think it was the right call.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/08/michigan-state-north-carolina-notre-dame-bail-on-in-person-classes.html

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Comments

MAYBE IT'S THE RIGHT CALL

New studies, which show that many if not most patients who are not killed by COVID-19 nevertheless suffer lasting illnesses and other disabilities, indicate that universities which had students return to campus may face law suits for huge amounts of damages.

Many universities which decided to accept the risk of holding in-person classes this fall, and to have students return to crowded dormitories, fraternities, and sororities, may have assumed that the additional income from not having to discount tuition for on-line instruction, or from losing students who might opt out of on-line instruction - as well as money from dormitory rents, dining, and other campus fees - would more than cover any wrongful death actions because only a tiny percentage of students die as a result of exposure in what some have called a petri dish of infection and contagion second only to cruise ships.

But, as the Washington Post just reported, new medical studies could “utterly change the way we think about covid-19: not as a disease that kills a tiny percentage of patients, mostly the elderly or the obese, the hypertensive or diabetic, but one that attacks the heart in most of the people who get it, even if they don’t feel very sick. And maybe their lungs, kidneys or brains, too.”

Indeed, new medical studies suggest that, although the great majority of non-elderly adults who get COVID-19 do not die, many if not most do suffer lasting and often disabling injuries to their health.

Recent developments where several university had to retreat from a fall in-person beginning, the growing percentage of COVID-19 sufferers who are young and otherwise healthy, and the recognition that many if not most who survive will suffer from permanent and expensive medical problems, including disabling ones, suggests that perhaps more colleges should ask returning students to sign a document acknowledging the unavoidable risk of infection, and waiving any liability on behalf of the institution of higher education.

Posted by: LawProf John Banzhaf | Aug 19, 2020 1:16:33 PM