From The Tampa Bay Times:
As students prepare to return to classes, the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg stands ready to greet them at its schoolhouse doors.
“We’re going to do everything we can to keep the children safe when they come to school,” said Chris Pastura, superintendent of schools for the diocese.
But the system cannot make blanket guarantees that everyone will be protected from the effects of COVID-19, Pastura acknowledged. So on Monday, it sent a letter to the parents of its nearly 13,000 students asking, among other things, that they sign a waiver of liability for the diocese if their children become ill — or worse — because of the virus.
At least one mom was outraged by what she called the “death release.”
“As Catholics, we are taught to respect life,” said Lucy Ramon, who has a sixth-grader at Cathedral School of St. Jude in St. Petersburg. “However, the diocese is not respecting our own children’s lives by forcing us to give up their rights and expectation to be safe at school.”
She had concerns about the system’s cleaning protocols and social distancing procedures, and worried that masks will be ineffective if children still have recess, physical education and sports without them.
“How can we trust that our kids’ safety is actually being taken seriously when the school allows such risky behavior AND tells us that if our child gets sick, it’s not their fault?” Ramon said via email. “I just cannot accept that.”
She expected the waiver would upset more families as they read through their back-to-school documentation.
For some, though, it didn’t raise red flags.
Pasco County parent Jeannine Glover, who sends her child to Bishop Larkin Catholic School in Port Richey, said she had no problem with the form. She viewed it as the system trying to protect itself from a litigious society.