Nebraska State Education Association President Jenni Benson issued a letter to school districts throughout the state, sharing the NSEA’s expectation for students and staff to wear face coverings to limit exposures to COVID-19.

Benson wrote in the letter that, “The NSEA considers notice of a quarantine exception and mandatory face coverings as a minimum standard of care necessary to satisfy every school district’s legal duty to protect employee health and safety.” She urged school districts to use science-based decision making as they move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employee confidence in the measures used to protect their health and safety will promote and secure the educational mission of our schools,” Benson wrote. “School dstricts that do not require the use of face coverings for all students and staff or that fail to notify employees when others in their work environment remain in the school building pursuant to DHM (Directed Health Measure) quarantine expectations subject the district and those responsible, including administration and board members, to potentially significant legal liability.”

In a press release from the NSEA, Benson urged school districts to make a plan regarding COVID-19.

“(…) The president of the insurance pool that provides liability coverage for many Nebraska school districts advised that school districts ‘should make sure they have a good COVID-19 plan and pay attention to health department directives,’” said Benson.

In the letter, Benson notes that by students and staff wearing masks, the number of people quarantined during an exposure will improve.

“The science and data are clear: The spread of COVID-19 is minimized when everyone wears face coverings. Students are also no longer required to quarantine if face coverings were used at the time of a close contact with someone who is symptomatic or positive with COVID-19. Both exceptions focus on the presence of face coverings,” Benson wrote.

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