Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Chronicle of Higher Education, Higher-Ed Lobbying Group, Eyeing an In-Person Fall, Asks Congress for Liability Shields:
Higher-education leaders seeking to open their campuses for in-person operations this fall are asking Congress for protections that would insulate colleges from lawsuits brought by students, faculty, or staff who contract the new coronavirus.
The American Council on Education sent a letter on Thursday to Senate and House leaders seeking “temporary and targeted” liability-exposure protections for institutions that open their campuses this fall. The letter, co-signed by more than 70 other higher-education associations, also seeks protections for faculty and staff members and institutional systems, including affiliated nonprofit organizations and health-care providers.
In its letter, ACE said that such protections are necessary to “blunt the chilling effect” lawsuits would have on “otherwise reasonable decision-making leading to our nation’s campuses resuming operations in a safe and sensible manner.”
Colleges “are facing enormous uncertainty about Covid-19-related standards of care and corresponding fears of huge transactional costs associated with defending against Covid-19 spread lawsuits, even when they have done everything within their power to keep students, employees, and visitors safe,” the letter reads.
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