Colleges and universities with U.S. government-sponsored research or other non-grant funding take note. On September 9, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14042 to implement COVID safety protocols for Federal service contractors and subcontractors. Among other things, Executive Order 14042 requires that entities holding Federal contracts (or “contract-like instruments”), including colleges and universities, mandate vaccinations and other safety protocols for a wide swath of their employees. Unlike the forthcoming related OSHA rule, Executive Order 14042 does not permit employees to provide regular negative test results in lieu of proof of vaccination. This summary alert highlights a few of the issues that will be of particular importance to institutions of higher education.

Continue Reading Five Key Takeaways For Colleges and Universities From the New Federal Vaccination Mandate

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently added government contractors to the list of entities eligible for immunity from liability under the Secretary’s March 17, 2020, Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (“PREP Act”) declaration.  The PREP Act protects individuals and companies from liability for death or other tort-like harm in connection with the pandemic response, except for cases involving “willful misconduct.”  Under the recent amendment, government contractors acting with authorization from an executive department or agency—or who could be so authorized—are protected from liability when they prescribe, administer, deliver, distribute, or dispense Covered Countermeasures, as long as they meet the other requirements of the Act.  Covered Countermeasures could include the COVID-19 vaccine or personal protective equipment like respirators.  We wrote previously about the evolving list of masks and respirators qualifying as Covered Countermeasures here, here, and here.   
Continue Reading Authorized Government Contractors Now Covered Persons Under the PREP Act