Boston, MA – State Senator Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton) has filed legislation that will enable public and private institutions of higher education an opportunity to help during the Massachusetts Covid-19 state of emergency with supplying the much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Massachusetts is home to some of the top colleges and universities in the country. Many of them have both the means and the desire to produce PPE during this pandemic,” said Timilty. “However, many of these institutions do not carry the proper product liability insurance that is necessary to manufacture PPE.”
This bill, SD2905 An Act to protect institutions of higher education that provide emergency aid in response to COVID-19, will grant institutions of higher education indemnity from lawsuits if they choose to manufacture PPE during Governor Charlie Baker’s state of emergency declaration. The bill would be in effect from the date of the act, once passed, until the termination of the governor’s March 10, 2020 declaration of emergency.
“Quite simply, we are in a situation where we need all hands on deck,” Timilty said. “The state has been asking companies that are able to repurpose their manufacturing processes to help with the emergency demand of PPE. Here in the Commonwealth, we have some of the best colleges and universities around that are able to help, but currently cannot. This bill will remove that hurdle.”
Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston is one of those schools able to assist in making PPE and is hoping to assist in this pandemic.
“The Wentworth community has a long tradition of stepping up to the plate during times of need. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold, faculty and staff immediately sought opportunities to help medical professionals in their fight against the virus but there were no legal protections that permitted Wentworth to move forward,” said Wentworth President Mark A. Thompson. “We are grateful to Senator Timilty for quickly developing legislation that will provide Wentworth and other universities with the ability to engage in meaningful ways in the effort to provide critical PPE to those on the front line.”
The bill Timilty sponsored will only hold institutions liable if an act or omission constitutes willful, wanton or reckless conduct.
Timilty praised Wentworth Institute for having such a desire to help the Commonwealth.
“It shows the true American spirit to step up in an emergency. Wentworth has one of the best 3-D printing labs in the state, in a school of problem solvers among both faculty and staff,” said Timilty. “We are lucky to be in Massachusetts with the number of higher education institutions in this area.”