Florida Senate - 2021 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT Bill No. SB 7070 Ì502390ÄÎ502390 LEGISLATIVE ACTION Senate . House . . . . . ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— The Committee on Rules (Gruters) recommended the following: 1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment) 2 3 Delete everything after the enacting clause 4 and insert: 5 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section 6 464.019, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 7 464.019 Approval of nursing education programs.— 8 (5) ACCOUNTABILITY.— 9 (a)1. An approved program must achieve a graduate passage 10 rate for first-time test takers which is not more than 10 11 percentage points lower than the average passage rate during the 12 same calendar year for graduates of comparable degree programs 13 who are United States educated, first-time test takers on the 14 National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensing 15 Examination, as calculated by the contract testing service of 16 the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. For purposes of 17 this subparagraph, an approved program is comparable to all 18 degree programs of the same program type from among the 19 following program types: 20 a. Professional nursing education programs that terminate 21 in a bachelor’s degree. 22 b. Professional nursing education programs that terminate 23 in an associate degree. 24 c. Professional nursing education programs that terminate 25 in a diploma. 26 d. Practical nursing education programs. 27 2. If an approved program’s graduate passage rates do not 28 equal or exceed the required passage rates for 2 consecutive 29 calendar years, the board shall place the program on 30 probationary status pursuant to chapter 120 and the program 31 director shall appear before the board to present a plan for 32 remediation, which shall include specific benchmarks to identify 33 progress toward a graduate passage rate goal. The program must 34 remain on probationary status until it achieves a graduate 35 passage rate that equals or exceeds the required passage rate 36 for any 1 calendar year. The board shall deny a program 37 application for a new prelicensure nursing education program 38 submitted by an educational institution if the institution has 39 an existing program that is already on probationary status. 40 3. Upon the program’s achievement of a graduate passage 41 rate that equals or exceeds the required passage rate, the 42 board, at its next regularly scheduled meeting following release 43 of the program’s graduate passage rate by the National Council 44 of State Boards of Nursing, shall remove the program’s 45 probationary status. If the program, during the 2 calendar years 46 following its placement on probationary status, does not achieve 47 the required passage rate for any 1 calendar year, the board may 48 extend the program’s probationary status for 1 additional year, 49 provided the program has demonstrated adequate progress toward 50 the graduate passage rate goal by meeting a majority of the 51 benchmarks established in the remediation plan. If the program 52 is not granted the 1-year extension or fails to achieve the 53 required passage rate by the end of such extension, the board 54 shall terminate the program pursuant to chapter 120. If a 55 program on probationary status fails to achieve the required 56 passage rate for the 2020 calendar year, including a program 57 subject to termination during the 2021 calendar year, the board 58 shall extend the program’s probationary status for 1 additional 59 year. The board shall grant such extension at a regularly 60 scheduled meeting during the 2021 calendar year. 61 Section 2. Section 768.39, Florida Statutes, is created to 62 read: 63 768.39 Immunity for educational institutions for actions 64 related to the COVID-19 pandemic.— 65 (1) The Legislature finds that during the COVID-19 66 pandemic, educational institutions had little choice but to 67 close or restrict access to their campuses in an effort to 68 protect the health of their students, educators, staff, and 69 communities. Despite these efforts, more than 120,000 cases of 70 COVID-19 have been linked to colleges and universities 71 nationwide, and the deaths of more than 100 college students 72 have been attributed to the disease. The Legislature further 73 finds that lawsuits against educational institutions based on 74 their efforts to provide educational services while keeping 75 students, faculty, staff, and communities safe during the COVID 76 19 public health emergency are without legal precedent. One 77 court has even acknowledged that the “legal system is now 78 feeling COVID-19’s havoc with the current wave of class action 79 lawsuits that seek tuition reimbursement related to forced 80 online tutelage.” Under these circumstances, the Legislature 81 finds that there is an overpowering public necessity for, and no 82 reasonable alternative to, providing educational institutions 83 with liability protections against lawsuits seeking tuition or 84 fee reimbursements or related damages resulting from the 85 institutions changing the delivery of educational services, 86 limiting access to facilities, or closing campuses during the 87 COVID-19 public health emergency. 88 (2) For the purposes of this section, the term “educational 89 institution” means a school, including a preschool, elementary 90 school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, 91 career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or 92 nonpublic, and also includes the Board of Governors of the State 93 University System and the State Board of Education. 94 (3)(a) An educational institution that has taken reasonably 95 necessary actions in compliance with federal, state, or local 96 guidance to diminish the impact or the spread of COVID-19 may 97 not be held liable for, and shall be immune from, any civil 98 damages, equitable relief, or other remedies relating to such 99 actions. Reasonably necessary actions taken while a state of 100 emergency was declared for this state for the COVID-19 pandemic 101 include, but are not limited to, any of the following: 102 1. Shifting in-person instruction to online or remote 103 instruction for any period of time. 104 2. Closing or modifying the provision of facilities, other 105 than housing or dining facilities, on the campus of the 106 educational institution. 107 3. Pausing or modifying ancillary student activities and 108 services available through the educational institution. 109 (b) The provision of in-person or on-campus education and 110 related services is deemed to have been impossible for 111 educational institutions during any period of time in which such 112 institutions took reasonably necessary actions described in 113 paragraph (a) to protect students, staff, and educators in 114 response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 115 (c) As a result of the various governmental orders and the 116 need for educational institutions to protect their communities, 117 the reasonably necessary actions described in paragraph (a) are 118 deemed justified. 119 (4) In any action against an educational institution for 120 the reimbursement of tuition or fees, general publications of 121 the institution are not evidence of an implied contract to 122 provide in-person or on-campus education and related services or 123 access to facilities during the COVID-19 public health 124 emergency. 125 (5)(a) This section does not apply to losses or damages 126 that resulted solely from a breach of an express contractual 127 provision allocating liability in the event of a pandemic event. 128 (b) This section does not apply to losses or damages caused 129 by an act or omission of a college or university which was in 130 bad faith or malicious. 131 (6) If any aspect of the immunity under subsection (3) is 132 limited by a court or by operation of law from applying to 133 certain types of claims or causes of action, the immunity under 134 this section must still be provided to the fullest extent 135 authorized by law to any other types of claims or causes of 136 action. 137 (7) If an educational institution is required by federal, 138 state, or local order issued in response to the COVID-19 public 139 health emergency to alter instruction, the burden of proof for 140 any plaintiff bringing an action against the educational 141 institution for such change shall be by clear and convincing 142 evidence to prevail for damages against the institution. 143 Section 3. This act is effective upon becoming a law. 144 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================ 145 And the title is amended as follows: 146 Delete everything before the enacting clause 147 and insert: 148 A bill to be entitled 149 An act relating to the impact of COVID-19 on 150 educational institutions; amending s. 464.019, F.S.; 151 requiring the Board of Nursing to extend an approved 152 program’s probationary status under certain 153 circumstances; creating s. 768.39, F.S.; providing 154 legislative findings; defining the term “educational 155 institution”; prohibiting an educational institution 156 that has taken certain reasonably necessary actions to 157 diminish the impact or spread of COVID-19 from being 158 civilly liable for such actions; specifying that the 159 provision of certain services by educational 160 institutions was impossible during certain periods of 161 time; providing that certain reasonably necessary 162 actions are deemed justified; providing that general 163 publications of educational institutions are not 164 evidence of an implied contract to provide specified 165 services during the COVID-19 public health emergency; 166 providing exceptions; providing severability; 167 specifying conditions for an action against an 168 educational institution; providing an effective date.