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Leasing Residence Halls to Municipalities and Hospitals for COVID-19 Relief

The spread of COVID-19 in the United States is causing hospital administrators and government officials to call upon their local colleges and universities to house surge patients and quarantine first responders. The Harvard Global Health Institute estimates that the number of COVID-19 patients needing hospital care could quickly exceed the number of available beds. Moreover, local government officials are looking for spaces where first responders and health care workers can either voluntarily isolate themselves from their families or quarantine after they have been exposed to others with known COVID-19 infections. 

Many colleges and universities, such as NYU, Tufts University, and Middlebury College, have already begun making arrangements for their residence halls and other campus buildings to be used by local hospitals and municipalities in case of a surge in COVID-19 patients. One college drained the campus’s ice hockey rink so it could house a pop-up hospital if needed, while others prepared residence halls with overflow beds to accommodate the surge of hospital patients. 

Institutions should start planning now for how they will manage a potential facility lease for COVID-19 related relief. The parties not only need to consider traditional lease terms such as rent and duration but will also need to think about the impact that COVID-19 has on terms such as maintenance of the facility, insurance, and indemnity.

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About this Author

Jim Newberry, Government Relations, Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law Firm
Member

Jim Newberry focuses his practice in the areas of higher education, government relations, and regulatory matters.  He recently served as Mayor of Lexington and has extensive leadership experience in the equine industry, legal service industry, state government and higher education.  Mr. Newberry is leader of the firm's Higher Education Team and serves as the Managing Member of the firm's Louisville, Kentucky office.

(859) 219-8226
Joshua L. Stearns ASSOCIATE Louisville Health Law Construction
Associate

As a student-athlete on the University of Louisville football team, Josh learned how to work as part of a team, think analytically in stressful situations, and respect the importance of self-discipline and details.  In his legal practice, Josh takes the lessons he learned on the field and puts them to work for his clients. His clients have needs in health care, corporate law, business transactions, and construction.  Growing up in Kentucky, Josh is proud to work with organizations who share his vision for improving the local community, especially his health care clients. Those clients often turn to Josh when they have transactional needs or when time-sensitive issues arise with federal and state regulatory bodies.  

No matter the circumstances, Josh brings his calm demeanor, logical approach, and drive to win to work for his clients.

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