Coronavirus Resources for Schools

COVID-19 Student Privacy FAQs 03-20-2020

Contains resources from school districts and public health agencies.

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Student Privacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic School administrators are facing tough privacy questions as COVID-19 continues to spread across the world. Administrators in both preK-12 and higher education are grappling with how to inform communities and public health officials of infections that may emerge among students, how to respond to those cases, and how to maintain students' privacy during communications. This resource is meant to supplement the recently published guidance from the US Department of Education (USED) on how the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) applies to schools in the context of COVID-19. 1 Student health information is typically protected by FERPA, not the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Consent is usually required before disclosing personal information, but both laws have exceptions when disclosures are made to protect the health or safety of others in an emergency. This resource reviews how FERPA and HIPAA govern the disclosure of students' health information held by schools, and provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with examples illustrating how FERPA applies in the context of COVID-19. March 20, 2020 By Anisha Reddy and Amelia Vance

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