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Refreshing staff on FERPA essential as districts implement COVID-19 screening

Education Dive |

As schools implement systems to check students for coronavirus symptoms, administrators must ensure Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines when disclosing any information about students, District Administration reports.

  • In developing a coronavirus reporting plan, administrators should clarify FERPA rules to staff and remind them that under the law, school districts must acquire written parental permission before sharing a student’s information.
  • During health and safety emergencies, districts can disclose information to public health officials, but it can’t be released to the general public without written consent from parents. 
  • Staff should also be reminded not to discuss a student’s symptoms verbally, through texts or emails — and to further maintain student privacy, health screenings should be done discreetly, preferably in partitioned spaces.