Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and H1N1 Influenza
The Department of Education (ED) has issued guidance for school officials on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and H1N1. The guidance addresses concerns that school officials may have about disclosing personally identifiable information about students in the event of an outbreak of H1N1 influenza in their schools. FERPA prevents school officials from disclosing personally identifiable information from student records without the consent of a parent or eligible student unless one of the exceptions contained in FERPA applies. One such exception for disclosing the information without consent is for a “health and safety emergency” where disclosure will protect students or other individuals. A current outbreak of H1N1 in a particular school or school district may constitute a “health and safety emergency.” In the absence of an emergency, written consent from a parent or eligible student must be obtained before disclosing information from student records, and the guidance document includes a model consent form. Among other topics, this guidance document contains information about what constitutes a health and safety emergency, what to do if a parent refuses to consent to disclosure, whether a school may identify a particular child as having H1N1, and questions and answers about vaccination programs.
NSBA H1N1 Planning for Schools resources page