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Coronavirus, Student Privacy and Serving Students with Disabilities

Posted on March 13, 2020

FERPA & Coronavirus

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Privacy Policy Office issued an FAQ regarding FERPA and COVID-19.  The Guidance reminds school districts that educators cannot release a student’s education records or personally identifiable information contained within those records without the signed and dated consent of the student’s parent (or the student, if the student is 18), unless an exception applies.  The FAQ describes the “health and safety exception” that permits a school district to disclose to a public health agency personally identifiable information from education records, without prior consent, in connection with an emergency if the public health agency’s knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals.

FERPA & Coronavirus Disease 2019 FAQ

Implementing IDEA and Section 504 During COVID-19 Outbreak 

The U.S. Department of Education issued a new Q & A document on providing services to children with disabilities during the outbreak.  The guidance advises that if a school district closes and does not provide any educational services to the general student population, it would not be required to provide services to students with disabilities during that period of time.  The Department makes clear that once school resumes, IEP teams and 504 teams will need to make individualized determinations as to whether compensatory services are needed.  For school districts providing educational opportunities during a closure, the Department expects schools will ensure that students with disabilities will have equal access to the same opportunities.  This includes providing regular and special education and related aids and services to meet the individual educational needs of disabled students as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met when educational opportunities are provided.

Q & A on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak

This Legal Update is intended as general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If advice is required, please contact us at (614) 222-8686 or via email.