Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information to Local Health Officials

Monday, October 6, 2014

Over the last several weeks, various media outlets have included coverage of the rise in reported cases of the Enterovirus D68, as well as the Ebola outbreak.

During that time, the U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) has received inquiries regarding the applicability of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records to local health officials. In response to those inquiries, the FPCO is reminding school districts of the guidance issued by FPCO in October 2009 in response to concerns at that time regarding the H1N1 flu outbreak.

This guidance document is available at FPCO’s website at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferpa-h1n1.pdf. Although the cited guidance is specific to H1N1, FPCO confirms that the context of the guidance is applicable today in terms of Enterovirus D68, Ebola, etc.

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