H1N1 and FERPA Disclosures
Since the flu season is fast approaching, now is a good time to revisit Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the context of health disclosures. There are no FERPA implications from reporting the number of absences from a school when personally identifiable information about a student is not released. This summary addresses only those questions that school districts (non-public elementary and secondary schools are not subject to FERPA) might have regarding the release of personally identifiable information regarding a student.
As a general rule, a parent (or eligible student) must provide active (i.e. written) consent before a local education agency (LEA) discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records unless a statutory exception applies.
The sample consent form and the FAQs from the U.S. Education Department appear on its website at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferpa-h1n1.pdf.