Superintendent's Memo #194-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

July 15, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Guidance Regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Emergencies on Campus

In June 2011, the United States Department of Education (USED) issued a document, Addressing Emergencies on Campus, related to preparing for and addressing situations that threaten the health or safety of campus communities, including public schools and institutions of higher education.  Although it primarily addresses institutions of higher education, the information may also be helpful to school divisions.

You will find certain exceptions to the consent requirement in 34 CFR 99.31 of the FERPA regulations.  Further, in some situations, as explained in Addressing Emergencies on Campus and as referenced in the regulations, a school official may determine that he must disclose certain confidential information from a student’s record in order to address a school health or safety issue pursuant to 34 CFR 99.31(a)(10) and 34 CFR 99.36.

You will find the document, Addressing Emergencies on Campus, at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/emergency-guidance.pdf.  This document provides guidance which is intended to assist the work of school officials in assessing their  safety policies related to preparing for and addressing situations that threaten the health or safety of their students.  Information about threat assessment and medical records is also included in this document.

You will find additional resources related to emergency preparedness at the end of the summary.  Please contact the Family Policy Compliance Office at USED by e-mail at FERPA@ed.gov or by telephone at (202) 260-3887 if you have questions about this guidance or other FERPA requirements, or you may write that office at:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520

In addition, you may contact Dr. Sandra Ruffin, director of the Office of Federal Program Monitoring at the Virginia Department of Education by e-mail at Sandra.Ruffin@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at 804-225-2038.

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