Information Sharing and FERPA/HIPAA for Schools and Postsecondary Institutions


On Friday, August 9, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) and the Readiness and Emergency Management (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center hosted a webinar that provided an in-depth review of the “A Closer Look” section of the Obama Administration’s recently released Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans and Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education. These new Guides, developed by ED in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Justice (DOJ), led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Health and Human Services (HHS), represent the culmination of years of work by the Federal government.

Ms. Ellen Campbell, Deputy Director of the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, presented this webinar. Ms. Campbell has worked in the area of student and family privacy issues since 1986 and has been instrumental in bringing to the educational community a better understanding and appreciation of the rights that parents and students are afforded by FERPA. She routinely assists senior officials at the Department on matters involving the applicability of FERPA to major policy issues facing the education community. She also interacts closely with other federal agencies to ensure that their programs do not conflict with parents’ and students’ privacy rights. In 2007, she authored a chapter on FERPA in The Encyclopedia of Privacy, which was published by Greenwood Press.

This webinar provided an overview of FERPA and the implications that this and other federal statutes may have for information sharing in the emergency planning process. It also provided a brief overview of the more limited circumstances when HIPAA may apply and have an impact on information sharing in school and higher education settings.

This 35-minute webinar session included a live PowerPoint presentation, as well as a Question and Answer session following the presentation.


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School Safety Partners is dedicated to creating long-term funding partnerships to support school safety best practices. We are both a community of interest and a facilitator of joint research projects, reaching out to the general public as well as stakeholders in the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors. Our purpose is to create a space for stakeholders where true partnering can occur in order to make school safety sustainable beyond Federal funding. Since our start in January, 2008, our projects have addressed the legislative, training, compliance, funding, and public awareness sides of school safety.

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