Length of Storage for Student Medical Records
Did you know that your school could be responsible for storing student medical records for years beyond graduation? Are you aware that you can be held responsible for the safe-keeping of those records?
Student information is divided into two main groups: immunization records and everything else relating to a student’s health or academics. The required maintenance of these records varies from one school district to the next and also depends on the type of record. Generally speaking, schools are required to maintain the following information indefinitely:
- immunization records
- name, address, and phone number
- grades, grade level completed, and year completed
- attendance record and classes attended
Additional health information, such as standardized test results, extracurricular activity reports, and objective teacher evaluations might require indefinite storage as well, but sometimes just until a student graduates or permanently leaves the school district.
Student records must be kept in locked storage with restricted access. Even when a school is legally allowed to destroy the records, district laws govern how they must be destroyed and whether or not students and parents need to be notified in advance. In many cases, the school must first notify the parent and eligible student and give them the opportunity to receive a copy of any of the information before it is destroyed. A noted rule of thumb across the states is that a school or agency may not destroy an education record if there is an outstanding request by a parent to inspect and review it. Health and immunization records are considered education records once they are held by the school.
Because these requirements and their time-lines vary, it is important for school administrators and health care providers to remain knowledgeable about and compliant with these laws and guidelines to reduce liability exposure.