North Dakota K-12 schools have developed amazingly creative plans to educate our state’s students during the COVID-19 situation. These plans include innovative ideas and technology tools to support students, parents, and teachers in staying connected and delivering educational content. We have included a brief statement for North Dakota K-12 schools and included the FERPA & Virtual Learning during COVID-19 and  to help guide you to make the best decisions for your school.  

We want to remind everyone to be vigilant about security and data privacy. There are countless offers presented to each of you for free or low cost services—many are well-intentioned and a great fit for education, some are not designed with education and data privacy in mind, and no small number are outright malicious and intended to compromise security and data privacy.

Please be sure whatever tools are used adhere to FERPA guidelines to protect educational and personal data. This frequently disqualifies many consumer products, especially free-to-use services that perform data-mining for advertisement purposes. Also, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) places requirements for collection of personal information from or about children under 13 years of age, this causes many companies, such as Facebook to decline to provide services to that age group.

We encourage all of you to be especially careful to avoid scams providing assistance or masquerading as legitimate technology companies. We are aware of an incredible increase in fake Zoom or Google domains and downloads and it would be likely other technology products are being similarly faked to install malware on devices or to capture personal and educational data.

Home networks are another area of concern with many families working, learning, and living on their home network simultaneously. Even though there are many offers to provide or increase broadband access to the internet, it is realistic to believe that many families will have parents engaging in video conferences at the same times as their children along with others in the family streaming entertainment services through TVs and other entertainment devices. It may be necessary for them to schedule and prioritize these activities through the day.  

Again, the transformation of education that has been achieved, in such a short period of time, is a testament to the outstanding work and dedication of all of you, our state’s educational champions.

Additional FERPA Resources