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How Schools Can Stay Compliant During the Ongoing COVID Pandemic

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COVID-19 is continuing to put pressure on communities and educational organizations to make fast decisions regarding reopening or moving forward as numbers spike and recede and guidelines change.

Many higher education organizations face these fluctuations in service through innovations such as online-only schooling, reducing or eliminating school sports, and implementing self-policing strategies such as student tip lines.

Meanwhile, K through 12 schools are facing a slew of decisions as COVID numbers spike across the nation. Some states have provided guidance by ordering schools open — or closed — while others leave it up to individual school districts to decide how best to proceed.

Whether schools make the decision to remain open, provide a hybrid educational scenario with some students on campus and others online, or go completely online there are many elements to consider to keep students safe — and learning — throughout the pandemic.

Schools: How to Stay Compliant While Remote Learning and Reopening

Education leaders must make serious decisions regarding student and staff health and safety when deciding how to proceed with classes and stay compliant with data privacy rules.

Remote learning — a popular choice that may help certain children thrive — is becoming more common as infection numbers spike. But, along with it comes a need for extra diligence surrounding student data, particularly as it relates to compliance guidelines for schools, such as FERPA and GLBA.

In response, the U.S. Department of Education has provided a list of resources to give schools guidance on best practices regarding data privacy, security, destruction, and management, as well as assistance in managing student privacy with online apps and in the cloud.

The Need for Training

Government guidelines stress the need for staff training when it comes to data protection. They suggest role-based training courses that can incorporate breach detection and escalation as part of the curriculum.

Specifically, schools should include data security training as part of a larger employee education series and should keep staff apprised of data security issues by including them in ongoing internal channels such as emails, newsletters, and even logins.

The Need for Technology

The pandemic has pushed schools into a digital transformation — like it or not. But, with less than 5% of college budgets tagged for IT spending, and perhaps less than that in the K-12 world, schools are facing significant disruption.

Fortunately, new technologies such as Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) can help defray costs by allowing students to use their own devices to connect to interactive learning portals. However, data security is essential in a BYOD scenario which requires sensible network and device protections.

The Need for Security

Student privacy and data security are necessary to safeguard sensitive data — whether students are learning on-campus or remotely.

As schools move toward digital environments, they must transform operations to offer flexible access, yet provide a level of data security that keeps them compliant with regulations.

That means schools must focus on gathering the appropriate tools that allow them to assess, manage, and fortify security for their digital network, including their imaging and printing fleets, data transmission during remote learning scenarios, cloud access for staff and students, and even mobile printing applications.

Verity Group Helps Learning Proceed with Education-Focused Managed Services

Educational organizations have a lot on their plates as they struggle to keep students engaged and learning during the ongoing pandemic.

Not only must they develop new trainings that speak to security in this “new normal,” but they must also restructure their digital presence to facilitate remote learning — all while providing exceptional data security to stay compliant with government regulations.

For many schools with a small in-house IT department, this change can quickly become unmanageable.

At Verity Group, we have a team of experts specifically focused on providing managed services to the education sector. We can accurately assess your current needs and challenges and help your school develop targeted solutions that directly address remote learning — and the security issues that accompany it.

In fact, our team has a proven track record of providing our education clients with appropriate solutions and security protocols within the parameters of their current budgets.

Take the frustration and fear out of remote learning or school reopening. Contact Verity Group today and learn how our team of education-focused technology specialists can help your school deliver targeted education — even during COVID.

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