Megan Rhyne is executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, a nonprofit alliance formed to promote expanded access to government records, meetings and other proceedings at the state and local level. She has a commentary in the Virginia Mercury that begins:
Last week a Rockingham County Circuit Judge ruled in favor of James Madison University in a case brought by the editor of JMU’s student newspaper, The Breeze, over access to the per-day number of COVID-positive cases per on-campus residence.
Armchair-quarterback that I am, I’ve read the ruling, and probably unsurprisingly, I disagree.
The ruling says the university rightly cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when it initially withheld, then delayed disclosing by more than a month, student COVID-19 cases broken down by campus residence.
In other words, the ruling validated a policy that essentially says an individual student’s privacy rights are greater than the rights of all other students in the same residence — or campus, even — to protect themselves or to know whether they may have been exposed, thus potentially exposing others that he or she later came into contact with.
Read more on Virginia Mercury.