Student Disability Services (SDS) - Confidentiality
Student Disability Services (SDS) is the designated office at Johns Hopkins University that students work with to formally request disability related accommodations and services. Through that process students share confidential information about their disability with SDS in order to establish eligibility. Students are free to share information about their disability with others outside of SDS but are not under any obligation to share that information. SDS will not share details about specific disabilities unless a student specifically requests that they do that. SDS also recommends not including disability related information is in emails, especially to offices other than SDS, due to the risk of information being forwarded or shared inadvertently.
Documenting the impact of the disability and providing recommendations for accommodations can be essential to arranging effective access to programs and services. Student Disability Services provides Documentation Guidelines and a Documentation Form to ensure providers will be sharing necessary, relevant information. SDS recommends uploading documentation that follows the guidelines directly into the SDS system. Medical records should not be submitted.
Accommodations and Services
Once students are approved for accommodations, it is their choice and responsibility to request them for the specific setting where they are needed. Information about accommodations and how they can best be implemented may shared with faculty and other campus partners in order to ensure there is proper notice and understanding of what is needed.
Lists of students using particular accommodations are shared when needed to confirm eligibility for an accommodation within the registration, housing, dining, or transportation systems. SDS also participates in collecting relevant university-wide data on completion rates, conducts surveys, and shares anonymized data on students working with SDS.
Student Disability Services Status
If SDS staff that are contacted by anyone seeking information about a specific student’s SDS status or information about their eligibility for accommodations, they must first check that the student has shared the information about their SDS status and accommodations (i.e. submitted an accommodation letter) before sharing any information. If they have not, the student must be made aware of the request and give their permission before any information is shared.
Any groups or entities that would like to know about students with disabilities are encouraged to invite students to share information about their disability-related identity or use of SDS services. If students do share information it should be kept confidential and permission sought from the student before sharing it with anyone else.
Student Disability Services records are covered under FERPA. SDS follows applicable guidelines around sharing information with third parties, requiring a third-party release to be completed and signed by the student before any information is provided to outside entities. After students graduate or leave Johns Hopkins, SDS records are archived and held for seven years before being destroyed.