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Cybersecurity and Data Privacy is at the forefront of district administrators and IT leaders’ minds around Illinois. The Student Online Privacy and Protection Act, or for short, SOPPA compliance is a data privacy law, a legislative requirement instituted by the state of Illinois for the purpose of creating and maintaining state-wide standards for the maintenance and collection of student data.

Students’ information is covered by schools, the Illinois State Board of Education, and education technology vendors. SOPPA requires schools to only collect data for educational purposes, and to only disclose publicly when data breaches occur. The kind of data collected by digital services are things like; first and last names, home address, email address, phone number, grades, socioeconomic status, test results, recent photos and medical records. This seems more than the usual casual information attached to an individual!

On August 23rd 2019 Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a new version of SOPPA compliance that now gives parents greater control over their student’s covered information. This new law now outlines specific rights conveyed to parents and adds an extra requirement to notify the public of any covered information breaches.

In order to ensure that all digital service providers within Illinois are abiding by the new standards, districts are obliged to enter into written and signed agreements attesting to the ways the digital service providers collect and maintain these types of data.

SOPPA requires districts to perform due diligence practices when it comes to their signed data privacy agreements and any breaches. All Illinois districts are required by SOPPA to publicly list and display all data privacy agreements that they have entered in to. They also must publicly disclose to parents and carers any data breaches within 30 days of the breach detection.

SOPPA Compliance Procedures for Schools

What does SOPPA mean for your school?

SOPPA primarily concerns school districts and the digital service providers they utilize; however, the impact SOPPA has on teachers is the most noticeable. Teachers continuously utilize digital tools, apps and platforms within their classrooms daily, as a result of this, they may be asked to take part in their districts SOPPA compliance procedures.

It is of course, an added pressure on teachers of the Illinois districts, as they are likely to be asked to provide lists of the digital tools, apps and platforms they are using to ensure that each district has a relevant written agreement with the teaching software publishers.

Teachers may also be asked to participate in a new app and teaching software vetting process set up by their district, this may vary depending on district, but this process usually provides an opportunity for a district to pre-clear certain apps and software in an efficient manner before placing it in schools.

If an app doesn’t clear the vetting process, it may mean it isn’t allowed to be used within the classroom setting and therefore teachers may in turn be asked to find an alternative which will meet the state’s student data privacy requirements.

How can Senso help?

Senso is a vetted and trusted solution already used in many schools within Illinois. Our classroom management software enables the monitoring of student chats amongst many other things, which helps schools to comply with SOPPA. Not only that, but we also partner with Illinois Learning Technology Purchasing Program too! Senso were vetted and approved by ILTPP for complying with SOPPA.

Do you need teaching software to help your district comply with SOPPA? Senso is your trusted solution!

If you want more information on what Senso can do for you and your district or school, get in touch, book a demo and see why so many schools and businesses have already purchased Senso Software.

Senso helps school with SOPPA compliance

Do you want more information on what Senso can do for you and your school or business? information on what Senso can do for you and your school or business? Get in touch, book a demo and see why so many schools and businesses have already purchased Senso software. We’d love to hear from you!