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Communication and Confidentiality

Independence and communication

In partnership with other departments on campus, the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS) strives to foster independence in students. The responsibility for communication is on the student, and OARS staff do not initiate communication with parents. 

For parents of incoming first-year students, OARS encourages families to maintain open lines of communication as students transition from high school to Bethel. Parents are advised to let their students know what is expected of them, and what information the parent hopes to receive. OARS lets students know that it is their responsibility to communicate with their parents. 

Privacy laws

OARS maintains strict confidentiality in accordance with federal laws. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, requires colleges and universities to maintain the privacy of students' educational records. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, requires privacy of medical information; disability-related information is often medical in nature.

If a student wishes for an OARS team member to communicate with their parent or any other individual, such as a therapist or doctor, the student can sign a Release of Confidential Information form.

All documentation provided to OARS is secure and will only be shared on a need-to-know basis with staff/faculty in order to facilitate accommodations. In addition, a student may choose to self disclose a diagnosis/disability with staff or faculty as they choose.