Can we run a column about a student’s experience being tested for COVID-19?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.”

Q: One of my classmates, a high school junior, has written a column about being tested for COVID-19. It’s well-written and informative. She talked it over with her parents and wants to use her name. Are there any problems with this or should she write anonymously?  Any HIPAA issues?

There is no problem with the student writing this under her own name, particularly if she’s discussed the issue with her parents. Unlike something like an STD test, for example — which can carry a stigma in certain situations — there’s nothing  embarrassing or “shameful” about being tested for COVID19. Indeed, I think getting tested if one believes they’ve been exposed is the honorable and brave thing to do these days.

If you wanted to be super safe, you could have her sign a consent form.

There are no HIPAA issues.

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