The digital transformation of education has become even more pronounced during the Covid-19 pandemic, and for some parts of education, this digitization is an absolute win. E-signing has simplified getting documents signed by parents and guardians, teachers, students themselves, and even vendors. According to an article by the American Psychological Association, educators are facing high rates of burnout. So, it is nice to find ways to simplify school leaders’ work lives and take some of the pressure off our already stressed education professionals. E-signing streamlines many facets of education and is simple to implement. Undoubtedly, it is one part of the digital revolution that we can all celebrate and embrace.
Here are some of the top reasons to use e-signatures for school forms:
It's easier to get signatures
Administrators, school nurses, counselors, and teachers all spend time chasing down parents to get forms signed. Whether it is a permission slip for a field trip, a required health form, an IEP or 504, report card, or any other paperwork, your staff members are stopped in their tracks when they don’t have all the forms in hand. If you use paper forms for signature, students might lose them, teachers could misplace them, and they are hard to keep together as they come in piecemeal. With e-signatures, you can email forms directly to the signer for completion, easily track who hasn’t yet responded, and have automated reminders sent to pending signers.
It's easier for parents & guardians
Parents are busy and stressed, just like educators. When e-signing forms, parents can complete documents on the go, from their phone or tablet, or while sitting at their desk at work. Educators deal with harried parents in the best of times, and some parents and guardians never can remember all the little details like getting paperwork signed. But if they can sign as soon as they see the email, it is one less thing to think about—or forget to do—later.
Keep compliant with privacy standards
According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools must keep educational records private. Confidentiality can be more difficult if paper copies of records are circulating for signatures. Additionally, with special education documents or health records, HIPAA laws may apply in some cases as well, though most of the protection is through FERPA. Electronic signatures have safeguards embedded that keep the documents private and help you avoid exposure to issues of non-compliance.
Get clear visibility into document statuses
When you use electronic signature software, you can easily track your documents in real time, seeing who has completed the forms, who still needs a nudge, and whether or not you have the set of documents complete to take action. For instance, you can see how close you are to getting all the permission slips signed for the museum field trip or check that parents have seen report cards or IEPs before they walk in for a parent-teacher meeting. In addition, when you use e-signatures for vendor contracts, you can more easily keep orders and invoices up to date.
Save time, money, and a few trees
E-signatures save everyone time, save you the cost of printing and paper, and are more environmentally friendly. They are also easier to maintain, less prone to loss, and they can keep your office staff in the loop on all the documents and records in your system. Digital records, including safe e-sign technology, make life easier for all staff, especially those who keep student records.
Keep school data secure
Having forms and records that comply with privacy laws is vital. The movement of forms between school personnel and families gives an opportunity for disclosure of students’ personal information. Keeping the records stored securely is crucial once the documents are in the school’s possession again. Electronic signatures allow you to keep the documents within your school’s cybersecurity bubble and give primary responsibility for this security to the IT staff rather than the cleaning and on-site security staff. Records stored on paper in offices are much less secure.
E-signatures allow documents to be shared among different departments easily, smoothing the communications between the nurse’s office and the athletic coaches, for instance. And when you share forms electronically, you'll have a clear record of the information shared, who received it, and when. Signers will also automatically receive a finalized copy upon completion, allowing parents and guardians to easily maintain their own records.
It is becoming the new norm for schools to use e-signatures, and they are popular with parents and staff, convenient for everyone, and within reach for school districts both small and large. If you haven't transitioned to remote signatures yet, request a demo of ReadySign and see how easy it can be to simplify the way you sign, share, and track school documents.
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