COVID-19 and State Agency Records Appraisal

From:
Rebecca McGee-Lankford
Assistant State Records Administrator
Government Records Section 

 The COVID-19 State of Emergency in North Carolina represents an unprecedented event in North Carolina history, and we at the State Archives’ Government Records Section are working to ensure that we capture the public records that will help future North Carolinians understand this difficult and uncertain time. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us—essential and nonessential employees alike—to make changes to the way we work, the way we interact with our coworkers and the public, and the records we produce during the course of business. It’s important to take time to manage the records you create during this crisis, despite the extraordinary pressures on time and resources we are all encountering. The nature of the COVID-19 State of Emergency imbues the records we’re creating right now with “inherent interest,” defined by the Functional Schedule for North Carolina State Agencies (2019) as historical value “created by non-routine events . . . and by compelling contexts.” Researchers and the public routinely reference state agency records to learn about how state government responded to societal upheaval, such as the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, and the Government Records Section wants to make sure we fully document your efforts surrounding COVID-19 for future generations. 

In addition to engaging in your normal records management activities and adhering to the Functional Schedule for North Carolina State Agencies (2019), there are some concrete steps you can take to preserve these historically valuable records:  

  • Identify new record types, websites, and social media accounts that have been developed specifically for COVID-19 State of Emergency functions. The State Archives uses Archive-It and ArchiveSocial to capture many agency websites and social media accounts, but we’ll need your input to add new sites and accounts to our crawls. Likewise, if your agency is creating a brand-new record type not created by your agency before, it may be an Archival or Permanent record. Consult with your Records Management Analyst to properly categorize any new records. 
  • Identify your Archival and Permanent Correspondence (133.A, 133.P) related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, and add accounts to your Capstone email lists. There may be essential or nonessential employees whose email or correspondence rises to the level of Archival or Permanent (Appraisal Required) because of the work they are doing to manage the state’s COVID-19 response. If so, and you are on the DIT email system, you can contact your Records Management Analyst to add email accounts to your Capstone email list. If you are not on the DIT system, consult with your Records Management Analyst on strategies for maintaining Archival and Permanent email and correspondence. 
  • Review your Records Storage Memorandum for the Archival items the Government Records Section expects you to transfer (see table below). Below, you’ll find a list of particularly relevant Archival record types that are critical to documenting the North Carolina government response to COVID-19. If your agency is creating these record types, but they don’t appear on your Records Storage Memorandum, speak to your Records Management Analyst about adding an item to your list. 
  • Consider the Permanent (Appraisal Required), Permanent, and Nonpermanent record types you have created in response to COVID-19 (see table below). In this time of historical upheaval, the Government Records Section seeks to broaden its collecting scope to include some of the records we would normally label “routine.” Our appraisal team will be happy to review your COVID-related nonpermanent records to determine their historical value. In particular, we are interested in your record types related to the following functions: 
    • Agency Management: What memoranda, procedures, and other workaday records have you created specific to the COVID-19 State of Emergency? How has your office or division coped internally with the unique problems COVID-19 has created?

    • Asset Management: How has the COVID-19 State of Emergency affected facilities and inventory management?

    • Education: Are there courses, assessments, or lesson plans that have changed, expanded, or been repurposed during the pandemic?

    • Governance: Are you capturing the minutes of special sessions of advisory boards, commissions, or task forces? Has your department made COVID-19-related appointments or created new internal governing or advisory bodies? 
    • Healthcare: Are you doing research or producing data on communicable disease treatment, outcomes, or management in light of COVID-19?

    • Human Resources: What correspondence, memos, or training materials have you produced to keep your employees and the public safe?

    • Legal: Are there COVID-19-related contracts, correspondence, legal opinions, or settlements that shed light on your agency’s response?

    • Monitoring and Compliance: Have you provided assistance to other agencies or outside entities or individuals related to the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you created any special registries or permits?

    • Public Relations: What brochures or pamphlets, educational or training materials, and external surveys have you created to communicate with the public? Are you receiving any Constituent Comments, Complaints, and Petitions (1522.1) that seem worthy of archival preservation? 
    • Risk Management: Have you issued new alerts or created health and safety records as a result of the COVID-19 State of Emergency? 
  • Volunteer yourself or nominate a colleague for participation in our COVID-19 State of Emergency oral history program. In collaboration with the State Archives’ oral historian, we will be conducting oral history interviews with state agency employees to document the personal experiences of state agency workers dealing with the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Contact your Records Management Analyst for more information.  

Please see the attached table for more information on record types of historical value during the COVID-19 pandemic, and feel free to contact us with questions. Please note that email is the best contact method during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. 

Records Management Analysts  https://archives.ncdcr.gov/government/retention-schedules/state-agency-schedules/records-analysts-state-agencies 
All Staff  https://archives.ncdcr.gov/contact/staff-list 

Table: COVID-19 Records Appraisal Examples 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for North Carolina state agencies to continue their usual records management activities and to follow their records retention schedules. In addition, because the COVID-19 State of Emergency represents an unprecedented historical event, the Government Records Section plans to collect supplemental state agency material that may rise to the level of archival during such an event. To help agencies to identify record types of particular interest, the following table lists examples of Archival, Permanent (Appraisal Required), Permanent, and Nonpermanent records agencies are creating that may be worthy of inclusion in the Archives because of their association with the pandemic. Please note that this list is not exhaustive: you may be creating other records of historical value.   

Please contact your Records Management Analyst if you have questions or would like to schedule an appraisal. 

1. Agency Management 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
113.A  Structure/Restructuring Records  1-3 
133.A  Correspondence  1-6 
141.A  Reports Received by the Agency (General Assembly)  1-9 
142.A  Reports Written by the Agency  1-9 
Permanent (Appraisal Required) 
111.P  Agency Histories  1-3 
113.P  Structure/Restructuring Records  1-3 
133.P  Correspondence  1-7 
139.P  Project Documentation  1-8 
151.P  Agency Policies  1-11 
Permanent 
151.P  Agency Policies*  1-11 
Nonpermanent 
121.S  Collected Data  1-4 
132.<  Calendars   1-6 
134.S  Information Sharing Materials   1-7 
136  Meeting Materials   1-7 
138.3  Procedures  1-8 
141.S  Reports Received by the Agency*  1-9 
142.3  Reports Written by the Agency*   1-10 
152.2  Business Plans  1-11 

 

2. Asset Management 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
226.A  Property Management Records (DMVA)  2-8 
217.A  Protections Records  2-4 
Permanent 
212.P  Collections Management Records  2-3 
216.P  Loan Records  2-4 
Nonpermanent 
222  Facility Management Records   2-7 
224  Inventory Management Records  2-7 

 

3. Economic Development 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
321.A  Tourism and Marketing Publications (EDPNC)  3-6 
322.A  Tourism Data (EDPNC)  3-6 
323.A  Welcome Center Records (Commerce)  3-6 

 

4Education 
RC No.  Record Type   Page No. 
Permanent 
433.P  Curriculum Development (DPI)  4-8 
Nonpermanent 
431.S  Assessments  4-8 
432.S  Course Development  4-8 
434.S  Lesson Plans  4-8 

 

5. Financial Management 
RC No.  Record Type   Page No. 
Permanent (Appraisal Required) 
535.P  Grants Received by the Agency  5-11 

 

6. Governance 
RC No.  Record Type   Page No. 
Archival 
624.A  Constituent Services (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-5 
625.A  Executive Appointments (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-6 
626.A  Executive Orders, Disaster Declarations, and Proclamations (Gov.)  6-6 
628.A  Intergovernmental and External Relations (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-6 
629.A  Legislative Management (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-6 
6211.A  Policy and Legal (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-7 
6212.A  Scheduling (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-7 
6213.A  Speeches, Press Releases, and Briefs (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-7 
6214.A  Strategic Planning and Initiatives (Gov. and Lt. Gov)  6-7 
631.A  Appointments to Service (SOS)  6-8 
642.A  General Assembly Messages (General Assembly)  6-11 
644.A  House and Senate Proceedings (General Assembly)  6-11 
645.A  Legislation (General Assembly)  6-12 
646.A  Legislative Committee Records (General Assembly)  6-12 
647.A  Petitions (General Assembly)  6-12 
648.A  Roll Calls and Electronic Votes (General Assembly)  6-12 
Permanent (Appraisal Required) 
633.P  Governing and Advisory Body Correspondence  6-9 
634.P  Governing and Advisory Body Member Files  6-9 
635.P  Governing and Advisory Body Minutes  6-9 
643.P  Government Affairs Records  6-11 
Nonpermanent 
631  Appointments to Service  6-8 

 

7. Healthcare 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Permanent 
716.P  Registers and Logbooks  7-6 
741.P  Communicable Disease Records (DHHS)  7-12 
Nonpermanent 
741.5  Communicable Disease Records*  7-12 
754.10  Blood Bank Records  7-15 

 

8. Human Resources 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Permanent 
861.P  Administrative Records  8-14 
886.P  Law Enforcement Training  8-23 
Nonpermanent 
861.5  Administrative Records*  8-14 
883.S  Employee Training Materials   8-22 

 

12. Legal 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
1261.A  Attorney General’s Advice and Opinions (DOJ)  12-17 
Permanent 
1232.P  Contracts (DOA)  12-9 
1261.P  Attorney General Advice and Opinions  12-17 
Nonpermanent 
1232.6  Contracts*  12-8 
1236.10  Settlements  12-10 
1264.10  General Legal Correspondence (DOJ)  12-18 

 

13. Monitoring and Compliance 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
1325.A  Licenses and Permits  13-9 
1332.A  Evaluations and Inspections  13-11 
Permanent     
1313.P  Audit Reports  13-4 
Nonpermanent 
1311.2  Assistance Records  13-3 
1317.20  Rates and Standards (DOI)  13-6 
1326.S  Registries  13-9 
1332.3  Evaluations and Inspections*  13-11 

 

14. Public Assistance and Support Services 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
1433.A  Employer Workforce Records  14-8 
1437.A  Workforce Strategic Plans  14-9 

 

 

15. Public Relations 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
1513.T  Official Publications  15-3 
1515.A  Social Media and Websites  15-4 
1545.A  Speeches  15-8 
Permanent (Appraisal Required) 
1542.P  Audiovisual Materials  15-8 
1544.P  Press Releases  15-8 
1551.P  Agendas, Exhibits, and Programs  15-9 
Permanent 
1526.P  Public Hearings  15-6 
1541.P  Advertisements  15-8 
Nonpermanent 
1511.S  Brochures/Pamphlets  15-3 
1522.1  Constituent Comments, Complaints, and Petitions  15-5 
1525.R  External Surveys  15-6 
1553.S  Educational Materials  15-9 
1556.S  Training Materials  15-9 

 

16Risk Management 
RC No.  Record Type  Page No. 
Archival 
1623.A  Disaster Recovery Records (DPS)  16-5 
Permanent 
1623.P  Disaster Recovery Records  16-4 
Nonpermanent 
1622.1  Alerts  16-4 
1653.S  Fire, Health, and Safety Records  16-9 

Record types denoted with an asterisk may have an Archival or Permanent (Appraisal Required) counterpart that captures records of greater statewide significance or with a longer timeframe (e.g., annual versus monthly reporting), but under these special historical circumstances, we would like to consider record types with more of an internal or limited focus or shorter timeframe as potentially archival. 

 Agency-specific record types are followed by the agency, denoted by an abbreviation within parentheses.