COVID-19 Records Retention

Why is it important to keep records concerning COVID-19?

The Colorado State Archives exists to preserve Colorado State’s historic and legal records, and this pandemic certainly qualifies as historic! Everyone in our state has felt the effects of COVID-19, and State and local governments have worked hard to adapt to new challenges while still serving the public. Future historians, as well as future staff of your agency or office, will benefit from the records you keep now. They will reveal how you communicated with the public and how you directed staff to continue their daily service to Colorado citizens while remaining safe and healthy.

Colorado State Archives’ mission is safeguarding the administrative and documentary history of Colorado by managing, collecting, preserving, and providing access to state and local government records. These services include the creation and implementation of retention schedules, as well as tracking final disposition of records and advising all entities on what records to keep permanently.

How can you ensure the State’s response to COVID-19 records are kept for posterity?

Start thinking about what records you and your agency are creating, and keep all records related to COVID-19.  

What should you save to document your office’s response to the pandemic?

  • Typical written documents:
    • Telework and social distancing plans
    • Reports and memos on work and communications during this time
    • Press releases and press coverage of your unit's response
    • Correspondence showing significant new policies or work practices in place during the pandemic. Correspondence includes letters, memos, and emails. Remember, only save what is produced by your office, not documents that originated elsewhere.
  • Photos, videos, and other visual documents of life in your office ⎼ on-site and virtual. Consider taking a screenshot of your staff video call grid, closed/reduced services signs you posted on your facility, and saving webinars conducted by staff for off-site training. 
  • Social media posts: If you’re communicating with the public, or internally with staff, these would be good records to preserve. State Archives is able to preserve any public facing websites and social media accounts, please contact us to ensure that we have all relevant URLs. 
  • Did your staff mobilize for a cause outside of work, like donating supplies or to a medical facility or food bank or making masks? Take pictures and save correspondence about it.
  • Consider starting one or more COVID-19 files for documents specifically related to this time.  It can be a series in your internal network files, a folder in your email, a folder in Google Drive, and/or a folder for paper files.  
  • If you are able, consider taking time to keep a journal of the day-to-day decisions and challenges your position or office is faced with. Why was a particular decision made? What were some of the factors considered in the decision making process? Accounts from all levels of government are encouraged, not just leadership.

Does this mean we have to send records to State Archives?

  • Not unless you want to! 
  • If you are interested in transferring records to State Archives, please contact us via the email address below. Any records transferred will be subject to an approval process and we will work with you to determine access or other legal restrictions. State Archives is able to take digital and traditional (paper-based) records.

If you have any questions:

Please email dpa_covid19archives@state.co.us with any questions.