Email Retention and Archiving

On December 11, 2018 the SDUSD Board of Education approved a revision to Administrative Regulation 3580 (AR 3580) extending the district’s email retention policy to two years. The IT department will begin enforcement of this policy on March 1st, 2019.

Email Retention Policy

Effective March 1, 2019 district email accounts will no longer retain items older than two years (730 days). The district’s email servers will begin automatically deleting the items once they have reached two years in age on a perpetual basis. This includes all items stored within a mailbox with the exceptions noted below. All district email accounts will be subject to the retention policy including individual employee accounts, school site accounts, departmental accounts, shared accounts and email accounts for any other purpose hosted on the district’s servers.

Items exempted from automatic deletion: Items to be automatically deleted:
Contacts Email messages (both sent and received)
Tasks Calendar Items
Notes Voicemail messages
  Instant Messages
  Deleted Items
  File Attachments
  RSS Feeds
  All other items not specifically listed as exempt


Employees who wish to retain a specific item longer than two years must archive that item on to their local hard drive. As outlined in Administrative Regulation 3580 (AR 3580) and Board Policy 3580 (BP 3580) employees are expected to archive only those items that are essential to the employee’s ongoing work. In addition, items that are classified as a District record according to Board Policy 3580 must be stored in a safe location outside of an email mailbox. Guidelines for when email content may be classified as a record and require archiving is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions: General

Offline Email Item Archiving

PLEASE NOTE: Offline email item archiving in only available when the full desktop Outlook client is used. You CAN NOT archive email using Outlook Web Access (OWA), a Chromebook, a mobile phone or a tablet.

CAUTION: If you modify a mail message or other item, (calendar etc.), you will have to manually move,(drag), it into your archive folder. Auto-archiving WILL NOT move it for you even if you reconfigure the dates in Auto-Archive settings. The exchange retention policy deletes items by true received date, and auto-archive moves items by the modified date. You are responsible for backing up your .PST/OLM (archived folders) and keeping it in the C:\Users\EmployeeID section of your computer’s hard drive.


How to Archive Emails in Windows (v.1.3).pdf

How to Archive Emails on a Mac (v.1.3).pdf

Frequently Asked Questions: Offline Archiving

Frequently Ask Questions: Legal Requirements for Retention of Public Records, including Emails


FAQ: General

Q: How long can I keep items on the district’s email server before they are deleted?

A: Item’s may be kept for two years (730 Days). Once an item reaches an age of 2 years it will be immediately deleted.

Q: When will the new two year storage policy go in to affect:

A: March 1st, 2019.

Q: What items will not be automatically deleted?

A: Contacts, Tasks and Notes stored in your mailbox are the only item types that will not be deleted.

Q: What items will be automatically deleted?

A: All items stored on the district’s email server will be deleted except for Contacts, Tasks and Notes. Items that will be deleted include: Email messages (both sent and received), Calendar items, Voicemail messages, Instant messages, any items in the Deleted Items folder, file attachments, RSS feeds and all other items not identified as excluded (Contacts, Tasks and Notes).

Q: Does the two year policy apply to email accounts that are shared by many users within a department or school site?

A: Yes. The two year policy applies to all district email accounts regardless of their use or purpose.

Q: I need to keep items longer than two years, how can I be excluded from this policy?

A: This policy will apply to all email accounts on the district servers. If you have a need to keep items for longer than two years you must utilize an offline archiving solution.

Q: Do I have to use a district provided email account to conduct district business?

A: Yes. Administrative Procedure 7039 prohibits using a non-district email account for conducting district business.

Q: An email item was automatically deleted. Can the IT department restore it for me?

A: No. While the IT department does perform backups for disaster recovery purposes, those backups are also purged of items older than two years.

FAQ: Offline Archiving""

Q: What is offline archiving?

A: Offline archive is the process of moving email items from server storage to another location such as your computer’s hard drive.

Q: What are the requirements to archive email offline?

A: Any computer with the full desktop Outlook client. You CAN NOT archive email using Outlook Web Access (OWA), a Chromebook, a mobile phone or a tablet.

Q: Where do I get the full desktop Outlook client?

A: All district provided computers, Windows and Mac, come with the full desktop Outlook client preinstalled. If you need the installer to add Outlook to an additional computer, it can be downloaded from (you will need to sign in with your district email account, ID number and password).

Q: Where should I store my offline archive file?

A: For Windows computers we recommend saving your PST file in to your local profile directory (C:\Users\<Employee ID>). To avoid data loss do not save the PST file in to your “My Documents”, “Desktop”, “Favorites”, or “Downloads” folders.

For Mac computers it is recommended to use the default location of ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 201X Identities/Main Identity/

Q: How can I tell if my items have been archived?

A: Browse to your archive folder and verified the content you wish to retain is shown there.

Q: What is the difference between received date and modified date?

A: The received date is simply the date when the message was originally received or created in the mailbox. The modified date is the last time that item was changed. For example, changing the flag status of a message will update the modified date but not the received date.

Q: Does the server use the received date or the modified date to calculate the item age for deletion?

A: The server will delete items that have reached 2 years in age based on the received date.

Q: Does auto-archive use the received date or the modified date to calculate when to move an item to archive?

A: The auto-archive function of Outlook uses the modified date to determine when an item is automatically moved to your archive location.

Q: Can I access my offline email archive from multiple computers?

A: No, the offline email archive is only available on the computer in which is it created.

Q: Can I transfer my offline email archive to a new computer?

A: Yes, however it is the user’s responsibility to transfer this file to a new computer. Please keep track of the location of your offline archive file to ease with this transition.

Q: If my computer’s hard drive crashes will my offline archive be lost?

A: Yes. It is recommended to periodically backup the file to another location in order to avoid loss should the computer’s hard drive fail.

Q: Why can’t I see my offline archive when logged on to my email using Outlook Web Access through a web browser?

A: Offline email item archiving is only available when the full desktop Outlook client is used. You CAN NOT archive email using Outlook Web Access (OWA), a Chromebook, a mobile phone or a tablet.

Q: How do I access my offline email archive from an mobile phone or tablet?

A: Offline email item archiving in only available when the full desktop Outlook client is used. You CAN NOT archive email using Outlook Web Access (OWA), a Chromebook, a mobile phone or a tablet.

FAQ: Legal Requirements for Retention of Public Records, including Emails

Q: What is a “public record?”

A: Anything you are required to keep by law or anything that is necessary or convenient to you in performing your work.

Q: What are we required by law to keep?

A: "Class 1 - Permanent Record," which must be kept indefinitely include: Annual Reports, Official Actions of the Board, Personnel Records, Student Records (what is contained in the cum file) and Property Records

Q: What records are optional for retention?

A: Any record you consider temporarily worth keeping because you need it for future reference is considered an "optional record," which should be kept for three (3) years.

Q: What about emails?

A: There is no legal requirement to keep email communications unless they meet the definition of a “record.”   You should keep those emails which you believe are necessary or convenient for you in performing your job.  Some examples might be: Communications with parents on substantive issues affecting their child or substantive communications with other staff members. On the other hand, emails such as transmittals, informal notes, notices of community or school affairs, and communication regarding personal matters are not records and should not be retained.

Q: Where should I save the emails I need?

A: On your local drive, either in a file created for that purpose or in archives.