Needless to say, school safety has become a topic that’s more important than ever. In addition to security systems such as video surveillance and access control, a visitor management system can also play a useful role in keeping schools safe.Needless to say, school safety has become a topic that’s more important than ever. In addition to security systems such as video surveillance and access control, a visitor management system can also play a useful role in keeping schools safe.
School safety has become gained more importance in recent years, especially after all the school shootings in the United States. Among the more infamous incidents, the Columbine High School shooting of 1999 in Colorado stands out where two teens, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and one teacher. More recently, a shooting at a high school in Florida in 2018 left 17 people were killed and 17 others injured. Both tragedies serve as painful reminders that school safety should never be taken lightly.
Whereas schools are attended by students, teachers and staff, they are also visited by parents, contractors and others. Keeping track of who is visiting the school, therefore, has become more vital. For the longest time, paper and pen logs were used, but this method has various limitations. For example, people can put down fake information, and their handwriting may not be so legible. An electronic visitor management system, then, can come in handy in this regard.
Benefits of such a system, according to a blogpost by Swipedon, are manifold. “It provides information and details of who is inside your school’s premises, giving you an electronic ‘paper trail’ of the visitors entering your institution,” it said. “A visitor management system can also form part of your institution's first line of defense. Everyone must log in their details before entering. Even their photo can be is captured by the system to easily identify who is entering your school – giving an added layer of security. More importantly, if the school or property has a gated entrance, a policy can be implemented where visitors are only allowed to enter the premise with a printed visitor ID badge.”
Key features of a school visitor management system
So what are the key features that should be included in a school visitor management system? According to a blogpost by Teamgo, efficient visitor logging is one of them, a feature that allows easy capturing and input of the visitor’s name, phone number, address, photograph and other details. Further, the system should be able to print out visitor ID badges with an expiry date, and revoke the card’s access privilege after that date, to prevent misuse.
There must also be a way for the visitor management system to do a background check for the visitor. “Screening visitors is the most important security feature necessary for schools. The school administrator should be able to create and maintain a list of previous offenders within a visitor management system,” the post said. “Visitor management systems should alert the school’s administrator when an offender is trying to enter school and be able to block the person from gaining access.”
Also according to the post, the system should sent out mass alerts in the event of an emergency such as fire, exchange of gunfire and the presence of sex offenders. Since the visitor’s phone number has been registered, he or she can also receive text alerts concerning the emergency.
Finally, as a school maintains multiple systems, data integration with these systems to the visitor management system is also key. “You should be able to integrate a visitor management system with other systems within your school. Every school has its own software systems, hence a visitor management system should provide a standard API framework to integrate with them,” the post said.