School closures and shelter-in-place restrictions have placed huge demands on students, parents, administrators, and teachers. School officials and faculty have shown tremendous agility and dedication in adapting instruction, resource distribution, and meal delivery to keep meeting their students’ needs in the face of the pandemic. This flexibility and innovation, occurring as it has within days of school closures, has significantly softened the potential blow of the outbreak thus far.
We have gathered some of the best recommendations from school districts around the country, including recommendations around the use of automated visitor management as a key tool, and we’re sharing them as you plan to reopen your schools. We believe many of these recommendations will help to minimize the impact of COVID-19 once students return to campus.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL SCHOOLS
- Remember to follow CDC and local guidelines for reopening – Always align your plans with the best available guidance for reopening schools; be sure to consult the latest Centers for Disease Control guidelines as well as those of your local public health authorities.
- Remind everyone to be kind and considerate − Have a plan to provide counseling to those who are stressed or have experienced a loss as a result of the pandemic.
- Develop and implement contact tracing policies and procedures − retain the specific visit details for every visitor, contractor, and volunteer (date, time, location in the building, personnel contacts, and screening results) in an online system. To aid possible in-depth contact tracing efforts of local health officials, be sure to retain these details in a secure, password-protected location for at least 28 days.
- Adapt your reporting and notification policies – Know how you will communicate information about exposures to students’ families, to staff members, and to the community; respect individual privacy.
- Be prepared for a possible second wave − Make the most of lessons learned from the first wave of the virus. Remember what you “wish” you’d have done before closing and what you could have done better in terms of preparation. Have those things ready for a possible second wave.
- Upon entering the school:
- Consider requiring students, staff, visitors, contractors, and volunteers to use face masks and hand sanitizer while on campus.
- Screen every visitor, volunteer, and contractor entering your schools with a set of COVID-19-specific health-related questions.
- Implement a COVID-19 “Hot Line” to allow community members to self-identify as possibly exposed to the virus. Keep records of such calls with your other contact tracing records.
- Restrict entry to each campus building to one door only.
- Maintain social distancing at both the entrance and at the visitor check-in station and keep hard surfaces and fixtures clean and disinfected.
- Physical considerations inside the school
- Maintain social distancing and incorporate clear markings on floors.
- Consider staggering student schedules to maintain good physical spacing.
- Encourage students and faculty to help keep classroom surfaces disinfected.
MODIFYING YOUR VISITOR PROCEDURES
- Proactively alert the community to all new school visitor screening measures.
- Add COVID-19-specific visitor screening questions to your visitor check-in process. Be sure to adhere to district protocols and both local and state health guidelines. Here are some sample questions:
- Have you been exposed to anyone who has been positively diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Are you currently displaying symptoms, such as a fever or dry cough?
- Have you yourself been diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Have you traveled within the last 30 days to any country or urban center considered high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control?
- If practicable and in line with the recommendations of your local health authorities, consider taking and recording the temperature of each staff member, student, and visitor as they enter your building and keep results with your visitor screening records.
- Immediately notify the appropriate administrative and security personnel if any visitor is determined to be an exposure risk. Have a specific procedure in place for escorting the person away from the visitor desk and out of the building.
- Retain all visitor records in a secure, online system for at least 28 days to facilitate contact tracing.
- Modification of computerized visitor check-in procedures in which contact between staff and visitors is minimized and performed at an appropriate distance.
- Add COVID-19-specific signage stating your precautions and policies at the school entrance, in each hallway, and in each common area.
RAPTOR® VISITOR MANAGEMENT: PROTECT YOUR STUDENTS AND STAFF
Automated visitor systems represent a significant improvement over error-prone
and cumbersome paper-and-pencil sign-in logs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, automated visitor management systems, which normally are used to keep dangerous or threatening individuals out of your schools, can also help screen visitors for possible COVID-19 exposure.
Raptor Visitor Management, used by more than 32,000 U.S. schools, is at the leading edge of electronic visitor management as a school screening tool for coronavirus exposure.
The Raptor visitor check-in interface is fully customizable, allowing for COVID-specific screening questions. These customizable fields mesh seamlessly with the system’s alert, notification, and reporting functions to ensure that an individual flagged as a COVID-19 exposure risk will be instantly brought to the attention of your administration and security personnel. Secure, password-protected visitor records are also instantly retrievable for comprehensive contact tracing and communication.
Raptor systems offer badge printers featuring a customizable configuration for such details as the visitor’s photo (taken directly from the ID), name, address, reason for visit, specific destination within the school, date and time of entry, and explicit COVID-19 screening clearance.
The Raptor Visitor Management solution can be run on large or small secure touchscreen kiosks, including built-in ID barcode scanners for instant capture of visitor data, or the system can utilize a school or district’s existing desktop or laptop hardware with an ancillary ID scanner.
During the pandemic, a best safety practice involves placing the ID scanner in a location where visitors can perform the scan without handing the ID over to staff directly. Once visitor entry is approved, a printed visitor badge indicating COVID-19 clearance and the visitor’s destination within the building can be placed for the visitor to pick up at an appropriate distance away from staff, again minimizing direct visitor-to-staff contact. If schools use a self-service kiosk for sign-in, visitors should be asked to sanitize their hands before and after kiosk use, and school staff should have appropriate sanitation supplies to disinfect the device between visitors.
For a more comprehensive look at how automated visitor management—and Raptor Visitor Management in particular—can help you prepare for back to school in the age of COVID-19, download our eBook.