How Visitor Management Will Play a Critical Role as Schools Start to Reopen

School closures and stay-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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.

MODIFYING YOUR VISITOR PROCEDURES

  • Consider limiting entry to each school building to a single entrance and implement social distancing at that entrance as well as the visitor check-in location.
  • 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 in line with recommendations from state and local authorities, implement temperature checks and keep results with your visitor records. Add a custom sign-in field that can record the temperature of visitors, volunteers, contractors, students, and staff prior to entering the building.
  • Immediately notify the appropriate building, district, and public health authorities if any visitor is determined to be an exposure risk.
  • Retain all visitor records for 28 days in a secure online system to facilitate contact tracing.
  • Add shields, social distancing guidance, and restriction of the number of people allowed at the visitor desk for the protection of office personnel.
  • Modify visitor check-in procedures to minimize or eliminate direct contact between staff and visitors; for example, place ID scanners where visitors can scan IDs themselves without staff having to handle the ID, and place approved visitor badges on a desk at a safe distance for visitor pick-up.
  • Add COVID-19-specific signage stating your precautions and policies at the school entrance, in each hallway, and in each common area.
ADVANTAGES OF AUTOMATED VISITOR MANAGEMENT FOR PANDEMIC RESPONSE

During the COVID-19 pandemic, automated visitor management systems, which are used to keep dangerous or threatening individuals out of your schools, can help screen visitors for possible COVID-19 exposure. The best system will allow for modified sign-in fields to include custom screening questions. Auto-alerts and emergency buttons should be customizable to alert administrators of individuals identified during screening as COVID-19 exposure risks.
 
Visitor management systems with appropriate data gathering and reporting functions make accessing visitor records easy, and this easy data retrieval can facilitate contact tracing when there is a confirmed case and risk of exposure.
 
Good systems print badges for approved visitors, and a best-in-class visitor management system enables customization of badges to include a statement that the visitor has been screened for COVID-19.
 

RAPTOR® VISITOR MANAGEMENT: PROTECT YOUR STUDENTS AND STAFF

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 not only be instantly brought to the attention of your administration and security personnel, but will also have their comprehensive visitor details recorded within the system. Secure, password-protected visitor records are instantly retrievable for comprehensive contact tracing and communication.

Raptor systems offer badge printers featuring a customizable badge 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. Raptor Visitor Management can run on secure touchscreen kiosks or utilize a school’s existing hardware and be leveraged in ways that minimize or eliminate the need for direct contact between staff and 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

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