This article originally appeared on Campus Safety. To view the original article, click here.
The CARES Act, CRRSA Act, and ARP Act are giving districts an unprecedented amount of stimulus funding to address the impacts of COVID-19. When used strategically, districts can purchase the tools needed to safely reopen, respond to COVID-19, and maintain a safe learning environment long after the pandemic ends.
Below we look at how school safety software can have an immediate impact on your COVID-19 response and a long-term impact on your schools’ safety.
Immediate Need: Health Screening and Contact Tracing
Keeping individuals with COVID-19 exposure risk off campus is necessary to reduce the virus’s transmission. In a recent survey, over 80% of respondents stated health screenings are a top safety priority, but facilitating the screenings, recording the results, and determining the action to come into the school or not can be cumbersome without a streamlined process.
Contact tracing is another top mitigation strategy that can be much more challenging than it needs to be, especially for schools that rely on handwritten visitor logs. Contact tracing requires you to track everyone who enters your buildings and record their information, including when and where they were on campus and their contact information at a minimum.
An automated visitor management system can streamline health screening with remote and on-site screening options that intelligently know what action should be taken. A best-in-class system can also track every individual who signs in, recording details such as their contact information and when and where they were in the school. Schools then have instant access to the information needed to effectively and promptly contact trace should a person who visited their school subsequently test positive, which has happened to nearly 42% of survey respondents.
Long-Term Impact: Keep Unwanted Entrants Out
Every school needs a trusted visitor management system to screen for sex offenders, alert staff of custody issues, provide district-wide reporting, and integrate with an emergency management system. Powerful systems also sync with your SIS so you can track student tardies and early dismissals as well as confirm you’re releasing students to only approved guardians.
Immediate Need: Address Learning Loss
Remote learning has resulted in unfinished learning/learning loss for a countless number of students. Volunteers, tutors, mentors, and other education professionals can help bring students back to grade level and assist with enrichment programs that positively impact students’ academic development while supporting their social, emotional, and mental health needs. There is also an increased need for virtual volunteer programs. Virtual volunteers can build relationships with students and give them personalized attention to ensure they not only succeed in class, but also stay well outside of school hours.
These tutoring and enrichment programs require schools have an efficient method to recruit, screen, approve, and track each volunteer and tutor. A volunteer management system can streamline the application process, track hours, and confirm each volunteer and tutor is safe to work with students through robust background checks.
Long-Term Impact: Streamlined Volunteer Management Process
As schools reopen, more and more volunteers will be needed for various functions and events. The best automated volunteer management systems provide an integrated, customizable online volunteer application, full criminal background checks, volunteer hour tracking, event management, and robust reporting. The most powerful systems integrate with your visitor management system so you can track everyone who enters and ensure an up-to-date sex offender check every time a volunteer signs in for an event.
Immediate Need: Response Management
While schools address and support social, emotional, and mental health needs, it is also important to think ahead and have the tools to respond to student trauma or crises. Whether schools must react to a positive COVID-19 case, a fight in the hallway, or a full-scale campus emergency with multiple first responder agencies, a comprehensive emergency management system with mobile, discreet Team Assist functionality is critical. Team Assist allows teachers to discreetly request assistance from a tailored list of individuals from wherever they are on campus and allows you to keep track of all incidents for robust reporting. The most powerful emergency management systems also have a panic alert system that links directly to law enforcement and first responder agencies so you can get the right help—as quickly as possible—if a situation escalates.
Long-Term Impact: Comprehensive Emergency Management
The right emergency management system can give districts the tools to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any incident. The system should serve as a platform for schools to implement safety protocols and best practices to help staff deliver the right level of response to both small-scale and large-scale events.
Leveraging ESSER Funds to Invest in the Right Software
To address COVID-19’s impact on student and staff wellbeing and overall school safety, schools should consider an integrated software provider that incorporates visitor management, volunteer management, and emergency management into one user-friendly system.
Raptor software helps schools across the country address COVID-19’s impact so that they can focus on reopening and keeping their students, staff, and communities safe during—and well beyond—the pandemic. Raptor is considered an allowable expense for all ESSER funds.
Download this comprehensive guide to learn more about how to use ESSER funds to safely reopen and stay open.