West Aurora School District 129 Has Partnered With Raptor

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West Aurora School District 129 Has Partnered With Raptor

As some Chicago area students head back to in-person learning, many parents may be wondering what schools are doing to keep their students and staff safe.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have discovered that their automated visitor management systems can help screen visitors for possible COVID-19 exposure. Traditionally, these software systems screen for sex offenders and alert staff of custody violations. But now, more and more schools are using it to screen persons for COVID-19 exposure, reduce contact during check-in, and facilitate contact tracing.

West Aurora School District in Chicago has been using their visitor management system to screen for COVID-19 for a few months now. I recently spoke with Marti Neahring, Director of Student Services, West Aurora School District 129. Neahring says the district has partnered with Raptor Technologies, a leading provider of integrated school safety technologies for K-12 schools across the United States. The Raptor system monitors visitors, contractors, and volunteers who enter a building and provides instant screening for COVID-19, sex offender status and custody orders. Specifically, for COVID-19, the Raptor system allows schools to screen students, staff, and visitors for potential exposure to the virus by asking specific screening questions and provides detailed contact tracing when needed.

I spoke to Neahring about how they screen visitors:

When did you start using your visitor management system for COVID health screening?

We started using the COVID screening for visitors this past August.

Why did you decide to use it for COVID screening?

We decided to use this method for visitors because it was set up and easy to activate. We are not using the student screener at the present time.

What feedback have you received from parents/visitors relating to the visitor management system and COVID?

The parent/visitor screening is simple and easy to use with our regular screening process.

Is there any form of testing temperatures when a volunteer comes in or if the health screening is not answered correctly?

We are not physically checking temperatures upon entrance to our buildings. We are utilizing the screening questions.

Do you use the visitor management system for its intended purpose to screen for sex offenders and custody issues?

Yes, we do. We’re really happy to be a part of the Raptor community. Raptor continues to enhance its platform and provide us with more user-friendly and trusted options.

If so, what happens when a sex offender is flagged?

If a sex offender is flagged, our building administration and district school safety administrator are notified immediately via text and email. An administrator is then able to make their way to the checkpoint in the case that assistance is needed.

Have you used the visitor management system for contact tracing? If so, how quickly does it work?

We have not but will be looking into this in the near future.

Neahring also says that it’s important to embrace this new normal and continue to look at things a little differently put the lessons learned from this crisis to good use and keep planning.