February 15, 2017

Improving Visitor Management for K12 Schools

Visitor Management Systems for schools perform the important task of tracking who is on your campus. They can track when guests arrive, limit where they are allowed to go, control the length of their stay and even screen them against publicly available background data. Simply put, Visitor Management Systems give you control over the guests accessing your campus, a key aspect to keeping your students safe and secure. Here are four tips for improving your Visitor Management processes:
Tip #1 Funnel Visitors to One Location
All school perimeter entrances should be clearly numbered and identified for emergency responders and visitors. Exterior doors should remain locked and require visitors to use a single point of entry into the school building during the school day. This can be difficult in older school buildings that weren’t built with today’s security measures in mind. If the main office is a far distance from the primary entrance, then a security or check-in station should be in place to register visitors before escorting them to the main office.
Tip #2 Implement or Upgrade to Video Intercom Systems with Door Release Capabilities
Video Intercom systems allow for security personnel to validate the visitor while they are still outside of the locked perimeter door. Typically, the visitor would present a valid government issued ID to the video intercom camera and be validated before the door is unlocked for the visitor to enter the building. Some video intercom systems offer the capability to record the facial images from the pin-hole camera onto a larger video management system that may be in place. The pin-hole cameras would otherwise simply stream video back to a master station. Recording the images of visitors offers an additional layer of data acquisition which leverages the system integrity and your investment.
Tip #3 Ensure The Check-In / Check-Out Process is Electronic
Schools all too often continue to use a sign in process with paper-based visitor logs. Leveraging technology is critical to the process and improves security while streamlining operations. Electronic visitor management systems create digital records and reports that can be easily accessed for real-time data, as well as archived and retrieved for investigations that are conducted after an incident occurs. Some visitor systems cross-check the sex offender registry and verify internal watch-lists, ultimately resulting in a safer environment for students and staff.
Tip #4 Consider Pre-Authorizing Visitors
Pre-authorization of visitors can benefit day to day operations for front office staff. More sophisticated video intercom systems even integrate with Outlook and Gmail so that when visitors or vendors accept an invitation, their names are automatically downloaded into the visitor system. They know who is expected, who has been processed, and the staff member who invited them. With more information, a school is more secure.

If you are interested in discussing Electronic Visitor Management Systems, please contact schoolsecurity@kastle.com.