How Technology Plays a Pivotal Role in School Security
Technology is increasingly being used in classrooms to teach, but it can also help school security. Students, parents, and faculty alike want to ensure a safe learning environment.
Research has shown clear and obvious findings that when students are learning in a safe environment, they tend to have better learning experiences. The same goes for teachers who feel better about teaching in their school when there is a safer learning environment present.
Scott Emerick and Eric Hirsch published a report in 2007, "Teacher Working Conditions Are Student Learning Conditions: A Report on the 2006 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey." In this report, Emerick and Hirsch found that working conditions for teachers not only affects how students learn, but working conditions also affect teacher retention rates. School safety measures are threatened when there is an unsafe environment to teach and learn.
Technology can assist educators greatly in school security efforts, says Tim Rego, Senior Project Manager of the Philadelphia Local Business Unit.
"When it comes to school safety, our goal is to understand the requirements, needs, and the challenges of the school and provide a solution to them," Rego said.
4 Must-Have Technologies that Improve Security in School
Technology can play a pivotal role in school security and ultimately in improving working and learning conditions. Schools can leverage innovative technology to protect students from violence, theft, malicious online threats, and even protect from pandemics.
These are the four must-have technologies that can improve security in schools.
Video Surveillance Systems in Schools
One of the most important physical security technologies for schools is video surveillance systems. Today, when acts of theft, bullying, violence, and other crimes occur on school grounds, a video camera is surely watching at all times.
But having a few surveillance cameras installed around a school building won't cut it.
Video surveillance cameras must also have a reliable video management system to record an entire school year and easily export video files. Video management systems today are able to detect acts of aggression, integrate with access controls to prevent intruders, and connect with school PA systems to alert students and staff.
Network Infrastructure for In School & Remote Learning
Another security measure that schools should address is network infrastructure and cybersecurity.
With schools split between in school and remote learning, network downtime isn't allowable. One of the biggest challenges facing educators is keeping students connected virtually while they learn from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having a reliable network infrastructure is crucial to keeping students and faculty connected when learning remotely. A school's network infrastructure must also be secure and prevent malicious threats to students or faculty.
An experienced solutions integrator will help consult your school's IT team and administrators on how they successfully design, deploy, and manage a large network infrastructure.
Fire Alarm Systems & Vape Sensors
Fire alarm systems are an important part of a school's physical security system. Fire alarms today need to do more than just detecting fires. A school's physical security systems are all encompassing, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, video surveillance systems, and access controls.
Fire alarm systems need to integrate with the school's security system to quickly detect and prevent the spread of fires and smoke in the building. After safely removing students and faculty from fire damaged areas, school security systems with integrated access controls can immediately close off particular wings of school buildings to prevent fires from spreading.
Providing routine testing, integration, and maintenance to fire alarm systems is crucial to ensuring no fire or smoke starts without detection. Another kind of air pollutant that technology can now detect is vape fumes.
E-cigarettes and vaping devices are becoming a growing problem for educators nationwide. According to the American Lung Association, these products can often contain nicotine, propylene glycol, carcinogens, and other harmful chemicals that can cause bodily harm.
"One of the newest technologies we're implementing in schools are vape sensors," Rego said. "These sensors look similar to small speakers but detect vaping and smoke fumes. We install the sensors near restrooms, stairwells, and other areas students try to go to vape or smoke discreetly on school grounds."
When the vaping sensor detects the aerosol, an email alert is sent to school security and administrators letting them know where exactly the fumes were detected. Then it's up to faculty to stop the students in the act and deter them from using the product on school grounds.
Keep Students Safe with Pandemic Mitigation Technology
Protecting students while giving them a safe learning environment is number one priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools are able to bring students back to the classrooms, keeping them safe from the virus is crucial.
Luckily, there is pandemic mitigation technology for schools.
3 Technologies that Make Pandemic Mitigation Easier in Schools
Detecting elevated temperatures for possible signs of fever is easier using thermal technology. TempWatch detects elevated temperatures to 1/10th degree and alerts staff when a student or faculty member has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and above. When TempWatch is integrated in multiple cameras, schools can monitor temperatures throughout the school day and not just once when students arrive in the morning.
"Video surveillance cameras with TempWatch can watch for students congregating too closely and then the school's PA system can tell the students to social distance," Rego said. "With using access controls and surveillance cameras schools can identify which students or teachers have come in close contact with someone who now has an elevated temperature."
Schools needing help with contact tracing and implementing social distancing guidelines should look to ContactWatch as a solution. Students and faculty wear small devices either in a lanyard or around their wrist. When students or faculty come within six feet of each other, their wearable device makes an audible sound to help keep persons further apart physically.
This automatic, touchless hand sanitizing dispenser with a digital display is an easy solution for schools. As schools allow students to return to the classrooms, students and faculty can use NoviTizer to fight the spread of COVID-19 in their school.