Safety and security with visitor management systems

Tracking who is on your school grounds, and ensuring they have the necessary paperwork, can be streamlined with visitor management systems.

At the start of any school term, and even more so at the start of a new school year, there will be a mix of familiar and new faces.

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It can be hard to keep track of everyone that is on staff at a school, let alone contractors, parents and other visitors. Knowing with confidence that everyone you see around your school campus is meant to be there is important. And being able to quickly and easily identify anyone who should not be is imperative.

Visitor management systems can help with this and ensure the safety of school students and staff. Usually consisting of hardware like a tablet or similar screen, management systems have many customisable features so the system can be tailored to suit your school’s needs.

Management systems can be used to check visitors in, and issue them with a temporary name tag. Then, anyone who sees this person around the school can be confident that they are authorised to be on site. In the event of an emergency, visitor lists can be easily printed or retrieved on a mobile phone or laptop. All visitors to the site can then be accounted for, along with regular staff and students.

Systems can often be preloaded with important documents and information, for example current working with children check, teacher registrations, workplace health and safety induction, and any other relevant paperwork. Storing information and remembering returning visitors will save time, as people will not need to complete a lengthy check in process every time they visit the school.

Customisable welcome screens can offer a warm greeting to visitors, and alert them to things they need to know to enjoy their visit.

Visitor management systems
Image supplied by Passtab

Some systems allow for contractors to sign in remotely via a mobile app. For large campuses, this will save time as contractors won’t need to visit the main office before moving to their work area. If many contractors are visiting your school at once, remote sign in will save the office or reception area from being inundated with people wanting to sign in. Additionally, this will make sign in possible out of hours when the school office is not staffed, for example for early morning construction work.

And signing in and out can be simplified for school staff. Issuing each staff member with a card that they must swipe when arriving or leaving the school eliminates the need for manual pen and paper sign out books. Similarly, each staff member could be given a code to enter into the management system as they enter or exit the school grounds.

Again, this could prove invaluable in an emergency, as accurate records of who is on campus can be easily accessed. Visitor management systems often have options for more than one portable kiosk to be installed, meaning several sign in points can be set up around the school.

Some systems allow for notifications to be sent via text message or email to select or all staff in the event of an emergency. This could be useful in alerting people off site of the emergency, for example, a teacher accompanying a class on an excursion.

Tracking student movement in schools is essential, and often challenging. Management systems can be used to sign students in and out, and record the information of the parent or guardian who accompanied them.

visitor management system
Image supplied by Passtab

Laura Hunt from Passtab highlighted how visitor management systems can streamline administration tasks. “Time consuming tasks can be automated, such as live-checking visitor accreditations such as Working With Children Checks, categorising visitor types, alerting key personnel, storing, and managing compliance documentation and managing the induction process,” Ms Hunt said.

“All visitor information is easily accessed in a central dashboard where data can be viewed, sorted, and reports run. During a compliance audit, a school visitor management system can run reports and deliver information specific to each state or education groups requirements.”

A school visitor management system has many more customisation options than ones designed for business. “Different schools, particularly when operating within different governing bodies, will be bound by different policy requirements. This means they will need to collect different types of information on arrival, use different naming conventions and have varying induction and compliance obligations. Other customisable options include how staff are alerted, the kind of tap card system they use, the security checks they require and the Student Information System they require integration with.”

Ms Hunt said other customisations for schools include terms of entry questions, visitor inductions, key register, language support, integration with the school’s student information system, incident response processes, and multi-campus configurations.

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