Fall 2021 Will Be Busy on Campus; Prepare for It With a Safety App
It’s entirely fair to expect that on-campus population levels will reach at least 80% of their “normal” levels come September. Prepare for the return of your stakeholders with a custom branded safety app.
As a wise person once said, necessity is the mother of invention. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the North American lockdowns related to COVID-19, it’s remarkable to think that we not only have multiple vaccines, but also that almost 10% of the US population is vaccinated. This pace of inoculation is set increase, setting the stage for what will be a busy Fall 2021. It’s entirely fair to expect that on-campus population levels will reach at least 80% of their “normal” levels come September.
This is good news. On-campus learning makes for richer experiences for students, contributes positively to student and staff mental health, and is important for a functioning society. 
But this doesn’t mean a return to the “good old days” entirely. The new concerns of contact tracing, self-assessment tools, and other medical screening elements will meet the old physical security concerns of access control, emergency notification, and end user personal safety. Put bluntly, September will be the first moment where the “rubber hits the road”; it will be important that your emergency management teams are ready.
In particular, your team will need to be able to scale the innovative tools developed during the pandemic for the entire campus population. For example, it seems entirely likely that students, faculty, and staff will continue to need to self-assess again for COVID-19 symptoms (or perhaps, if they’ve been vaccinated) for the foreseeable future in order to get access to your premises. The AppArmor Safety and COVID-19 app platform makes it possible for your team to provide a highly configurable self-assessment questionnaire with dynamic outcomes via a custom branded app and website site.
Specifically in terms of scaling, the AppArmor systems easily scale to meet the needs of large numbers of users. As an example, Virginia Tech, an institution that recently switched from another safety app vendor to AppArmor, made their app “Hokie Safe” and its self-assessment tool mandatory. After just two weeks, the app was downloaded over 22,000 times. Virginia Tech is one of hundreds of institutions on the reliable and award-winning AppArmor platform.
Other institutions have also directly connected the outcomes of end user COVID-19 self-assessments to their access control and/or “one card” systems. In using our reporting API, these particular institutions made it such that if a user declared that they may have symptoms of COVID-19, they would be programmatically denied access to buildings on campus – that is, their “one card” would be disabled. This is obviously another way in which our platform can work with other in-market vendors to improve scaling to a full campus population.
In some cases, the innovative new technology can also lend itself to “pre-COVID” needs. One example of that is with mass notifications; continuing on the example from Virginia Tech, that institution now has the ability to trigger an instantaneous mobile app push notification to all (or subgroups) of their 22,000 users. The tool has also been integrated into their emergency notification system vendor so that their emergency team can trigger an alert from another system. Fundamentally, Virginia Tech gained a brand new and extremely effective channel for emergency alerts.
Other institutions have opted to add alerting options from our award-winning emergency notification system, AppArmor Alert, on to their highly downloaded safety app. This includes adding mass SMS, Email, Voice Call, Desktop Notifications and over a dozen more notification options.
Security administrators know that with greater numbers of people come greater numbers of incidents. With the mass return of individuals to campus, it’s very likely that students, faculty, and staff will require additional personal safety support. The AppArmor platform, either through Panic Button, Friend Walk, or our WorkAlone functionality provide a number of tools to both help end users get help when they need it and protect themselves without the assistance of on-campus emergency services.
There’s no doubt that September 2021 will be both an exciting and challenging time for all institutions. However, an AppArmor Safety app can provide the tools, reliability, and functions to better prepare your campus.
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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!