Who’s On Your Campus? Making Visitor Security a High Priority at K-12 Schools

Visitor management software allows K-12 campuses to screen for sex offenders, monitor child custody, track hours worked by volunteers and staff, monitor students who leave school grounds for field trips and provide data on who comes and goes from campus facilities.

<p>Visitor management systems include drop-down menus to simplify information capture.</p>4 Steps to Effectively Using a Visitor Management System

1. The visitor’s ID is scanned, either with an optical character recognition (OCR) device, or a scanner that can read the magnetic stripe or 2-D barcode on the back of the driver’s license. If the visitor has previously been scanned and entered into the system before, a quick search brings up the required information and one click prints them a new photo badge for that day. If not, a scan of the driver’s license captures the visitor’s name, including an image of the visitor that also can be included on his or her badge. 

2. The next step is to capture additional information that is not on the visitor’s driver’s license or other ID. For instance, it may be desirable to know the purpose of the visit, the person being visited, whether the visitor is a parent, school volunteer, contractor or other category of visitor, along with other information. Visitor management systems generally have drop-down menus or check boxes that make it easy to enter this information.

3. Print a customized badge that clearly identifies the visitor. The badge is produced with the information that was scanned or captured during check-in. Schools can create a different style of badge for different categories of visitors to make it easier for staff to tell the difference, for instance, between a volunteer, a contractor or a parent. It is important to choose a system that has a self-explanatory interface and customization features, such as the ability to change the layout of badges. The entire process, from arrival of visitor to the printed badge, should take no more 20 seconds, from start to finish. 

4. The last step is to analyze visitor data, over time, to identify trends and/or operational areas that may need to be explored and improved. Visitor management systems have tools that enable users to generate customized reports and to store and disseminate these reports immediately. There are many potential uses for these reports, including automatically tracking and compiling badged volunteer hours, and verifying the arrival and departure time of outside contractors to ensure that they have been on the job as specified. District administrators can also review the number and types of visitors by location. This helps them examine and verify staffing levels and ensure there is adequate receptionist coverage.

John Murzycki is the director of marketing for EasyLobby, an HID Global business.

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