School Security

How to Leverage CARES Act Funding for Upgrading School Security

Scott Wulforst 4 Min Read | July 16, 2020
Students walk toward school doors

As school systems develop new safety and security strategies to ensure a safe reopening, here’s a reminder on how you can leverage the available funds to improve your security program.

How to Leverage CARES Act Funding for Upgrading School Security

This blog post is related to the white paper, “Understanding the CARES Act: What Schools Need to Know”. To download the full white paper, click here.

As new health, safety and security risks continue to impact organizations, many industries have had to adjust the way they operate. The current environment has exposed many areas of improvement for organizations when it comes to safety and security procedures.

Education, for example, is one industry that has had to go back to the drawing board to change procedures, update policies and enhance security measures to ensure a safe learning environment, particularly when preparing for in-person learning to commence in the fall.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act set aside $13.2 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund and $14 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This increase in funding will help schools make investments in technologies that can support their efforts to ensure both students and staff stay safe throughout the reopening process and beyond.

As school systems develop new safety and security strategies to ensure a safe reopening, here’s a reminder on how you can leverage the available funds to improve your security program.

Advanced Student & Visitor Management

The entrances to schools will now require more security in order to enhance the safety of students, staff and visitors. Security solutions like human temperature screening devices and electronic visitor management kiosks are already becoming more prevalent among schools looking for ways to mitigate risks and implement solutions that help limit close contact and prevent the spread of germs.

Human temperature screening solutions, which you can learn more about here, identify elevated skin temperature and can alert your school when a person’s temperature exceeds an established threshold, such as 100.4° F, the CDC’s definition of a fever. While these solutions can’t diagnose COVID-19 or any other medical disease or virus, it can help schools more effectively screen individuals coming in and allow them to take action.

The electronic visitor management kiosk is another solution that’s rising in popularity as schools and other organizations plan for reopening. Instead of pen and paper logbooks for visitors, contractors or vendors, these kiosks allow schools to screen individuals and produce visitor badges without manual management from school staff. This not only improves the check-in process and provides more visibility into those who are on-site, but it also helps reduce person-to-person contact and can minimize the risk of exposure.

Interoperable Communications

During an emergency, timely communication and response can save lives. With an interoperable communications platform, K-12 and higher education schools can seamlessly connect with incident stakeholders – such as law enforcement, hospitals and other educational institutions – to collaborate in real time.

These stakeholders can share voice communications, cellular communications, data and video all on a single, secure platform, meaning there are fewer delays in communication and fewer barriers to a rapid response.

As the CDC advises that schools participate in community response efforts, this type of platform is an easy way to do so. With access to timely information and data, schools can gain greater situational awareness and better communicate both internally and externally.

Cloud-Based Security Solutions

Demand for cloud-based solutions has exploded this year, as schools and other organizations closed and needed to monitor their on-site security remotely.

With remote management becoming a critical feature of security systems, cloud-based tech is an easy answer that allows for more flexibility and ensures that you have eyes and ears on-site even when your campus is closed and staff are off-premises.

Cloud access control is one option that enables schools to easily manage their system remotely, controlling access privileges, updating door schedules, pulling reports and more – all without setting foot on campus.

Another option is cloud video surveillance, which allows schools to access, manage and monitor video surveillance footage from a single, remote platform. This cost-effective, contactless solution increases data security by safely storing videos and eliminating vulnerabilities that come with traditional video surveillance systems.

Finally, as schools reopen and limit the number of external vendors coming on-site, cloud-based service assurance platforms are becoming even more critical, as they can help schools ensure their security systems are functioning properly – and if they aren’t, they can provide alerts that detect, diagnose and recommend solutions to proactively fix these problems.

All of this technology can help schools enhance their safety and security on-site, and the funding made available by the CARES Act can help offset their investments.

To learn more about CARES Act funding available to your school, download our white paper.

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