How Schools Can Reduce Risk while Delivering In-person Learning

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With the fall school semester only a few weeks away, schools at all levels are still grappling with how to manage their student bodies and faculty in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.  Some schools have announced a virtual learning experience in the fall, but many are still hoping to have students on campuses and in buildings. 

The most obvious component is the various cleaning and disinfecting protocols that are being implemented, along with the simple act of wearing masks.  Then there are a variety of tech solutions to help with distancing, temperature checks, self-assessments, and more.  The fact is, though, that none of these solutions is a guarantee against exposure to COVID-19. 

That’s why knowing who is in a school – or any facility, for that matter – is important.  When an infection is confirmed, knowing who was in the building can help with contact tracing efforts.  Sure, there are contact tracing apps, but they only work if everyone opts in, and we know many people have concerns about data privacy when it comes to contact tracing.

Facilitron is a facilities management firm that has developed a suite of products to help schools and other venues manage their sites efficiently.  Now, it has added an Attendee Management feature that help track attendance in classrooms and other school activities – or any activity, anywhere, for that matter – using a touchless registration system.

Using a simple QR code-based system, school administrators can require not only students, but staff and faculty to digitally sign in and out of any building or classroom on campuses. 

The system includes multiple options that can be used for a variety of school-related events:  pre-registration, walk-up registration, and self check-in. 

“This is an essential capability for school districts to easily document events on their campuses and have a record of all the participants who attend those events.”

Jeff Benjamin, CEO, Facilitron

The check-in and out capability allows schools to know exactly who was in any classroom. 

If a student or faculty member contracts COVID-19, the exportable attendee lists include contact information of anyone in classes or attending events with that person, making it easy to contact them to inform them of potential exposure.

“We have a deep and lasting commitment to helping school districts reopen safely.  This feature is an essential part of our mission and it’s our opportunity to give back to schools something that can make their campuses safer now as well as into the future.”

Jeff Benjamin

The uses cases in schools abound.  The system can be used for entry into school facilities, including classrooms, dorms, sports venues, and any other location.  With a unique QR code for each location, and time-stamped entry and exit scans, knowing who is present at any point in time makes identifying potential exposure simple.

While the system does identify when individuals were in various locations in the schools, it doesn’t track every movement outside school venues, like contact tracing apps do, creating less of a privacy concern.

The pre-registration feature makes it easy to manage occupancy mandates for events.  Wait lists can be set up for additional participants if maximum capacity has been reached, but may open up if people cancel or don’t show up. 

Because the app uses QR codes and event-specific URLs, users won’t need to download another single-purpose app – they just use camera on their phones to scan the codes.

There’s no simple answer to opening schools this fall, and there’s certainly no way to completely eliminate risk.  But, for those who are able to open schools to in-person learning, knowing who is in any classroom or at any activity will undoubtedly help minimize exposure when it happens – and it in all likelihood will.