Back to school time is an important event for the entire community. And it’s important that we’re prepared to keep everyone safe.
Students are back in class. Teachers are working on lesson plans. Administrators are working with budgets, school bus routes, staffing, and school safety concerns. Parents are coordinating work and school schedules, car pools, and support for their student’s activities and studies. Businesses are equipping families, teachers, and administrators with the supplies they need for a successful school year.
Be ready and keep these safety topics in mind:
Traffic and Buses
Remind your community to be cautious in traffic. All travelers must be mindful of school traffic zones, especially during the morning hours and early afternoons. They must stay vigilant about potential hazards around our schools and in neighborhoods.
School buses are back on the road. Be aware of school bus routes in neighborhoods and throughout daily travel. Leave plenty of time and space for buses. With school traffic, anticipate delays and leave early. When approaching a school zone or school bus, be prepared to stop for bus and pedestrian traffic.
Consider a public awareness campaign to set community expectations and best practices for the start of school.
Access and Identification
Access control and door hardware devices may be used to keep doors secured until a visitor can be positively identified. Be sure parents, visitors, and vendors are prepared to show identification when coming to the school. Verify safety procedures and security policies with staff that monitor exterior doors.
System Functionality Checks
- Verify that all safety and security systems are operating properly:
- Test fire alarm pull stations and bells.
- Test intrusion detection codes and keypads.
- Verify that exterior doors are secure from the outside and allow free egress from the inside.
- Look at all security cameras to make sure you can see live and recorded video with proper time/date stamping.
- Make sure fire doors operate properly.
Test public address systems for volume levels. Consider the volume required during an actual emergency versus normal daily communications.
Drills and Emergencies
Schools will be practicing emergency drills early in the year. Preparation for evacuation and shelter-in-place events will be underway. Communicate before and after drills to ensure everyone understands what to expect and what to do in case of an emergency.
Students will need to know when to shelter, when to evacuate, and when to confront a hazard. These reactions will be different depending on the situation, student age, school policies, and local police guidelines.
Parents need to know how they’ll be notified in the event of an emergency and what to do when notifications are received. They’ll need to know where students can be picked up when normal access to the school campus isn’t possible. Be sure their contact information is up to date and entered into the emergency notification system data base.
With the growing number of incidents across the country, students and parents may be facing emotional challenges related to drills and actual events. Be sure that teachers, parents, staff, and students have resources available for emotional support. Even a simple emergency drill can drum up emotional and traumatic memories.
Student, staff, and teacher information is highly sensitive. Personal information on servers and in cloud storage must be secure amidst growing cyber threats. As a first layer of data protection, local network infrastructure and computer hardware must be physically secured. Communicate with IT staff about best practices and current IT policies. Update students, parents, and staff on password protection and other personal cyber security measures.
Last Minute Assistance
When it’s time to open the school doors, remember that Vision offers security solutions uniquely designed for your school’s needs, such as access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection, smart cards, and emergency call boxes.
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