School Physical Security: 5 High-Impact Strategies

physical security for schools

School leaders need to maximize the impact they can generate with the resources, time and people they have. Often, school leaders are constrained by limited budgets, small IT teams and a larger and growing base of users. Despite these challenges, many IT leaders in the education space are deploying high–impact strategies to ensure that they can create maximum impact and keep their schools safe and healthy.

1. Unify Technology Systems On One Platform

Today’s schools are more complicated than ever. More learning devices and tools, more health considerations, more school technology systems and, most importantly, more student and faculty needs. In such a rapidly changing environment, school and education IT leaders need to ensure that they stay ahead and stay informed.

Leaders in the IT and education space are working to use school and smart building technology to inform these needs. By unifying video security, environmental health and safety sensors, physical access control, guest check in and more behind a single pane of glass, leading schools can stay on top of changing needs and ahead of the next big thing.

2. Use Physical Security Devices For Proactive Insights

With every device unified on a single platform, it is possible to better uncover and act on insights. With a single platform for physical security, IT leaders have more tools to understand their environments and activities.

Support Policy Compliance

With environmental sensors, for example, IT leaders are able to detect and prevent student vaping and smoking. By placing an environmental sensor in a bathroom, locker room, or other area where vaping is popular, leaders can get real–time notifications and alerts to detect and prevent vape events.

Monitor Events and Get Proactive Alerts

With information behind a single–pane–of glass, IT leaders can also receive proactive alerts to detect and assess events.  Integrated security systems makes it possible to detect and assess loud noises potentially indicating a fight, motion or tailgating near school entrances indicating potential safety risks, and more.

Understand Access Trends and Space Utilization

With unified access control and video security, school leaders are able to better understand how their spaces and schools are being utilized, from attendance verification to space utilization and ensuring personal safety.

3. Create An Automated, Real-Time Physical Security Response Plan

Beyond better understanding what is happening in your environment, having a network of smart devices allows IT and school leaders to better prepare for and respond to emergency scenarios. From proactive preparation to automated alerts and real–time response, having a physical security layer on top of your school environment can help ensure the health and safety of your school.

Integrate Technology Into Incident Response Plans

Incident response plans– from fire drills, to lockdowns, building evacuations and more–require a dedicated infrastructure to plan, prepare for and monitor for emergency scenarios. Many schools have response plans written on paper on a shelf, but IT and school leaders take those plans a step further and integrate them with technology to have a real–time incident response procedure.

physical security response plan

4. Health And Safety Start At The Door

School safety and access are often well managed–over 95% of K-12 schools in the US have some form of access control on their exterior doors during school hours. Beyond securing doors, however, IT and school leaders are working to ensure health and safety by building seamless physical safety and entry systems within their schools. From keeping doors secure to making guests and visitors feel welcomed, it all falls under the purview of school leaders.

Securing Every Door

School leaders take a proactive, layered approach to physical security. The outermost layer of a campus–sporting fields, campus perimeters, parking lots–are often secured with video security and alarm systems. The secondary layer–the exterior doors of schools–are secured by physical access control systems with dedicated user privileges and logged access events. The inner most layer–classroom, library, office doors and more–are then secured by wired locks that can ensure safety and convenience for teachers and students alike.

Secure Guest Management

Beyond making the school entry and physical access experience secure for students and faculty, school leaders go further to greet and securely check-in guests to the school. From COVID screening and safety to background checks and more, proper guest management is a must. Beyond security, guests need to have a simplified approach to visiting a school safely. From check in to badging, the process can be automated to ensure a secure, seamless experience.

5. Scale Your IT Team By Empowering Users

A frequent limiting function of school IT teams is sheer headcount. Many schools or districts have a small IT team of 1–5 users per school or district. For these IT teams, doing everything is impossible, but the needs of students and school safety remain. A key way school and IT leaders are starting to address these concerns and challenges is by empowering non–IT users to be more involved and active in using the technology systems and capabilities that a school has deployed. 

With easy–to-deploy and use cloud technology, IT leaders can install systems and then configure dedicated profiles or systems for individual teachers, school-wide principles, or Superintendents. From day–to-day monitoring of video events and notable alerts to utilizing physical security systems in an emergency scenario, school leaders are doing more with their systems by putting these powerful, yet intuitive, systems in the hands of users across their schools.

Need Help? Contact Pollock Company

If your school or organization needs help assessing your existing system, determining your needs, or exploring modern physical security solutions, Pollock Company can help. Contact us today to request a free assessment.  We’re ready to support your goals and help keep students, staff, and the facility safe. 

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