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Returning to School: Maximizing the Pre-Screening Process Using Digital Safety

Kelly Moore
September 4, 2020

As many school districts take on the newly adopted safety process of pre-certifying and screening of staff and students for COVID-19 symptoms, it’s worth noting how a digital approach can make this complicated process much more efficient and secure.

It is important to understand that when a school is required to implement a screening process, they are not only being asked to collect answers to a few questions in order to allow their students and staff to enter the building. In reality, they are being asked to do much more: determine if it is safe for them to enter the school building, collect data to assist in the identification of trends, provide information needed for pre-contact tracing and exposure notification, are students just sick or do they have COVID-19, provide guidance to staff and parents, etc.

While it can pose complicated challenges, pre-screening is still an important practice. Pre-screening is important to verify students and staff are completing the survey for a few reasons: it helps ensure compliance, helps track trends, and assists with pre-contact tracing.

Protecting the privacy of staff and students is a top priority for every school, and this is accomplished through heightened security measures and a secure flow of information. With COVID-19 being so closely tied to health and personal information, it’s critical that information is kept organized and discreet. An approach that uses multiple programs cobbled together or even a hardcopy approach leaves schools vulnerable to data breaches or mishandled information.

Utilizing digital safety technology to approach the issue allows schools to better keep track of who should and should not gain entry to the school. The digital badge system automatically marks the status of each student and staff member based on their digital pre-screening survey. People who are showing symptoms of  illness or need to quarantine will be instructed not to come to school. If, however, someone comes to school who should not have, they will be directed to a secondary screening area where they can be interviewed privately.

With a digital approach, everyone who is entering the school would get a green digital entry badge that can be presented or read by ID or QR scanners. All other badges indicate entry has been denied, without identifying the reason for the denial. Additionally, this is done during the scanning verification process with an audible tone: one sound for entry, and another for denial. During the scanning verification process no information is displayed on the scanning device, you will only hear the audible tone. This allows the information to remain private because it is not visible to anyone else near the scanner.

The digital badge entry method allows for quick and easy verification. It also increases compliance, and reduces the workload for staff responsible for screening students, staff, and visitors wishing to enter the building.

A manual process for screening people for entry into your building can take two to three minutes per person. If you do the math, with two minutes per person, for a school with 500 people who need to gain access to the building, that would equate to 16.6 man hours. In order to get everyone into the building within a half-hour time frame, you would need 33 people to conduct this screening and verification process. Furthermore, with the digital entry badge and the automated scanning process, you can determine who has entered the building on any given day. This will assist with pre-contact tracing if exposure occurs.

If you are interested in learning more about how a digital badge system can improve the safety of students and staff returning to school, I’d recommend taking a look at CrisisGo’s latest development. Safety iPass provides the pre-screening, privacy, and peace of mind needed to confirm the safety status of stakeholders and get them into a safe learning environment.

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