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Summer Break - The Perfect Time to Increase School Safety

By Oliver Barnes, DTI

For students, summer break is a fun time off from classes to relax and recharge. But for school administrators and facility managers, the summer months present a crucial opportunity to evaluate and upgrade security and safety protocols in preparation for the upcoming school year.

With buildings largely vacant over the summer, it's the ideal window to make physical security enhancements without disrupting the normal flow of students, staff, and activities. Here are some of the key safety projects schools should consider tackling over summer break:

Access Control Systems

An effective access control system that restricts entry to authorized personnel is a cornerstone of school security. The summer provides a good time to install new access control technologies like video intercoms, smart card/fob access, or biometric scanners at key entry points without inconveniencing students and staff during the school year.

Video Surveillance Upgrades

Enhancing video surveillance capabilities by adding higher resolution cameras, more comprehensive coverage areas, and updated recording/storage systems is a major undertaking best accomplished during summer's light traffic periods. New camera locations can be optimized and systems can be thoroughly tested before the heavy usage of the school year.

Visitor Management Policies

Review and update visitor policies, check-in procedures, and tracking protocols. Decide if a dedicated visitor management system needs to be implemented to better screen visitors and run background checks. Train staff on the new visitor management plan before classes resume.

Enhanced Mapping

Implementing a detailed and immersive mapping system into a security protocol can aid both school administration and public safety. 3D maps can help train staff and public safety, familiarize individuals with the building, and aid in facilities management protocols.

Risk Assessments & Audits

With school out for the summer, security consultants can perform comprehensive risk assessments and audits without distractions. They can evaluate factors like traffic flow, access points, lighting, alarm systems and make recommendations for mitigating any vulnerabilities identified.

Behavioral Intervention Planning

The extended summer break allows time to thoroughly review past disciplinary records, suspicious incidents, criminal activity, and concerning student behaviors from the previous year. Develop updated threat assessment protocols and behavioral intervention strategies to have solid plans in place for the new school year.

While summer break gives students a chance to recharge, schools should take advantage of the operational lull to recharge their security and safety capabilities. A little proactive planning and implementation over the summer can go a long way toward creating a safer, more secure learning environment for the coming school year.

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