Woman wearing a medical mask covering her mouth and nose that has been scanned by a temperature sensing facial recognition camera; her body temp (100.6 degrees) is displayed, as is a note that a mask as been detected.

School officials must provide a safe environment for their students and teachers and protect them from all manner of threats. Not all threats are related to physical violence, however. The COVID-19 coronavirus has emerged as the latest threat to public health that schools must now guard against.

How can schools protect against the dangerous coronavirus? Part of the solution lies in temperature scanning technology.

Why Building Security is Important to Schools

The importance of enhancing the security of school buildings is paramount in school districts across the country. Historically, acts of violence have been the primary threat the safety of students, teachers, and staff.

The School Survey on Crime and Safety found that there were almost a million violent incidents in U.S. public schools during the 2017-2018 school year. More than 10,000 of those incidents involved an attack with a weapon; there were also 132,500 incidents of theft and 100,600 incidents of vandalism.

It is imperative for students, parents, teachers, and staff that schools provide a safe and secure environment at all times and for all events. This requires schools to employ necessary security measures to deal with all likely threats.

Schools today utilize a variety of approaches to secure their facilities. Some schools use security gates and hardened entrances to control access to their buildings. Most use security cameras, some use metal detectors, still others require students, guests, and even faculty and staff to wear badges or picture IDs. The goal is to keep unauthorized visitors out of the building and to monitor suspicious behavior.

Building Security in the Age of COVID-19

In the age of the COVID-19 coronavirus, building security is about more than preventing physical violence. Building security today has been expanded to include more stringent preventative health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. These measures can include requiring all students and staff to wear face masks, performing background checks, and using temperature scanners to check for individuals with abnormal body temperatures.

How Thermal Scanners Work

Temperature-sensing cameras include sensors that record the heat generated by a person’s body. In some cases, temperature is calculated based on a “black box”—a unit programmed to maintain a steady temperature baseline in order for the camera to continually maintain calibration. The camera recognizes the black box in frame and calculates the temperature of other elements based on the difference between the subject and the black box. Different temperatures are represented visually by different colors; hotter areas are highlighted in a distinct color.

Individuals infected with COVID-19 typically experience higher than normal body temperatures—101 degrees or more. A temperature-sensing camera can be configured to detect abnormally high body temperatures and sound an alert to staff.

Thermal Scanning Solutions for Schools

CDS Office Technologies offers a variety of temperature scanning solutions for schools and businesses. These solutions combine state-of-the-art temperature sensing and facial recognition cameras, kiosks, and security gates with entry/access systems to prevent potentially compromised individuals from entering the building.

A school need only set up one or more of these scanners at the main building entrance. Students walk through the scanner and the temperature-sensing camera scans for elevated body temperature. If there is no indication of a fever, the student is allowed to enter the building. Some units also use facial recognition software to detect whether the student is wearing a face mask.

Applying CARES Act Funds for School Health Initiatives

Local schools may be able to purchase these thermal scanning solutions with funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted by U.S. Congress in March 2020. The CARES Act includes a $30.7 billion Education Stabilization Fund earmarked for states to spend on coronavirus-related activities; $13.2 billion of this fund is set aside for K-12 schools. There is also a separate $3 billion Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund that states can use for school districts “significantly impacted” by the virus.

Illinois public schools are expected to receive $570 million of the funds for K-12 schools. The state will receive another $108 million for the governor to allocate. These funds must be spent by September 2022.

The law lists a dozen allowable uses of the funds. These include purchasing educational technology for distance learning, coordinating with local health departments, and planning for long-term closures. The funds can also be used to purchase cleaning and sanitizing supplies and to broadly provide principals with resources to address the needs of their individual schools.

Turn to CDS for Your School’s Thermal Scanning Solutions

If your school is planning for the return of students this fall, you’re probably looking for solutions to protect the faculty and student body from possible COVID-19 infection. One of the most effective ways to do this is by employing one or more temperature scanners at the school’s entrance. CDS Office Technologies offers a variety of thermal scanning solutions, from handheld units to large, metal-detecting security gates equipped with facial recognition and temperature scanning. Let our trained staff help you find the right solution for your school.

Contact CDS Office Technologies today to learn more about thermal scanners for your school.

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