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The Top 5 Reasons You Need a Visitor Management System Purpose-built for K-12 Schools

Managing visitors is one of the biggest headaches—and risks—for K-12 schools. A visitor management system can eliminate manual visitor logs, keep your school compliant, and most importantly, protect your students.

While there are a number of visitor management systems on the market, the majority of traditional systems schools are using today are not designed for K-12 but instead for businesses that have a completely different set of operational and security requirements.

Here are the top five things you should look for in a school visitor management system:

Additionally, we’ll close this article with a complete checklist you can use to ensure a visitor management system fits the unique needs of modern K-12 schools.

1) A solution that covers K-12’s unique risk profile

Schools have unique risks and higher stakes than a business. Here are four key things to look for:

  • Registered sex offender checks. There are over 750,000 registered sex offenders in the United States and it’s critical to have a solution that checks a national database and provides instant alerts for matches.
  • Custody issue support. According to the FBI, the number of non-custodial parent abductions increased by 5x from 2010 to 2012 alone. You need a solution built to handle authorized pickup data and ensure your staff is aware of non-custodial risks.
  • Integrated security cameras. In an emergency, every second counts. A true school visitor system offers LPR cameras to proactively alert your staff when a known bad actor or non-custodial parent arrives on your campus.
  • Emergency attendance data.  In case of an emergency, school administrators and teachers should have real-time data available to quickly account for students, visitors, and staff without logging into a separate system.

2) A software, tablet-based solution

Many visitor management systems on the market require expensive proprietary hardware. Proprietary hardware comes with four core challenges:

  • Cost. Not only is proprietary hardware expensive, but it’s also a sunk cost if the system isn’t the right fit. For a school that needs to make every dollar count, it’s important to choose a solution that runs on a tablet so you can continue to use it if you need to switch solutions.
  • Reliability. It’s pretty common for proprietary hardware to malfunction, causing unexpected costs and headaches. This possibility can be greatly reduced by utilizing a trusted solution like the iPad.
  • Slower innovation. With a software-based solution, the new version automatically updates. No waiting, hardware upgrades, or IT necessary.
  • Siloed data. The effectiveness of a visitor management system is limited if it operates in a silo. A hardware-based solution is often difficult to integrate with your other platforms.

3) A mobile solution

Often, visitor management systems are not mobile and must operate in a single location. This works at a business where the reception desk is at the front door, but not at a school. One example is an after-school program such as a sports event. It’s usually not practical to funnel everyone through the office. It’s important to choose a solution that can operate wherever you need it – all you need is an internet connection.

4) Flexible sign-in options

Schools have a diverse group of visitors, including parents, volunteers, contractors, substitutes. Facilitating this requires more than a one-size-fits-all sign-in process.

  • Customizable sign-in processes. Look for a solution that allows you to collect different information for each visitor type and provide specific terms of entry.
  • Streamlined options for repeat visitors. Some visitors, like volunteers, come often. Look for a solution that offers digital IDs, QuickPins, QR/barcodes, RFID cards, or HID/NFC cards. This saves you, and your volunteers a lot of time.
  • Group-level sign-in/sign-out and pre-registration. Your solution should allow visitors to pre-register. This saves a lot of time at school events and allows you to bulk print badges ahead of time.

5) Value beyond visitor management

The technology behind a modern visitor management system can, and should, do much more than manage visitors. Your system should connect and track the movement of your entire K-12 community. The same interface can be used to manage attendance, late arrivals, and early dismissals.

  • Attendance. Students can sign in upon arrival using digital IDs, QuickPins, QR/barcodes, RFID cards, or HID/NFC cards to streamline and simplify attendance. All data should be automatically pushed to your SIS.
  • Late arrivals. When students arrive late, your solution should automatically inform teachers and parents and print tardy slips.
  • Early dismissals. When students need to leave early, your system should automatically print a dismissal slip and confirm the adult picking them up is authorized by the custodial parent.

The complete visitor management system evaluation checklist for schools

The five points above are just a few of the features a visitor management system for modern K-12 schools must have. To get the complete list, click below to create a copy of “The complete visitor management system evaluation checklist for schools.”

Introducing SchoolPass – A visitor management solution purpose-built for modern K-12 campuses

The disconnect between the traditional visitor management solutions on the market and the needs of the modern school is the reason we built SchoolPass Visitor Management.

SchoolPass Visitor Management is a flexible, software-based solution that runs on an iPad. Our 5 layers of student-centered safety methodology protects your campus from the unique risks and challenges faced by K-12 schools.

Are you ready to simplify your visitor management with a purpose-built solution? See SchoolPass in action today with our two-minute on-demand demo.