Is a paper visitor log book putting your school at risk? 6 key questions to ask.
Nearly every school has a visitor sign-in/sign-out process. Often, this is a paper-based visitor log book managed by the front office staff or security personnel. But, is this enough to protect your school?
Here are six key questions to find out:
- Do you have a reliable process to identify sex offenders and known bad actors?
- Are you confident in the accuracy of your authorized pick up lists?
- Is your visitor management process compliant?
- Do you have multiple campuses?
- Can you quickly account for visitors in an emergency?
- Is admin work distracting your staff?
#1) Do you have a reliable process to identify sex offenders and known bad actors?
In the United States, there are over 800,000 registered sex offenders. Is a member of your staff manually checking the national registered sex offender (RSO) database before approving each visitor? Does your staff have an easily accessible, current, and accurate list of known risks such as fired staff, expelled high school students, or non-custodial parents?
If not, your school may be exposed to significant risk. A visitor management system can help by automatically scanning each visitor against the national RSO database and your campus watch list.
#2) Are you confident in the accuracy of your authorized pick up lists?
It’s common for schools to collect a list of trusted adults who are authorized to pick up each child. But, managing this list manually can be challenging as updates are often submitted through a combination of emails, calls, and notes.
For example, a non-custodial parent your staff recognizes from past pickups may no longer be authorized to pick up their child. According to the FBI, the number of non-custodial parent abductions increased by 5x from 2010 to 2012 alone. A single misplaced note or lapse in team communication can put a student at significant risk.
With a visitor management system built for schools, custodial parents can update authorized pickup lists from a mobile app, ensuring your staff always has the most recent information.
#3) Is your visitor management process compliant?
Many schools are required to collect and store certain data and records on their visitors. Not only can paper-based visitor management processes be inconsistent and leave room for error in data collection, but they also introduce the risk for the loss or accidental destruction of critical records. If you have any doubt about whether you would be able to supply the required visitor data if it were requested, a visitor management system can help.
#4) Do you have multiple campuses?
When a school has multiple campuses, the shortcomings of a paper-based visitor management process are magnified. For example:
- “Known bad actors” and security risks being may not be properly communicated between each school.
- It’s difficult to know whether your process is being applied in a standardized way at each school, introducing compliance risk.
- Consolidating records into a single place is challenging.
- Searching past records or consolidating the history of one specific person is time-consuming, if not impossible.
If you manage multiple campuses, a visitor management system can help you do all of this and more from a single dashboard, saving time and improving security.
#5) Can you quickly account for visitors in an emergency?
When an emergency occurs, you need to be able to quickly account for every person on your campus. Students, staff, and visitors. Trying to decipher this information from paper logbook during an emergency can lead to inaccurate conclusions and waste precious time during reunification.
With a visitor management system, this information is accessible in just a few seconds. The right visitor management system should come with an integrated emergency management alert system to ensure a fast, effective response.
#6) Is admin work distracting your staff?
A paper-based visitor log book requires your staff to do a lot of manual work. They need to ID each visitor, check the Registered Sex Offender and campus watch lists, verify all information is collected correctly, and then create a badge.
If you’re running lean on admin and security staff, this may be distracting your team from their two most important jobs: Keeping students safe and improving educational outcomes.
A modern visitor management system with a self-service kiosk can automate much of the manual visitor management related tasks so your team can focus on the work that matters most – safety and education.
Think a visitor management system could be right for you?
If you’re interested in a modern visitor management system, it’s important to know that while there are a number of options, many are not designed for K-12 but instead for businesses that have a completely different set of operational and security requirements.
The first step to selecting the right solution for your school is understanding these key differences.
If you’re ready to see a solution purpose-built for the needs of modern K-12 schools, check out this two-minute on-demand demo.
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