After a spate of violence at schools across the country in recent years, officials at the Ballston Spa School District in New York State, located 25 miles north of the state capital Albany, decided that paper sign-in logs were no longer sufficient to provide the information needed to understand and manage visitors to their schools.
The School Board and administration wanted an easy way to issue photo ID badges and compile data on who comes and goes from their buildings. Of particular interest was the ability to provide photo ID badges to visitors so that a badge could be matched to the person wearing it. They also wanted to be able to keep a comprehensive historical log on dates, times, and identification of visitors.
After deciding that only an automated database could address their needs, school district officials deployed a visitor management system from EasyLobby. “The interface is very self-explanatory, and features such as the ability to change the layout of badges are very helpful.,” says Edwin Martin, the school district’s Coordinator of Facilities and Security. “We were able to customize the system to our needs.”
The District now signs in visitors by scanning a photo ID, usually a driver’s license. If the visitor is known to the receptionist and has already been scanned and entered into the system before, a quick search brings up the required information and one click prints a new photo badge for that day.
“From a security perspective, we now can reliably track everyone who visits, from arrival to departure, and issue temporary photo ID badges that our staff now expects to see on all visitors,” Martin says. “From a facilities perspective, we are also able to verify the arrival and departure time of outside contractors to ensure that they are on the job as specified. Our lobby staff can efficiently process visitors in seconds, allowing them to attend to other tasks as needed.”
The implementation of sex offender database screening has also reassured staff and parents that proper controls are in place to monitor all visitors. Because the system is easy to use, staff can be trained in a short time, giving the district more flexibility on who uses the system to log in guests.
Different badges have been designed for various categories of visitors, incuding contractor, parent/guardian, presenter and visitor. “It is quick and easy to apply a category and this feature is useful for sorting and reviewing visitors,” Martin says.
The ability to quickly generate reports recently helped the District review the number and type of visitors by location. This was used to examine and verify staffing levels to ensure adequate receptionist coverage.