Access Control During COVID-19
Recommendations for Access Control during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Outlined by Mike Johnson, CEO of Clearpath Alerts and Kevin Lloyd, Director of Together School addressing three primary areas for Access Control: Strategy and Policies, Arrivals and Dismissals, Movement on Campus.
As schools reopen, access control has become one of the most important factors enabling schools to reopen, stay open and protect the health and safety of students and staff. Access controls should be implemented based on policies and together facilitate approved access to a school or parts of the school.
The importance of an effective Access Control Policy for COVID-19 is that it supports necessary transparency of information while protecting privacy, it reduces transmission of the disease, it supports regulatory requirements and ultimately it provides peace of mind among students, parents and staff that they can return to a safe school. The following recommendations for access control are:
Strategy and Policies
- Schools should have written and enforced access control procedures that address who can come to the campus, when and for what reason. Rules for denying access should be well documented and include the procedures when access is denied. This document should address students, parents, staff, and vendors/suppliers.
- New policies and procedures need to be carefully considered to:
- not create new vulnerabilities
- not conflict with other policies such as students storing personal items in lockers
- New policies should be medically prescreened to ensure compliance without adding unnecessary inefficiencies.
- Privacy issues need to be considered when enforcing new policies and restricting access.
Arrivals and Dismissals
- Arrivals and dismissals are no longer a matter of opening your doors and letting people come and go. Considerations need to be in place for screening, spacing, and registering every person that comes to campus and leaves campus.
- Schools should have a procedure for how parents will drop-off and collect students, as well as how buses will be unloaded and loaded. Capacity of parking, traffic and other items will be a factor here.
- Use of an external or dedicated staging area should be considered if the school will screen students before arriving.
- An isolation area for those denied entrance for a failed screening should be considered, and privacy should be a consideration here.
- Protecting and empowering staff who are admitting people to the campus is very important.
Movement on Campus
- Limit access to different buildings or sections of campus based on necessity. Document who has been where and when to support contact tracing.
- Consider how you will manage the flow of people in hallways, the use of stairwells and elevators.
- For bathrooms, consider assigning bathrooms to specific groups / classes.
- Consider how you will use your canteen and allow access in cohorts that align with other school groupings.