Educators and students alike were thrown into an experience with very little preparation time, while parents found themselves struggling to balance work and homeschool life.
With the learning loss associated with COVID-19, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) aims to fund schools in order to make up for stolen time. With almost $129 billion dollars for educators to share across the country, decisions on how to use these funds have leapt to the forefront of the education discussion.
This vast amount of money comes with particular requirements pertaining to how it can be implemented by schools. For example, a specific allocation of these funds must be used toward dealing with learning loss from the pandemic and upgrading summer and afterschool programs. The rest is up to the educators themselves, with the only caveat being that the money cannot be used for new building construction.
Upgrading security within schools lost its priority when remote learning was implemented, but now with students returning not only is their physical safety imperative, but their health as well. Educators may not be aware they can use their funding to improve the safety of students without capital investments that impact school budgets or taxpayers.
Technology in the security industry has grown immensely, allowing for some technological advancements such as active shooter and weapon detection, and more recently technologies to help mitigate pandemic-related health risks.
School security mainstays, such as video surveillance and intercom systems, can be enhanced and made easier to use with integrated systems as well. The goal of this relief funding is to allow schools to reopen safely, and what is safer than an upgraded security system?
By leveraging this government funding for security systems, educational facilities can ensure long-term benefits. As the nation continues to navigate its way through the pandemic, security systems can be used for more than simple access control and video surveillance.
For example, certain technologies can assist with occupancy and visitor management, aiding social distancing measures and, in some cases, implement temperature screening. Mask detection contact tracing and remote access control are also ways technology can keep students and faculty safer in a post-pandemic world.
COVID-19 surprised us in 2020 and forced us to adapt in all areas of our lives. Implementing advanced security now can be a major difference for schools, as keeping students and faculty safe remains the utmost priority, pandemic or otherwise.