How to use check-in apps to manage people flows at reopened schools
Right now, many schools and universities around the world share a common question:
“How can students return to the classroom with the essential peace-of-mind that a safe learning environment demands during this COVID-19 pandemic?”
While plenty of schools and college universities have tried virtual online classes as a short-term solution to the virus, most students and educators have come to realize the practice is an unsatisfactory way to carry out the classroom experience.
According to a recent Strada Education Network survey, 72% of Americans now see in-person class time as a vital requirement for effective education.
People simply aren’t learning as well in virtual classrooms as they did in-person before the pandemic began. At the same time, many schools are coming to realize they can’t remain financially sustainable with the lower rates of enrollment that closed classrooms lead to.
From every angle, it’s clear people want to go back to school. But more than anything else, they want to do so under the assurances that their health and safety are being handled with the utmost care.
Fortunately, as schools reopen or look to safely stay open, technologies of the day are providing much-needed answers to these critical pandemic-related concerns.
Keeping schools safe: People flow management complete with check-in apps
People flow management—the practice of regulating who goes where, at what times, and in what ways—is a foremost method that reopening schools can employ to keep their students and teachers safe during these hazardous times.
As a result, now more than ever before, the spotlight is falling on check-in apps like those found in visitor management systems for the indispensable people flow solutions they supply.
Of course, guaranteeing the utmost in health and safety through such systems can seem a tall claim at first. So, let’s look at how today’s check-in apps actually demonstrate the pandemic resolving power that people are celebrating them for.
7 ways people flow management helps schools reopen, and stay open
1. Pre-screenings and touchless check-ins that mitigate health risks.
To help both students and faculty members settle back into their academic lives without worry, people flow management solutions send safety instructions and customizable screening questions to all campus employees, contractors, and visitors to limit potential risks.
Upon arrival, touchless temperature scanners can also be integrated to help mitigate health risks.
In the case of visitors who arrive unexpectedly, they can simply scan a QR code directly from their mobile devices and are taken through a check-in flow, which can include health questionnaires. If any warning signs or symptoms are reported, or questionnaires are simply left unfilled, relevant personnel can be automatically alerted to the situation.
Best of all, these check-in methods are easily carried out in completely touchless fashions. That way, students and staff won’t need to put themselves at risk by touching common surfaces like keypads, door handles, turnstiles, and elevator buttons.
“Proxyclick offers a touchless check-in that's ideal especially for our staff. We don't need multiple hands touching the iPad, which helps against virus transmission. And, thankfully, we have not had an outbreak in our schools to date." - Emma Pritchard, CEO, Black Pear Trust
2. Minimized school access for minimized exposure.
Large gatherings massively increase the likelihood of infection, and therefore, according to health authorities like the CDC, should be avoided whenever possible.
But anyone familiar with campus life can tell you how incredibly crowded school grounds get to be.
This makes it incredibly important for scheduled classes, student housing, and employee workflows to be carefully planned to minimize the chance of person-on-person contact while keeping building capacities under the limit.
The right people flow management solutions integrate with access control systems, ensuring only those pre-registered with QR code access can enter specific areas of the building on the days they need to be on-site.
Employee check-in features allow admins to ensure building occupancy stays at or below the limit (and therefore, social distancing measures can be met).
"In terms of COVID-19, Proxyclick has been helpful in limiting and keeping track of our visitors on-site. One of the great things is that, when you do book a visitor to come in, they get an invitation email that tells them about any privacy notices in the school, or any safeguarding information. It's a really good system that enables us to do all of that." - Emma Pritchard
3. Real-time monitoring that supports health guidelines.
For the highest levels of campus security, and to best reduce the possibility of unexpected outbreaks, it helps to know who is on location at any given moment. It is also especially handy to be able to track whether they are following school safety regulations correctly or not.
In addition, real-time monitoring of all those on campus helps schools stay compliant with fire safety protocols - they’ll have an accurate list of everyone who was in the building to ensure they reached safety.
"Proxyclick gives admin staff clear insight around who's coming into school each day. It's enabled us to keep track of who's checked in, who's planning to come on-site, and it's done everything we've wanted it to do. We're pleased with the system." - Emma Pritchard
4. Secure and private data handling.
In many countries and regions, remaining compliant with data privacy laws, particularly amidst a pandemic, means that any sensitive personal information or health data collected from staff and students must be stored securely if stored at all.
The right people flow management solution will include features to allow schools and other entities to only store data for as long as it’s needed, especially for contact tracing.
With Proxyclick, for example, automatic data deletion in the system allows users to set all data to delete after a specified number of days, in compliance with local or national data privacy regulations. And for certain data, like temperature scan readings, the system doesn’t store it at all.
5. Additional peace of mind.
Students need their health to be taken seriously. When campuses demonstrate that they’ve adopted cutting-edge technologies to help limit the spread of the virus, it goes without saying that those academic institutions provide peace of mind to parents, staff, students, as well future students, and teacher recruits.
The importance of presenting a responsible safety-focused image cannot be stressed enough here, as two-in-three teachers along with 62% of parents hold significant concerns about students returning back to the physical classroom.
Putting it plainly, as schools continue to reopen, students, school employees, and parents are increasingly seeking out facilities that clearly prioritize safe working and learning environments above all else.
6. Increased operational efficiency.
Beyond COVID-19 control, a benefit of implementing the right people flow management solution is improved operational efficiency.
School grounds often have plenty of people coming in and out of them, something that’s virtually impossible to keep accurate tabs on when relying on manual pen-and-paper monitoring processes.
It’s no secret that paper sign-in sheets and human supervision are prone to error, meaning folks are liable to slip through the cracks of a school’s monitoring efforts even when they don’t intend to (not to mention, exposed paper sign-in sheets can violate data privacy laws).
Manual clerical processes are also incredibly time-consuming and take staff’s attention away from tasks that matter most.
With a digital solution in place, check-in flows of all employees, visitors, and contractors arriving on campus are automated to cut down on wasted time and elevate front-desk productivity.
7. Affordable price and easy integrations with existing systems.
Last but not least, a key aspect of cloud-based people flow management solutions is their affordability (check out Proxyclick’s current pricing here). As compared to other visitor management systems that may cater specifically to the education sector, flexible solutions like Proxyclick don’t require any on-premises hardware other than an iPad to deliver a safe experience.
In addition, the right people flow management solution will integrate easily with existing tools that schools and universities are already using - for example, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Google Drive, or Slack - without requiring any additional hardware or staff training.
"We chose Proxyclick because of its affordable price, and because of its integration with Microsoft Teams and other programs. The system could effectively and easily integrate with the programs we were already using." - Emma Pritchard
Include a people flow management solution in your school re-entry plan
Check-in apps as part of people flow management systems have a lot to offer educators and students during a time when campus health and safety are of the utmost importance.
To that end, cloud-based systems like Proxyclick:
- Allow for customizable pre-registration and pre-screening of all employees, visitors, and contractors arriving on site
- Provide solutions to mitigate risks tied to unexpected visitors
- Integrate with building access control systems and touchless temperature scanners
- Offer real-time monitoring of all those on-site, helping schools comply with fire safety protocols
- Store employee and visitor data for only as long as it’s needed, for any necessary contact tracing
- Let schools provide parents, staff, and students an additional peace of mind
- Boosts overall operational efficiency across school sites