CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County School District has identified five schools to pilot the implementation of a visitor screening system that would be new to the district.
The Raptor Technologies system has been implemented in thousands of districts across the country as well as some districts in Wyoming, according the NCSD Associate Superintendent Walt Wilcox.
The system would be used to screen every visitor, contractor and volunteer coming into a school by scanning their photo identification upon entry. The system then checks the individual against sex offender databases and watch lists from all 50 states in the country.
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NCSD would also have the ability to integrate custom databases into the system “which can contain custody alerts and/or banned visitors.”
Wilcox told the NCSD Board of Trustees on Monday that the system can be used not only during the school day but also to screen visitors coming to watch sports competitions or other activities. He noted that the Sweetwater County School District asked visitors attending a regional volleyball tournament to bring photo ID in order to be screened with the system.
The system allows visitors to scan their own ideas with a built-in scanner. That scanner takes a photo of the ID and completes the process of checking in.
The system also print photo badges for visitors after they have been cleared for entry.
NCSD says the system would help staff “recognize approved visitors with printed badges, including the person’s photo, reason for visit, destination, and date/time of entry.”
“The badge adds a layer of security not only in terms of knowing the individual was approved and screened, but also because it allows others to see the visitor’s photo as their face may be covered by a mask,” NCSD says.
Wilcox explained that the system would allow NCSD to have accurate visitor records across the district, including a historical record of who has entered schools.
While NCSD is not engaged in the contact tracing process associated with COVID-19, Wilcox noted that reports from the system would have the ability to create reports that could be shared with health officials who are conducting contact tracing.
In addition to the visitor screening system, NCSD is also looking to pilot Raptor Technologies’ “Drill Manager” system. That system has applications for how schools conduct emergency drills.
“Raptor Drill Manager enables districts to publish drill requirements in minutes and makes it easy for school administrators to schedule them,” NCSD says. “Automated notifications remind each school of upcoming drills and the alerts to district administrators let them know drill status, notifying them if schools are out of compliance.”
The system would also provide a rapid way for schools to notify emergency personnel of crisis situations.
When schools are forced to evacuate, Wilcox said it can be cumbersome to ensure that all students and staff are accounted for under the current method. The system would help ensure that all students and staff can be quickly accounted for.
The system would also give first responders and staff “instant access to building maps, emergency operations plans, and other emergency documents directly on their mobile devices through the app.”
Wilcox said that NCSD has communicated with other district in Wyoming which have implemented the technology and have heard positive feedback.
He said NCSD is planning to pilot the system during the spring semester at five locations:
- Kelly Walsh High School
- Dean Morgan Junior High
- Paradise Valley Elementary School
- Midwest School
- NCSD’s student support campuses including their virtual campus
Wilcox said that NCSD could then look at implementing the system at all schools during the next school year.
Trustee Ray Catellier said after Wilcox’s presentation that while the system appears to have a lot of benefits, he thought some in the community might pushback against the concept of having their IDs scanned in order to attend school sports competitions.
He asked whether the district has considered whether there are any legal obstacles they need to consider. Attorney for NCSD Craig Silva pointed out that the system has been used across much of the country.
NCSD Superintendent Mike Jennings noted that the Board of Trustees would be presented with recommendations to fund the pilot program at a future meeting.