A background and security program for volunteers and visitors at Derby Public Schools may be a solution in search of a problem, a school board member said before he and his colleagues unanimously approved using the technology.
Board members were considering the program from SafeVisitor to screen volunteers and visitors and more easily manage their comings and goings.
“I like the idea,” Andy Watkins said at a May 28 meeting. “I’m just trying to figure out what problem we’re solving.”
He also expressed concerns about any challenges that could arise for people who have the same names as people who would not be allowed into a school.
Board president Tina Prunier was ready with an answer.
“The safety of our students is more important than any hassles that might occur,” she said.
Board member Matthew Joyce said he uses such a system for volunteering at an area high school outside the Derby district.
“They scan my fob,” he said. “They know I’m in the building. I have to scan out to leave the building.”
Joyce said he forgot to check out once before the school began using the system, and nothing happened. No one seemed to be paying attention to his whereabouts, he said.
The SafeVisitor system, he said, allowed schools to keep tabs on volunteers. He said he likes using a fob instead of having to check in manually and fill out paperwork for each visit.
The board voted 5 to 0 to implement the system from School Technology Associates Inc.
SafeVisitor offers different tiers of background checks based on whether someone is a visitor or volunteer.
The district currently checks in visitors and volunteers by hand. Visitors and volunteers sign in at school offices. The SafeVisitor program would digitally track visitors and volunteers in each building and districtwide.
Training for secretaries and principals is expected to begin in July. The district will do a “media blitz” to communicate with parents in July and August. Four schools – Derby High, Derby North, Derby Hills and Tanglewood – expect to roll out the program in August. Other schools will come online throughout the first semester of next school year.
The estimated initial setup cost at each site is $1,054. SafeVisitor charges an annual fee of $4,495, and the annual fee to integrate with Skyward is $2,195.