As seen on eSchool News

How RFID can help in a school reopening

Simply taking temperatures isn’t enough—here’s how RFID can play a role in a school reopening
By Bree Bergman
October 19th, 2020

Simply taking temperatures isn’t enough—here’s how RFID can play a role in a school reopening

As schools prepared to reopen this past August and September, administrators had to consider more than usual. In order to ensure the safety of students returning to school, administrators had to evaluate school reopening strategies, social distancing efforts, cleaning policies, and how to quickly identify symptomatic students.

Related content: 4 keys to teaching reading in a remote setting

Investments in plexiglass barriers for classrooms and tents for outdoor lessons have become popular choices for many learning institutions, but administrators also have other decisions to make.

Safety needs to go beyond temperature checks

Although it is recommended that students who do not feel well stay at home instead of going to class, schools still need to be prepared to monitor symptoms of their students and determine the best course of action. One such step will include administering temperature checks at schools, which can be done at the start of the school day before students even enter the facility. Temperature-sensing technologies can help faculty members take children’s temperatures before class and minimize the number of sick students entering the building.

In addition to taking students’ temperatures each morning, many schools are also requiring daily screening assessments to monitor for other COVID-19 symptoms. By completing daily assessments, schools can help reduce the risk of exposure from a symptomatic student as well as monitor changes in the health of each individual. Although additional steps are now required at the start of each school day, these procedural changes, and their use of technology to monitor students’ health, will help improve the chances for a successful school reopening.

Tracking is key to ensure safety in schools

An RFID asset management system can help schools tag valuable school equipment, such as computers or lab tools. With this system, schools can track when an item is moved from one location to another and know at all times if and where an item is available for use. This ability to look up an item’s availability at any given point in the day can help schools keep costs down by reducing the need to purchase unnecessary extra inventory.

With safety and health top of mind, the ability to check if an item was used or not and needs to be cleaned can also go a long way in helping ensure the safety of students and teachers. With an RFID asset management system, teachers can check scanned tags on equipment to determine when it was last sanitized and if it’s ready to be used.

RFID is already keeping students safe

RFID technology is gaining popularity, especially for its use in the education sector, but this technology was here long before this pandemic. If anything, the pandemic only served to increase the need the RFID in schools.

In the past few years, college campuses worldwide have already started to use RFID-enabled student ID cards and badges as a means of monitoring the location of their students, professors, and other faculty members on campus in an effort to help keep them safe during potentially dangerous situations. These cards and badges can be used to quickly locate a missing individual and send assistance. The technology can also be used to pinpoint intruders, identify unplanned gatherings, or diffuse unplanned conflicts.

Furthermore, RFID can even help schools better manage truancy by monitoring which students did not show up for school (or leave early) on any given day. This not only keeps students in school, but also helps schools prove attendance numbers, which is often necessary to secure state funding.

In addition to the aforementioned use cases, RFID will be instrumental in a school reopening by helping a school monitor students and possible COVID-19 exposure this fall. By using RFID-enabled cards and badges as well as tracking high volume areas, schools can more easily determine individuals who come into contact with students that end up sick. Now, when things are evolving so quickly in real-time, having this level of visibility will be crucial to helping keep students and faculty members safe.

Just the start

The use of RFID technology in schools was not always well-received, as privacy advocates did not always understand how the technology worked and the benefits gained. When used responsibly, RFID solutions can be extremely valuable tools for helping ensure the safety of students and can be used to respond to emergency situations, such as COVID-19.

About the Author:

Bree Bergman is the Director of North American Vertical and Field Marketing for Zebra Technologies.

Our 250+ Clients Include