Create Safer Campus Spaces with Screening & Monitoring Tools that Fit the Times 

Author TouchSource

Measures to Keep Students and Spaces Safe

At TouchSource, many of us are parents. We’re all facing the challenge of getting our children back to school—from middle school to college. That drove us to spend a lot of time on the College Crisis Initiative website to see what was happening across the nation. We’ve looked at the re-opening plans for dozens of universities. Here’s what we found. 

Nearly every re-opening plan features these core safety levers: 

  • Training, testing, health monitoring and contact tracing; 
  • Guidance on individual responsibility and campus safety norms; 
  • Academic class scheduling decisions—which is a mix of in-person, onlineonly and hybrid models that vary from campus to campus, and week to week; 
  • Facility and air cleaning measures, hours and safe distancing details; 
  • Space density measures to preserve student and faculty health 
  • Notification and information guidelines—including compliance with local, state, federal and CDC guidelines; and 
  • COVID response teams, healthcare and safety resources. 

Three Top Challenges Across All Educational Institutions

Everyone from college leadership and deans of student services to HR and facility managers are involved in the rally to open and stay open safely. Managing all of this is a hefty load. And with news about campuses that opened having to shift gears mid-stream, it’s not going to get easier anytime soon. Across these response measures, there were three key drivers of emergency response activities.

Leaders need to provide safe institutional spaces. Keeping faculty, students and visitors safe while on campus is job #1. How to manage that is something every school is frantically trying to navigate.

Keeping students and the broader community informed is also mission critical. And it’s not a one-time event—a press release or paper poster on a wall won’t cut it. Education leaders need to keep students and faculty updated continuously; maintain safety standards consistently with people inside and outside of the community; and protect people when they physically enter spaces through on-the-spot information delivery. Most importantly, educational institutions must influence the individual behavior of students to make smart choices in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic.

Further posing a challenge is the need to manage public spaces safely. College and school campuseare filled with shared spaces such as libraries, study halls, cafeterias and labs. Now with capacity restrictions, those need to be reservable to ensure that space density and social distancing rules are maintained.

Solving for these challenges is key. Using tools that can be deployed easily and bring value to campuses post-pandemic are also essential. Here are three ways that organizations can approach these tough challenges with tools that can be deployed right now.

1. Screening and re-screening for symptoms is among the host of things that makes re-opening hard.

Ensuring that people are safe in your buildings and community spaces is paramount to confidence in your institution. A faculty member, vendor or student could be fine one day and show symptoms the next. Or students and faculty could be incredibly well-briefed, practicing safety, and keeping distant…but vendors delivering food, supplies or services could have completely different standards.  

How is it possible to set and maintain good standards for screening across such a diverse set of day to day interactions? It starts by putting wellness kiosks at entrances to the campus and buildings. With the TouchSource Taos wellness kiosk, visitors, vendors and employees are automatically temperature-scanned and notified when they’re in normal ranges and what to do if they’re not. Convenient touchless hand sanitizer can also be dispensed. And, these kiosks come with a built-in digital messaging display – for safety messaging and screening results.   

When deployed at employee entrances and reception check-in spots, it can allow a sign-in process and record acknowledgement of campus safety regulations. Not only does it help protect your entire community, it also allows for contact tracing. The software is designed and made in the USA and complies with GDRP laws, unlike cheap solutions that often come from overseas countries that fail to comply with US-based privacy laws and protections for users. 

Last but most importantly, we offer a mobile device-based screening through a HIPPA-compliant service designed by medical professionals. The integrated service, called Cleared4Class from our partner Chelsea Health Solutions, enables you to send digital surveys and track employees’ and vendors’ survey screening results. You can discretely work with any who show symptoms through a GDPR/HIPPA-compliant notification system. Moreover, the screening program is integrated with our digital kiosks and directories. Since TouchSources solutions also integrate with building access systems, you can screen employees and others and manage their access to a building.  Individuals who pass your screening get a QR code that allows them access by checking in via TouchSource solution to your secured building 

Innovations in building technology help you address hard problems quickly as a way to protect your community and build confidence in campus operations.  

2. Constant communications are harder than ever, and exponentially more important.

Many students are just entering adult life. Guidance on staying and keeping safe is a must-have to nurture the good habits that keep them safe in the middle of a pandemicGreat parents and teachers are the foundation of helping our youth learn. That can be aided with continual reminders of good pandemic health and hygiene practices. 

It’s also critical to ensure that campus health counselors and support services are an instant away from a student who needs helpAs well, school library and campus services may be shifting hours and social distancing procedures constantly. Meanwhile, facility managers want better solutions for providing information and directions without the need to expose employees from unnecessary exposure to the public. 

Keeping everyone on campus informed in all of these scenarios and the dozens more not included is hard on your marketing and communications teams. Paper flyers and posters can’t keep pace with the rate of change in information. Also, students are digital natives. Do they even pay attention to anything that’s not on a digital device?  

More than ever, universities need to consider Digital Messaging Boards. These commercial-grade boards are affordable, easy to install anywhere, and can be updated hourly, daily, weekly with any messaging you want to convey. Marketing teams can centrally manage the content that gets published and change it on the fly. That includes information that students can scan to their mobile device—such as campus maps, contact information for your health services team, or information on your next campus town hall meeting. 

Digital Messaging Boards grab attention and can visually convey safety tips and news that you want to share. Digital natives are drawn to digital screens, which creates a way for education organizations to ensure that messages sink in. And they help campus facility managers post dynamically changing information on hours, safe distancing and cleaning practices. What’s more, if you add study room calendaring and space density “check-in” services on them—you can allow students to reserve rooms and avoid entering spaces at maximum capacity. 

Learn how to support your pandemic workflows for student safety, space management and faculty health protection by scheduling a call with us today.  

3. Ensuring that shared campus spaces can be used safely poses a new challenge for facility managers. 

With the pandemic driving new standards in social distancing, education facility managers are scrambling make libraries, common rooms, student unions, cafeterias and other places safer. Technology can be a simple aid for study, conference rooms and office reservations. Most organizations have a Calendaring tool—from Outlook to Google G-Suite solutions.  

Now schools can put those to work in allowing pre-scheduled and on-the-spot reservations by students and faculty. A master view of all spaces can be placed on a digital display where visitors can see all available rooms and availability using TouchSource GroupSpaces. Individual rooms can showcase who has the room booked and allow on the spot reservations—all integrated to the calendaring solution you use today.  

It’s a simple way to solve for space density today, and is a great long-term investment in a calendaring system that doesn’t eat up your staff’s time to manage.  

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