• Making school safety a priority with smart technology

        • With pupils set to go back to school on 8th March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students and school communities. 

          The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a ‘warning shot’ for education facilities managers, forcing headteachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be ‘late to class’ when it comes to health and safety.

          Thermal detection cameras 

          Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks. 

          Safer water 

          Legionella are potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating. 

          Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months.

          Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking to automated water temperature monitoring systems.

          Cleaner air 

          Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include:

          - Increasing outdoor air ventilation

          - Filtering indoor air

          - Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters 

          Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as: 

          - Humidity

          - Temperature

          - Indoor air quality

          - The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants

          This technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective. 

          While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

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