K-12 schools are now in constant motion for the new school year with students, teachers, administrative staff and employees ebbing and flowing through hallways, classrooms, offices, gymnasiums, band rooms, cafeterias and school grounds. While students and teachers are busy with lesson plans, K-12 schools receive an abundance of daily visitors throughout the year as well, including substitute teachers, contractors and parents. With so many people moving around and about during any given school day, an important “lesson plan” that must be thoroughly prepared ahead of time is a K-12 schools master security plan.
Protecting everyone from harm is of paramount importance. Personal belongings and the physical layout of school buildings also need to be secured. Security technology systems are necessary and, in many states, required to keep up with FERPA regulations for every school district. Access control systems discern who can enter school buildings. Video surveillance security systems monitor activity in hallways and around the school perimeter. Electronic key control systems protect school key inventories and provide access control and asset management capabilities.
Hundreds of keys exist on school properties, which also need to be properly secured to manage assets. Lost, misplaced, or misused keys can cause costly security breaches, which can significantly impact school budgets. Keys are a measure of access control security, yet keys themselves need to be accounted for to further protect assets and school property. Keys can often end up being used for nefarious purposes when they can easily be obtained or stolen.
Another value to including key control in K-12 master security plans and an electronic key control system is staff accountability. Let’s examine three reasons why key control systems add accountability for all school keys and for all the people who use them:
- Key Control Systems Authenticate All Key Users – Key control systems are designed to release keys only to authorized key users when their proper credentials are entered into the system and verified. The keys that each user is authorized to use light up after their credentials are verified. Lastly, by re-entering their credentials into the system, keys can be returned only by those who originally accessed them.
- Key Control Systems Streamline Workflow – Key control systems eliminate the manual process of signing out and returning keys. All access activity is automatically tracked, and keys can be grouped and programmed into the system with specific criteria, such as by department, or by shift and more. When employees know their key access activities are tracked, adherence to school security policies and procedures is also improved.
- Key Control Systems Leave Audit Trails 24 and 7 – Key control systems record every key transaction including who removed it and where and when it was returned. The data the key control system collects provides an audit trail, which accounts for all keys, all users and all transactions instantly. Audit trail reports can be programmed into the system to be emailed on a schedule or downloaded and printed on demand.
Electronic key control systems authenticate and verify all users and all keys. Keys are all accounted for, so they do not go missing, which provides greater security in K-12 schools and saves time and money. When keys are all accounted for, K-12 schools avoid expensive refitting of locks and keys that precipitate from missing, stolen, or lost keys, which helps keep school budgets much healthier and the school population on site much safer.