Why Environmental Monitoring Matters During Virtual School Learning

For an easy transition back to full-time in-person learning, campuses must maintain the safety, conditions and security of their buildings.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country, many schools are still trying to adjust to virtual learning. This newer type of learning environment is a great way to protect students and staff from COVID-19, but it’s important to keep in mind that although students are physically out of the school buildings, that doesn’t mean its maintenance should be set aside.

Whether classes are being conducted on school grounds or not, there is still much to consider, such as monitoring the campus’ environment, securing valuable goods, and protecting property. When virtual schooling comes to an end, administrators can guarantee an easy transition back to in-person learning by guaranteeing their buildings are as safe and maintained as ever.

With many students no longer on school grounds and much of the time and attention of administrators and other faculty being spent on adapting to virtual learning, there are fewer eyes on the buildings. To ensure nothing goes awry while everyone is away, and to decrease the burden on administrators, environmental monitoring and automated alerting should be implemented throughout the school.

Environmental Alerting Can Catch Emergencies Early

Environmental monitoring, the practice of tracking the quality of an environment by recording its various components, can be accomplished using the right technology. For instance, a variety of sensors can monitor the many systems and parts of a school’s infrastructure. A school’s pipes/plumbing, refrigerator/freezer, doors, windows, fire system, HVAC system, and more can all be monitored using a single technology solution.

Typically, if a malfunction or failure of any of these systems occurs, major damage and costly repairs or losses are likely, but with proper monitoring, these situations can be avoided.

Deploy Automated Alerting for Optimum Virtual Operations

With an automated alerting platform, administrators can ensure there is continuous monitoring of their schools and can be immediately alerted if anything goes wrong. For example, if a sensor detects an unauthorized door has been opened or detects a leak in the bathroom, an alert will automatically be sent out to the proper personnel so they can address the situation quickly.

The alert can contain detailed information pertaining to the situation at hand, including live video feed delivered directly to an individual’s device, helping staff members to make informed decisions.

For more serious triggering events, such as a break-in or detected fire, first responders can receive alerts as well. Continuous monitoring and alerting ensures there are always eyes on the building, even when no one is there.

When the time comes, an automated alerting platform can also be a great tool to help transition from virtual schooling back to in-person learning. As students return to their schools, there will likely still be new and changing measures to keep students and faculty safe. These measures can be implemented with quick messaging, mass notification and other capabilities that automated alerting platforms offer.

For example, administrators can enhance their school’s door access to limit who is able to enter the building, minimizing the possibility of spreading COVID-19.

Keep Open Lines of Communication Via Mass Notification

Administrators can also use mass notification to inform students and their parents of important updates, such as closures or new guidelines. The benefits of mass notification go beyond addressing problems the pandemic has created; an automated alerting platform can streamline lockdowns, evacuations, severe weather responses, medical emergencies, and many typical day-to-day events. By implementing an automated platform, schools are not only protecting themselves right now, but they are preparing for the future.

By maintaining the safety, conditions, and security of their school buildings, administrators can ensure that when the time comes for students to return, they are more ready than ever.

Running a school is already a demanding job and with COVID-19 adding even more responsibilities and complications, it’s easy to let things get swept under the rug, resulting in a minor issue becoming a major problem.

To avoid this, it’s worth investing in a solution that can catch an issue before it escalates, relieving staff from doing unnecessary work and allowing them to focus on what’s really important.

Amy Jeffs is vice president of Status Solutions. This article first appeared in SSI sister publication Campus Safety.

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