A safe and secure school environment promotes better learning. More and more school administrators are recognizing how important security reinforcements are to the daily school environment for both students and staff, and the Park City School District (PCSD) is no exception. That’s why the school district has taken measures to upgrade its security.
The effort began in 2017 when PCSD allocated $3 million for several safety measures including:
- Reconstructing entryways
- Installing automatic door locking systems
- Setting up perimeter fencing for elementary schools
- Installing reinforced glass.
In 2018, PCSD budgeted another $1 million for future security items deemed necessary by the Security Committee, such as:
Automatic door locking systems
All elementary schools in the district now have automatic door locking systems that activate as soon as the school bell rings. If any door is left open or forcibly opened, the system sends an alert to the front office. The district hopes to incorporate the measure for secondary schools as well.
New visitor management system
New protocols for visitors will also be implemented across all schools. It will require all visitors to provide state IDs to school authorities before they can be allowed in the school premises. They can also only enter through one enclosed entryway.
The procedure will mean creating secure vestibules where people can get in line while their state ID is checked against a national database. Once their identity is confirmed, they are issued a school ID that gives them permission to enter school premises.
Training for school secretaries and students
School secretaries, who have been tasked with checking visitor IDs and letting visitors enter and exit through one door, are also being trained to adapt to the new security measures.
Park City’s school district also plans to share the new security protocols with students to ensure that they do not let any unauthorized individuals into the school and would know what to do in case of emergencies.
Mike Tanner, chief operations officer of the school district, said that they are looking to use national best practices and employ emergency management resources in Summit County, located 90 kilometers east of Salt Lake City.
“We’re going to look at everything from communications to access to the buildings to what kind of physical barriers we need to put in place,” Tanner said. “The police and fire department, Summit County Emergency Management, and all those folks are going to look at that vulnerability and how can we get smart about balancing that access with security.”
Everyone must be involved
Even as school safety experts continue to push the implementation and enforcement of updated security measures into every school security plan, PCSD is happy to comply. It believes that everyone in the community must be involved in ensuring a secure and safe learning environment for children.
“In today’s world we have to be prepared for anything,” Tanner said. “What kind of protocol is best practices for our students and our faculty to stay safe? We’re going to review that.”
PCSD is home to four elementary schools and two middle/junior high schools, including Park City High School, which is ranked the number one high school in the state of Utah.
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