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Structural Security for Schools | How Covenant Caters to the Safety of Our Children

Structural Security for Schools | How Covenant Caters to the Safety of Our Children

In the wake of the tragic occurrences of school shootings, the glaring inadequacy in preparing and funding structural security measures stands as a stark reminder of the urgent need for action. Despite the recurring nature of these incidents, many schools continue to struggle with limited resources and outdated infrastructure, leaving students, teachers, and staff vulnerable to potential threats. We've seen time and again, that with a lack of proper procedure and building security, school buildings can easily become compromised.

Because of the complex nature of the issue, there is no "one-size fits all" solution. Each school has unique needs and often a very limited capacity to apply or fund the necessary improvements. The financial burden associated with enhancing structural security poses a significant challenge for many schools. It can be very difficult for schools to find options within their means that do not compromise quality.

As a company that provides products to mitigate these threats, we have seen increased concern for structural security from both private and public institutions. Security needs vary from location to location. Without a doubt, it is important to conduct a threat and security assessment to determine the level of security needed. The products we offer support high-quality, durable and effective defenses against threats and intrusions. Our main option for increasing the security of the entry point of a school is a vestibule. Security vestibules use two or more sets of doors with a service window in between to create a secure checkpoint. During scheduled arrival times, the doors may remain open as trained staff greet and discreetly monitor students and teachers. Once the first bell rings or an event starts, the doors are locked. Those arriving later must provide identification before being granted access via electronically activated doors. This setup allows the receptionist or greeter to view the person requesting entry. Visitors may enter the vestibule only after ringing a bell and communicating with the receptionist via video intercom. Only one door into or out of the vestibule may be opened at the same time preventing unauthorized access by a person attempting to follow someone through an open door. Visitors may proceed through a second door only when they have satisfied the requirements for entry. After reviewing credentials and determining there is no obvious threat, the receptionist releases the lock for the inner door while the outer door remains shut. Alternately, students and staff may use a keycard, access fob, or another device to enter, under the observation of the receptionist.  The security vestibule serves as a single point of entry. All other doors to the building remain locked while the school is in session or an event is underway.

The security vestibule also serves as a barricade. Ballistic doors and windows can withstand various and sustained attacks depending on their bullet-resistant or intrusion ratings. Vandals, armed assailants, protesters, and others attempting a forced entry will find their way blocked by windows, doors, and walls able to absorb repeated blows, bullet strikes, projectiles, fire, or explosives.

In situations where security risks are high, it may be necessary to build a security vestibule that acts as a mantrap. A mantrap is an enclosed entrance in which only the entrance or exit door may be opened at one time. In an emergency, both doors can be locked simultaneously. Individuals inside the vestibule may not exit until released. Some schools, with a lower assessed security risk, opt for an open reception between the first and second doors. Guests recognized at the door, or whose behavior poses no threat, are allowed to enter a reception area. Before proceeding through the second locked door, guests check in at the desk, show an ID, and receive a guest pass or escort into the building. Alternatively, a check-in kiosk provides access for those with an ID number, badge, entry fob, or another access device bypassing, but under the observation of, the receptionist. 

Many districts operate schools that were designed long before security was a concern. In these cases, entrances may not accommodate a security vestibule due to limited space and for safety reasons. The vestibule must be added to the outside of the school. Retrofitted security vestibules provide the same functions as those integrated into newer designs, but may rely on video intercoms and cameras located in the vestibule and outside the school to provide a clear picture of the activities near the entrance.

Whatever your risk level or security concerns may be, Covenant has a product to fit your unique needs. For more information, give us a call at 866-286-4400 or fill out our Custom Quote Request. We look forward to hearing from you

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