3 Must-Have Technologies to Help Protect Schools from COVID-19

Protecting students while giving them a safe learning environment is a top priority during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. As students across the country are coming back to the classrooms, school districts are turning to IoT and technology solutions that can help stop the spread of the virus. Wachter has identified three technologies that make pandemic mitigation easier for schools.


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Image credit: Wachter/TempWatch

When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, K-12 schools and higher education had to quickly pivot to an online learning model to support teaching and learning. Globally, 1.2 billion students in 186 countries were affected by school closings, according to World Economic Forum data

In the US, districts across the country were in different stages of technology implementation and some were more prepared than others to deal with the drastic changes. However, the shift to online learning wasn’t entirely negative. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information and take less time, so adoption of online learning may persist even after the pandemic is behind us.

A year and a half later, schools are beginning to open up to in-person classes and return to a new normal that will include technologies that boost teaching and learning and are valuable in other ways. But we’re not completely out of the woods yet, of course, so schools still need to take measures to protect their students, teachers, and staff from contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Mitigation Technology for Safer Schools

Schools are looking to sophisticated technologies to keep students, teachers and staff safe, focusing on proactive monitoring and contract tracing to stem the progress of any outbreak. Pandemic-mitigating technologies such as Wachter TempWatch and ContactWatch, for instance, can help keep people safe. And the NoviTizer with its digital display can provide up-to-date safety messages and reminders. Wachter was recognized as an Intel US Channel Partner of the Year for 2021 for its emerging technology development.

  • TempWatch Thermal Fever Detection

Wachter’s TempWatch uses artificial intelligence and thermal technologies to detect elevated body temperatures that can signal illness. The solution can detect temperatures to within 1/10th of a degree. TempWatch uses integrated security cameras powered by thermal technology to distinguish individuals who may have a fever before they enter the school building. 

The solution can be integrated with an AI algorithm to identify people in a crowd who potentially are ill. TempWatch is activated when facial temperatures exceed pre-set thresholds. Powered by thermal technology that uses a machine vision thermal camera, the solution integrates with access control systems and needs no operator intervention.

When schools integrate TempWatch using multiple cameras, they can monitor temperature readings throughout the day as specific access points. Doing so means they’re not limited to checking temperature levels only as students and teachers enter the building. The solution can watch for students congregating, and then signal the schools public address system to recommend that students use social distancing. And using access controls and security cameras also enable schools to identify the students or teachers who have come in contact with an individual with an elevated temperature.

  • ContactWatch for Social Distancing

ContactWatch is another pandemic mitigation solution from Wachter that can help schools with contract tracing and implementing social distancing. The end-to-end social distancing and contact tracing solution has three components: a tracking device that can be worn in a lanyard or around the wrist; a gateway; and cloud-based management software. When students or faculty come closer than six feet apart, the devices make an audible sound to alert the individuals that they’re too close together and need to move further apart. Each instance gets recorded in the platform’s analytics. 

  • NoviTizer Hand Sanitizer & Digital Display

The third technology is NoviTizer, an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser that mounts on a stand or wall and incorporates a digital signage display that allows for customized content. The display can show real-time CDC or school guidelines, or can be used to convey school messaging around safety protocols. Schools can manage the digital content displayed on the NoviTizer screens and schedule from the cloud. The solution connects to the cloud via a wired or wireless Internet connection. 

Learn how mitigation technology can help stop the spread of COVID-19:

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