How To Take Attendance Safely During The Pandemic

As schools look to create a safe learning environment to welcome staff and students back on-site during the pandemic, those using biometric scanners should reassess their attendance technology. Biometric scanners do not help minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. In fact, they increase it.

Spreading Germs Through Shared Surfaces

Biometric scanners require students to check in by touching a shared surface. Hundreds of students place their fingers on the same glass surface multiple times per day, facilitating the spread of germs. According to WebMD, COVID-19 can stay alive on glass surfaces for up to five days. That means if one student with the virus leaves their germs on a biometric scanner, it’s likely that every student that checks in after them that day will have the virus on their hands. All it takes is for a single cell of the virus to get into the body, either through the mouth, nose, eyes, or ears, and that person has contracted the virus. 

Individuals frequently touch their face with their hands without even realizing it. If their hands are contaminated through a shared surface, there’s a high chance that they will contract the virus. 

As states allow salons and health clinics to reopen, students will be coming into physical contact with clients. A student who doesn’t wash their hands thoroughly enough not only risks spreading the virus to their classmates and instructors, but to clients as well.

Forcing Students To Wait In Close Proximity To Each Other

In addition to increasing the risk of swapping germs by requiring students to touch the same surface, biometric scanners cause students to stand in line because only one student can check in at a time. Forcing students to wait in line increases the risk of transmitting the virus through the air. It takes just one cough, sneeze, or loud laugh, and germs are dispersed into the air where others can easily inhale them. 

Let’s do a quick thought exercise. If 20 students are lined up to check in for their class, it would require more than 120 feet of space to have students safely line up six feet apart. Odds are that most campuses don’t have the physical space to allow for a safe distance between students as they wait to check in using the biometric scanner.

Unnecessary Risk And Workload

Schools that continue using biometric scanners will require a demanding amount of work on the part of staff and students to make sure students can check in to class safely. Schools will need to appoint one staff member to disinfect the biometric scanner after every scan, adding wait time for students looking to check in. Schools will also need to mark off designated waiting spots six feet apart to keep students at a safe distance while they wait to check in. This process will cause a lot of frustration for students looking to check in on time and wanting credit for the time they’re spending on campus, as well as staff members who must be diligent in keeping scanners clean and students properly distanced. In this situation, even a small misstep can allow for the spread of COVID-19.

Hands Free Check-In Through A Mobile Attendance Solution

Instead of subjecting staff and students to a scenario like the one outlined above, schools can adopt a much simpler, safer attendance solution that will minimize the risk of spreading germs. By using a mobile attendance app like CourseKey, schools can implement a hands-free attendance method that lets every student check in and out without sharing germs. Students check in and out on their tablets or smartphones simultaneously, cutting out the exposure to shared surfaces of biometric scanners and eliminating the need to stand close to each other in line. 

Through simultaneous check ins, students can earn time that is representative of the actual time they spent on campus and in class, instead of losing minutes each day because they’re forced to wait while their classmates check in before them.

CourseKey also allows schools to adopt a much safer attendance method without compromising the security of biometric scanners. Through its Face/Print ID scan solution, CourseKey provides schools with secure user verification, letting them rest assured that their actual students are the ones checking in. In addition to Face/Print ID, the CourseKey platform also offers sound wave and QR code attendance technologies. 

As students check in and out of class, attendance data is generated in real-time. Administrators can monitor the data from every class and campus through live attendance dashboards, enabling them to identify students missing required hours in real-time. Best of all, CourseKey integrates with the school’s SIS, eliminating the need for any manual data entry.

Ensuring Safety Of Staff And Students

In critical situations like the current coronavirus pandemic, taking every step possible to keep staff and students safe and avoid campus closures is crucial. By replacing biometric scanners with a mobile attendance solution, schools will drastically minimize the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak on their campus.

To learn how CourseKey can help your school take attendance safely and efficiently, request a demo below.

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