Physical and technological changes to improve safety and security will be in place when Greencastle-Antrim students head back to school on Aug. 20. Training for staff and students also is on the agenda.

 At the door 

The entryways by the offices of the primary, elementary and middle schools were restructured and rebuilt of steel and glass. A secure entry already was in place at the high school office.

The old walls were more suitable for an office and easy to break through, some doors were hollow core and the ceilings were vulnerable, according to Dr. Jolinda "JC" Wilson, who likened the new structures to a steel and glass box during an interview last week.

Some lighting and HVAC temperature controls were also part of the project, Wilson said.

McClure Co. was the contractor and the cost, including cameras outside all four buildings, is $350,968.

Getting in 

People entering the buildings will have to show identification to the cameras before being buzzed into the buildings, said Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent. They will then enter the secure entryway outside the office.

That is where School Gate Guardian comes in, according to Dwight Bard, director of technology.

"We''ll get a good idea of who's coming in before they get to the classroom," he said.

The IDs of parents, volunteers and others entering the building will be scanned. This streamlines checking for clearances, Bard said.

Visitors will get time-expiring badges which can only be used once.

After scanning an ID, the system does a sex offender check and the software has the capability to red flag someone who is not supposed to have contact with a child, such as in a visitation situation.

In addition to screening those coming in, School Gate Guardian also can be used to ensure people are approved to pick up students at the end of the day.

The system costs $17,200 for the first year with lesser fees for support and maintenance in ensuing years.

 Learning 

The in-service day on Aug. 24 will be dedicated to safety and security, with training for two different approaches to critical incidents, Trail said.

Wilson and Bard, who have both been with the district for a number of years, said this kind of training has never been done during their tenures.

New state law requires districts to have a lock-down drill within the first 90 days of school. Districts can have another optional drill during the school year. The two lockdown drills can be used to replace two of the 10 fire drills required yearly, Trail explained.

"I feel like we've done a lot," said Trail.

Contact Shawn Hardy at shardy@therecordherald.com or 717-597-2164