The Painesville City Local School District is a K-12 school district with 3,000 students in 5 buildings located in Painesville, Ohio. Through MOBOTIX technology, Painesville City Local School District leveraged an educational purchasing consortia contract for quick thermal screening station purchases.
The Painesville City Local School District was opening to students and staff in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Joshua M. Englehart, Ph.D., Superintendent and Shaun Bell, Director of Operations for the school district developed a reopening policy to ensure they could bring their staff and students back to school in a safe and effective manner.
According to Bell, the 2019-20 school year has been particularly challenging, and while school has been in session since last August, plans for reopening began in April. Their operations plan was centered around ensuring students and staff were at minimal risk of contracting COVID-19 from interactions in the school building. A key component was to screen all who entered for an elevated temperature — a monumental task when hundreds of students enter the building within a very short period of time.
They reached out to their district with a survey to gauge the parents’ interest in in-person learning versus virtual learning to determine their staffing needs. To be effective with their educators, they told parents that in-person students could later decide to go virtual-only, but virtual students could not opt to be in-person after the start of the year. The results were a 50/50 split between in-school and virtual learning.
Recognizing the value of MOBOTIX elevated body temperature (EBT) detection for school districts and the speed at which schools were deciding on policies, Konica Minolta Sales Representative Mark Michel crafted a two-pronged approach to help OH school districts succeed.
First, he reached out to the Ohio Council of Educational Purchasing Consortia (OCEPC) to add MOBOTIX technology into the state contract. This ensured school districts could act quickly and get screening stations and other MOBOTIX cameras for their schools’ safety and surveillance needs without engaging in the lengthy bid process.
“It’s just that extra layer. The more layers that you can provide the better… we recognize that you can never reduce the risk to zero, but you want to get it as close to zero as you possibly can,” said Joshua M. Engelhart, PhD., Superintendent of Painesville City Local School District.
Next, Michel brought in the Derek Martinez, Video Security Services Consultant, Konica Minolta, as the subject matter expert to present the details to the Painesville team. After reviewing the product, they decided to make thermal temperature screening a part of their opening procedure. Painesville had already applied for grant money to cover the new costs that they faced with planning their district’s return-to-school needs, so they were ready to move forward.
“After extensive research, we decided our best solution was to use infrared (IR) cameras provided by Konica Minolta to screen individuals quickly and with minimal staff to operate the system,” said Shaun Bell, Director of Operations, Painesville City Local School District.
The plan was approved by the Painesville City Local Schools Board of Education and the Lake County Health District in July, which was “much later than we would have liked” said Bell. The first day of school was August 24. The cameras arrived August 20, which meant the integration phase had to be quick. Opening of the school district was contingent on the details of the plan and they had to meet all the parameters – putting all their suppliers under a lot of pressure to perform.
Konica Minolta’s Carmen Pescatrice, Solutions and Services Executive, was on site for two days installing the eight Thermal Screening Carts with M16 MOBOTIX cameras the school district purchased. They were installed and ready to go by the first day of school. The schools placed an ‘x’ on the floor that entering students needed to cross while a screener looked for an EBT on the laptop screen that is part of the station. If it exceeded the acceptable range, the screener’s partner escorted the student to the nurse.
“It’s been working very well, I have received no complaints,” reported Bell.
Going forward, the school district may mount the cameras with a direct Power over Ethernet (PoE) to reduce the WiFi use. And with MOBOTIX cameras on the OCEPC, they can consider other cameras to enhance their surveillance operations in the schools, on school grounds and in buses.
During the course of the back-to-school discussion, Bell also mentioned some issues with virtual learning and frustrating computer network problems. With the All Covered, Managed IT Services team available to help them solve these problems, Brooke A Miller, Senior Sales Manager, stepped in to provide an All Covered contact the same day. Adds Bell, “We now plan on continuing our relationship with All Covered into the future as we work with them to investigate, troubleshoot and solve our technology issues.