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Springfield Public Schools work to complete secure entrances for the 2020 school year

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 9:13 AM CDT
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Springfield Public School District (SPS) has continued to work throughout the pandemic to become safer for students and staff for the upcoming school year. However, safety isn't just in regards to health.

Among other things, installing 33 secure entrances in 31 SPS buildings was top priority following voters approving Proposition S in 2019. SPS Executive Director of Operations, Travis Shaw said this was essential for the district.

Shaw said the district was able to install 19 secure entrances by last December. However, SPS has continued working on the remaining 14 this year and will finish the vast majority of secure entries by the start of the school year.

"We're excited to get those done; we're excited to have consistency across the district with how visitors come into our schools, and to be able to add that layer of safety to all our students and staff."

While new entryways are going into schools, many SPS buildings already had secure entrances but updated those that didn't match new procedures. However, Shaw said all schools had safety measures like "Hall Pass" before construction, but two-thirds did not have an extended barrier.

"They all had access control to get in, but when they came in, they all were allowed to go anywhere in the building that they wanted to," explained Shaw. "That wasn't okay for our safety. We wanted to make sure they had to come through our offices."

Now the idea is to have anyone, visitors, volunteers, and parents go through a door directly into the office. Then they will show identification, receive a background check, and get the green light before having any access to the school building.

COVID-19 caused a delay with materials and supplies, which pushed the completion date back into October for a few schools. Shaw said although it has been a little inconvenient for the sites, they do have alternative entrances and will still maintain security within school buildings. He said parents, staff, and students have all been understanding because ultimately, safety and security are key.

Looking at the bigger picture, Shaw said they wanted to have it done in two years, and they’re on track and ahead of schedule.

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