New system for background checks at Arlington schools

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2018 4:45pm
  • Life

ARLINGTON – When you go to visit schools in Arlington, be prepared for a background check.

Arlington Public Schools is using a new visitor management system called SafeVisitor Solutions. Such visitor management systems strengthen safety in schools by conducting an instant background check on visitors, an APS news release says.

The information creates an electronic visitor log, which also streamlines the approval process for those wanting to be school volunteers.

Eagle Creek Elementary and Haller Middle School start using the system this month, with all other schools following in October.

Currently, volunteers and visitors sign a paper log and receive a visitor badge when entering the schools, said Brian Lewis, executive director of Operations. “With the new system, visitors will be asked to show a state-issued identification like a driver’s license, or answer a few questions about their name. Their names are checked against the National Sex Offender Registry, and, once cleared, staff print a self-expiring name badge for the visitor that cannot be reused.”

The system also simplifies the volunteer background check process. Volunteers will be asked to complete an online application, review the district’s volunteer policy and expectations, and answer questions about their identity and criminal history. That process submits their names for a State Patrol background check. Once approved, volunteers will be sent an email with a barcode they can print and use to sign in when they volunteer. SafeVisitor Solutions also offers a mobile phone application that allows volunteers to store their approval barcode on their phones. The app barcode can also be used to print a badge at their school. To complete an application, volunteers can go to the school district’s website, select “Community” and then “Volunteering.”

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