District 911 School Board to enhance school visitor policy

The Cambridge-Isanti School Board discussed a new requirement to its school visitor policy during the May 22 board meeting.

The first reading of the new visitor sign-in procedure requirement was presented as a non-action item, with action expected at the June School Board meeting.

Director of Finance and Operations Robyn Vosberg-Torgerson explained the school visitor policy has been in place since 2002, and the new visitor sign-in procedure is meant to enhance the policy. She said the new procedure has been reviewed by school principals and administrative assistants.

Technology District Lead Technician Bill McDonald and Director of Building and Grounds Mark Eisenbacher presented the details of the visitor sign-in procedure.

All visitors will enter through the designated visitor entrance or main entrance and report to the main office. Visitors will be asked to identify themselves and present a valid identification, such as a driver’s license or government issued ID. The visitor’s personal ID will then be scanned into a secure visitor management database.

A photo visitor badge will then be printed and used as a visitor credential. Visitors will be issued a colored lanyard necklace with a plastic sleeve to hold the credential, which must be worn at all times while visiting the school. School staff have been trained to approach and question visitors who are in the building and not wearing a visitor ID badge.

Office staff will hold the visitor’s personal ID during the duration of their school visit, and return the personal ID when they return to the office to check out.

McDonald explained when a visitor’s personal ID is scanned, it is checked against a national sex offender database, as well as the district’s internal controls and listings such as Skyward. McDonald said if a visitor is “flagged,” the database will automatically send out an alert to authorized staff who will head to the main office to assist with the situation. McDonald said video surveillance will also be added to main vestibules and offices.

In regard to deliveries and contractors, all loading docks will be equipped with intercom security cameras that will communicate with front office staff. Delivery personnel will be required to show identification by holding their ID badge in front of the camera for front office to verify their identity and state the nature of their business. Upon verification, office staff will allow them access into the building.

Vosberg-Torgerson said testing on the new security system will take place at Isanti Intermediate School in July, when School for All Seasons opens.

Superintendent Dr. Ray Queener said construction on the school buildings will begin as soon as school is done for the year. The last day of school is June 6 with a two-hour early release that day.

Queener praised the work of the district staff.

“I would like to thank all the school principals and administrators, as well as Robyn (Vosberg-Torgerson), Mark (Eisenbacher) and Bill (McDonald) for all their work on the project and policy,” Queener said. “These are all great initiatives that will make the district known as a leader in regard to school safety, security and visitor management.”