Physical access control for education

Issue 2 2020 Education (Industry)

One fundamental component of security at educational facilities happens long before anyone has stepped inside. This entails securing the perimeter of the school’s property, including each point of entry. Effective access control policies will ensure that students, staff, and visitors will know exactly where to enter the facility, what to do once they get inside, and how to exit the facility.

“As you begin to think about access control, it may help to picture your campus as a series of concentric circles, with the outside ring being the entire campus grounds and other circles for the outside of the buildings, a ring for each of the interior rooms, and even rings for certain specific assets within the rooms,” says Craig Sacks, MD of Turnstar.

One of the most basic parts of keeping unwanted people off campus is to limit where they can easily come in. In addition, emergency exits are an important part of emergency evacuation routes. “By installing a turnstile with a manual override, one can ensure that the safe passage of people to muster points is assured,” Sacks points out.

While access control is similar for primary/secondary schools and tertiary learning facilities such as universities and colleges, there are some differences to consider.

Schools in particular are subject to public scrutiny as they educate one of the most vulnerable categories – children and youth. Therefore, school security systems must incorporate access control in line with the relevant legal framework, including school safety, such as protection from outside harmful influences as part of the overall security system. Accountability to parents in terms of who manages the system, how access is granted to all stakeholders, and what emergency measures are in place, is generally a given with regard to the access system.

Unlike schools, tertiary education campuses generally require access for students on a 24/7 basis. Furthermore, access zones tend to be more extensive and defined since there are usually more elements to be accessed within these facilities.

“In addition to general access to areas such as the library and canteens, there will be specific access to various faculty campuses, student residences and facilities such as laboratories. This is the ideal environment for both traffic booms and turnstiles as they can be placed in the specific area they are needed and linked to a variety of biometric and card readers, dependent on the level of security required for that zone,” says Sacks.

He says that it’s important for any physical access control system to not only provide optimum security at an affordable price, but to furthermore complement the aesthetics of its surrounding environment. Turnstar has a physical access solution for every educational campus.


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