*Update: All VBCPS schools began utilizing this new system Monday, Sept. 17 – three months ahead of the original schedule.
While Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) continues to welcome all guests, the school division is adding another layer of security to its buildings this year.
By the end of September, all school visitors will have to use the new video intercom system at the building’s main entrance to request entry since front doors will be locked. All other exterior doors are already locked at all times.
The system is a silver box with a buzzer, voice intercom and video camera. Visitors will press the buzzer to connect with the school’s security staff who can see, hear and speak to individuals requesting entry.
“Once security determines that there is a legitimate reason for the visit, they will remotely unlock the door for that visitor to proceed to the security desk,” said Office of Safe Schools Director Richard Ponti.
For safety purposes, visitors will not be allowed to “piggyback,” meaning every visitor or group will have to use the intercom’s buzzer to communicate with building security prior to gaining entry.
At the security desk, visitors are required to provide a picture identification which is screened through the Visitor Management System that the school division added last year as part of its safe schools practices. After identifications are screened, guests receive a badge which all visitors are required to wear while in the building. VBCPS staff are required to wear their division-issued badges.
“We’re adding the video intercom system as another layer to make buildings even more secure,” Ponti added.
The systems are already installed at schools and will be activated throughout the month as software is connected and staff are trained. All systems are anticipated to be active by the end of September.