All schools and universities need to address three different levels of security when considering access control. The first level is the least vulnerable of the three and concerns the perimeter entry and exit points.

Here, incorporating some level of electronic access control should be a consideration, whether that is a combination of electronic and mechanical door hardware, or a complete electronic solution. An electromechanical solution, such as electric strikes, can be beneficial in the effectiveness of perimeter security as they provide greater visitor management and traffic control.

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Facilitating visitor entry

Electric strikes are able to control access via keypads, cards and proximity readers

Electric strikes are able to control access via keypads, cards and proximity readers. When combined with mechanical locks, they provide the benefits of unrestricted egress. The second level is more vulnerable than the first and relates to the point at which people are screened before entering the interior of the school. As this area will be designed primarily to facilitate visitor entry, it will require adequate monitoring of access control.

To do this, the latches used on access-controlled egress doors can be electronically controlled from the reception area or school office. Exit or entry doors can be opened by a push from the inside and, if the entry area is also an emergency exit, electronically-powered panic bars can also provide an effective solution. More and more schools are installing visitor management systems to control who can and cannot get into the building.

Access control solutions

Finally, the third level – and the most vulnerable – refers to the core of the school that both students and staff occupy. These are internal hallways, corridors, stairwells, entry points and restricted areas (such as staff lounges and science laboratories). These are the areas where a school must foster the safest environments for pupils, while also providing protection as they often contain confidential information, expensive equipment or chemicals.

A number of different access control solutions are beneficial, whether electronic, mechanical or a combination of the two
The access control system is linked to all doors within the school building

A number of different access control solutions are beneficial, whether electronic, mechanical or a combination of the two. For electronic solutions, there are two options available: remote or centralised systems. With remote lockdown systems, individual locks are activated by remote control within proximity to the door. With integrated centralised systems, the access control system is linked to all doors within the school building and locked at the touch of a button.

Prevent unauthorised persons

Mechanical solutions, which include a cylinder lock and key, are also suitable for places such as classrooms, as doors can be locked externally with a key or internally with a thumbturn, to prevent unauthorised persons from entering.

At one university in the United States, a smart RFID wire-free access control solution has been installed

At one university in the United States, a smart RFID wire-free access control solution has been installed. The SALTO Virtual Network (SVN) wire-free system pushes and pulls data from the university’s ‘hot spot’ entry points to all their offline locks. By choosing a wire-free solution, the university only had to run wires to their exterior doors. The interior doors do not require wiring as these locks are stand-alone wire-free locks.

Student accommodation block

Securing access to student accommodates is another concern among colleges. One university in the United Kingdom wanted a security system to protect their student accommodation; in particular, a keyless system that would grant 24/7 access to its students while also enabling campus security to monitor these activities remotely. They chose Vanderbilt’s ACT365, which keeps audit trails by monitoring and recording fob activity.

When another English university sought electronic locks for its newest student accommodation block, it turned to Aperio wireless locking technology from ASSA ABLOY. They used the wireless locks to extend the Gallagher Command Centre access control system to a student residence with 231 en suite rooms separated into flats for between 8 and 13 postgraduates. Aperio wireless locks are battery-powered and use less energy than wired magnetic security locks.