Betrayed by the GPS, a truck driver from Bergamo ends up in a schoolyard”… When planning the physical security and safety of a school means predicting the improbable! Road bollards would have been enough to prevent a truck from entering a school yard almost at the time of the children’s exit (fortunately, a very serious tragedy was avoided!), But often, the design or adaptation of educational facilities passes through posthumous works and is not organic.
In 2002, During an earthquake, with the epicenter located between Campobasso, Larino, and the Dauno Apennines, in the province of Foggia, the roof slab of part of the “Francesco Jovine” school building collapsed on the lower part. Fifty-seven children, eight teachers, and two janitors were trapped under the rubble, causing the death of 27 children and a teacher. Since then, it has been understood that the safety of sensitive places such as schools had to pass from a careful seismic vulnerability assessment, focusing on new technologies that allow instrumental monitoring inside a building.
This means installing a system in the structure consisting of a certain number of sensors, i.e., devices capable of measuring physical and environmental parameters, data storage and processing units, and data transmission elements. The concept of integrated sensors of sensitive buildings such as schools, hospitals, and retirement homes now passes entirely through IoT and artificial intelligence technologies, protecting the structure using seismic sensors – fire and smoke detection, access control, video surveillance with video analysis, without excluding the monitoring of biological risks and air quality.
Access control, with biometric detection integrated with the temperature, would undoubtedly be fundamental for areas such as highly frequented university campuses, distinguishing the different privileges:
1 – Access to classrooms and laboratories
2 – Access to external gates controlled automatically or even only at set times
3 – Access to common areas (only some specific people and service personnel can access all common areas)
4 – Access to parking is allowed only to the cars of qualified teachers or students
5 – Technical rooms: access is controlled and allowed only to previously authorized maintenance technicians
There are countless cases dealt with around the world in which deranged murderers have shot at students or seized classes. Fortunately, in Italy, there is no free circulation of firearms as in the US, but access to campuses and universities takes place (when present!) Through obsolete lockers with staff not used to checking. Digitizing the accesses (and the routes) allows you to retrace the contacts (for any infections), providing aggregated and easily available data.
Integration with video analysis
Furthermore, integrating access control with video analysis means processing events that the human eye cannot perceive to prevent or reconstruct situations or, as our interventions told in our interventions, to adopt effective measures against the pandemic. For example, the occupants of an area can also be counted for evacuation purposes while monitoring the escape routes. Then we think of the damage to the school inheritance; who does not remember the smeared walls of the schools … but who has ever quantified the economic value of such actions?
Designing safety in schools also means evaluating the relationship between air quality and COVID-19; currently, air quality meters are unable to detect the presence of viruses in the environment but are designed to detect the presence of pollutants such as fine dust, CO2, VOCs, PM, molds and other pathogens. The Istituto Superiore di Sanità has highlighted a relationship between pollutants in the air we breathe and coronavirus infections. Specifically, “air pollution increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections, particularly in vulnerable subjects, such as the elderly and people with previous diseases, conditions that also characterize the COVID-19 epidemic.
Sanitize the air
In addition, environments should be regularly protected from COVID-19, thanks to the use of an air sanitizer, since coronavirus viral particles can survive in the air even for twenty minutes inside a closed room and without recirculation of air. As for DAD, we hope that it will temporarily reduce the contagion situation. We hope that many of the new funds made available by Europe will be used for a technological adaptation of school structures that allow greater safety to protect our children and us.