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The Carlsbad Unified School District offices. Courtesy photo
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CUSD board approves new visitor system

CARLSBAD — During its July 24 meeting, the Carlsbad Unified School District board of trustees made a move it hopes will increase school safety when it approved a system for upgrading the district’s visitor management system.

The LobbyGuard system began as a pilot program at Magnolia Elementary School during the 2018-19 school year, Assistant Superintendent Chris Wright said, adding that it is the best fit for the district.

“The LobbyGuard system is a sign-in system,” said Kelly Fleming, director of facilities and construction management. “Some features we liked about LobbyGuard was we could incorporate some of that into our attendance criteria. It also has the ability to customize other areas of check-ins.”

The board approved the contract with LobbyGuard for about $74,000, which will be funded through Measure HH, the $265 million school bond passed in 2018.

The system works by an individual scanning the back of their identification card at a self-service kiosk, which then searches a sexual offender database, Fleming said. When approved, the individual will be given a badge to allow them on campus, she added.

Another feature is the district can upload custody agreements and restraining orders to ensure a child’s safety.

“This allows us to coordinate who’s actually picking up our kids and who is authorized to pick our kids,” Fleming added. “We can customize the alerts to go to the cellphones of the SROs (school resource officers), the principals, here at the district office or anybody we see fit.”

She said the web-based dashboard can also be accessed by the Carlsbad Police Department. Currently, the district has no measures to prevent a registered sex offender from stepping inside a campus.

As for some cons, Fleming said, only a state-issued driver’s license can be scanned. Passports, military IDs or any other type of identification card aren’t compatible with the software. Superintendent Ben Churchill said the district is prepared, on a case-by-case basis, to work individuals who forget their state-issued driver’s license.

“We can do a visual one-on-one check with the principal verifying this is the parent,” he said. “It gives us the ability to give them a proxy card or something. He’s (Wright) already worked with some of these issues during the pilot.”

Wright said the cost runs about $4,600 per site for a total of just less than $74,000, and is under the bid limits. However, the annual licensing fee of about $7,100 per year would come out of the General Fund.

Carlsbad and Sage Creek high schools, Carlsbad Village Academy and Valley Middle School will begin using the system in September. Both Calavera Hills campuses and Aviara Oaks schools; Buena Vista, Hope, Jefferson and Kelly elementary schools will roll out in November. Pacific Rim, Poinsettia and Magnolia elementary schools will roll out in December.

“We can work individually with each site during that month and help with the uploading and customization,” Fleming said.

Wright said the program also features tools for early and late checkouts.