Event and attendance tracking plays an important role across educational settings. Students use identity cards and mobile credentials for classroom attendance, equipment check-out, accessing the library or school bus, meal plans and secure entry and access across campus facilities.

The advent of COVID-19, however, has given school attendance tracking software and associated readers a whole new dimension at all levels of education. Today, the same technology used to monitor student attendance in the classroom or at extracurricular events is finding innovative applications in the fight against this global pandemic.

“We must be more proactive, rather than reactive, about safety,” Marlon Bermas, founder of TNETIC Inc., said. “It’s important for a school to have the tools to ensure safety for our students and staff.”

TNETIC specializes in time and attendance software solutions for clients in business, healthcare, nonprofits, government and education. A longtime partner of rf IDEAS, the company’s proven i-Attend Cloud and Mobile applications have become a vital COVID-19 contact tracing tool, helping to protect students, parents and faculty in educational environments across the country.

The company has collaborated with rf IDEAS over the past seven years to deliver client solutions requiring card readers alongside the i-Attend software. When configured with an rf IDEAS reader, the cloud-based i-Attend software has the ability to capture attendee data at schools and business meetings, and offers the ability to send surveys or evaluations to participants with basic questions when they sign in for the class or event. Other TNETIC modules include certificates, name badges and event creation capabilities.

A New Role for a Powerful Tool

As the pandemic deepened, Bermas and his team modified the functionality of the i-Attend Capture app to include support for surveys in order to probe for health-related data such as, “Are you currently experiencing any symptoms?” Real-time answers to this type of question can help to identify possible COVID-positive students who can then be treated and quarantined.

Once a student has been diagnosed, i-Attend can facilitate robust contact tracing based on the student’s movement in any environment equipped with our trusted WAVE ID® readers.

“So, for example, let’s say a student is COVID-19-positive and the school uses i-Attend to track attendance,” Bermas said. “In i-Attend we are able to find out all the classes this person has attended or all the buses that they’ve taken. We’re able to drill down into the classes and find out, ‘Who else attended those classes? Who else was on those buses?’ We also have the ability to find out who taught that class or who drove that bus. And given that, we can find out what other classes this person taught, or what other buses this person drove. Those are the data that we can extract from i-Attend.”

From the School Bus to the Lunch Line

Bermas notes that credential-based contact tracing goes beyond the bus. “It can be a classroom. It can be a cafeteria. It can be any kind of area…So anywhere you keep your attendance, you can get the data of who was in that particular area at a given time. Data can then help you understand if so and so tested positive for COVID-19, ‘Okay, who was with that person at the same time in the same area?’”

In short, it’s possible to identify which other students, faculty and staff also came into close proximity with the infected student. A detailed roadmap of his or her movements—based on data generated by i-Attend and WAVE ID readers—can lead contact tracers to anyone who crossed paths with them.

According to Bermas, contactless student attendance tracking software solutions featuring Bluetooth® technology are growing in acceptance and giving contact tracers a boost in how they work. “BLE technology can be a big factor for both i-Attend and rf IDEAS… especially during the pandemic,” Bermas said. Both TNETIC and rf IDEAS are working on a variety of BLE- and mobility-based authentication solutions for safe, no-touch applications.

Simple Integration, Total Support

Time is a critical factor during the pandemic, so another advantage offered by the i-Attend contact tracing tool is simple installation. If the school already has rf IDEAS readers, the i-Attend Capture app can be downloaded and used on a same-day basis. On-premise installation of WAVE ID readers and any IT infrastructure takes approximately three to five days. Training and IT support is included in the solution.

With schools on the front lines of this pandemic, educators and IT professionals have a new tool at the ready. And students, parents and staff can feel safer knowing that their health and welfare are being taken seriously, every step of the way.

Whether you are looking for a solution like i-Attend or seeking to integrate WAVE ID technology into your own contact tracing strategy, rf IDEAS is your authority for secure access and tracking. Learn more about our range of attendance tracking solutions. Contact your rf IDEAS representative for more information or email [email protected] to talk to an expert.