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Why You Need To Have a Plan and How iVisitor Management and MySchool iD™ Can Help

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Introduction

“Knowing how to respond quickly and efficiently in a crisis is critical to ensuring the safety of our schools and students. The midst of a crisis is not the time to start figuring out who ought to do what. At that moment, everyone involved – from top to bottom – should know the drill and know each other.” 

-Margaret Spellings, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

Over the past decade, legislators and administrators across the country have supported the improvement of school safety, emergency preparedness, and emergency response. No matter the situation, whether it’s a campus lockdown, environmental hazard, or act of violence, having a plan in place can dramatically reduce stress, anxiety, and mistakes. One key aspect of emergency response is student reunification.

We’re going to provide you with valuable information on what student reunification is, why it’s important, current best practices, and how you can further improve your reunification process with iVisitor Management and MySchool iD. Ident-A-Kid is committed to helping our nation’s schools improve their security and efficiency by providing innovative solutions and informative resources that educate you about industry best practices.

What is Student Reunification?

Student reunification is a systematic process used by K-12 schools and districts to effectively and efficiently reunite students with parents and guardians during an emergency or crisis.  

According to a research paper titled “Bringing Families Together: Parent-Student Reunification Procedures in School Crisis Planning,” written by Ashleigh Welko while at Wright State University, “parent-student reunification is one of the most frequently ignored or underdeveloped aspects of school emergency planning, yet a poorly developed reunification plan has the potential to become an enormous source of chaos in the aftermath of a school crisis.” (Source)

Why is Student Reunification Important?

It’s worth the time and money it may take to have a ready and practiced plan of action for student reunification. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, the faster you can reunite students with caregivers, the less likely they will show traumatic stress from the events. (NASP source) Expedient reunification reduces the potential for lasting trauma to both children and their caregivers.

Successfully reuniting students and caregivers helps lessen emotional and mental stress but while students are at school, parents and caregivers expect their children to be safe. When an emergency occurs, parents trust that you’re protecting their children from harm and that their school has a plan in place.

Guidelines and best practices for student reunification.

In this section, we will cover guidelines and recommendations for best practices that come from trusted resources. Before we jump in, though, we wanted to take a moment and recognize that the suggestions in this article might not work for your specific district, and that’s okay. We’re also going to share with you our sources, which provide more information and suggestions. If the guidelines you read in this article aren’t a fit for you, we recommend reading through our sources and creating a plan that’s right for you.

Involve your local law enforcement and first responders

When creating your emergency response and reunification plans, it’s essential to involve your local law enforcement and first responders. They’re going to be on the scene with you and will be able to provide resources and assistance where needed for any emergency. They’ll also help you create a plan that works well and is easy to execute. Keeping them in on the planning process ensures minimal confusion between your staff and first responders when an emergency does occur.

Create an Emergency Response Team

Effectively responding to emergencies and reuniting students cannot be accomplished alone. Below are some recommended roles and responsibilities that staff can fulfill.

For more information about roles and responsibilities during student reunification, we recommend visiting The “I Love U Guys” Foundation’s website.

Have A Reunification Go Kit Ready beforehand

What you decide to include in your Reunification Go Kit may differ, but we recommend using some of the following:

Samples for many of these items can be found on The “I Love U Guys” Foundation’s website here.

Document your actions

It is vital that every step of the process be documented, including all damage and expenditures incurred, and that the school officials are able to trace all specific information regarding the release after the incident has been resolved.

The student reunification procedure

Before we jump in, we want to take a moment and recognize that the recommended procedures in this article might not work for your specific district, and that’s okay. We’re also going to share with you our sources, which provide more information and suggestions. If the guidelines you read in this article aren’t a fit for you, we recommend reading through our sources, contacting them if needed, and creating a plan that’s right for you.

Step 1: Notify all parties involved

Once an emergency has occurred, you should contact all relevant parties. This could include law enforcement, first responders, your district’s emergency response team, teachers, and staff.

Step 2: Establish a chain of command

During your planning, it’s recommended that you will have already had staff volunteer to fulfill roles as needed. Each role should begin assembling its team to perform its duties.

Step 3: Transport students to the reunification site

Depending on the emergency, your reunification site may be on your campus, or you may need to transport students to a different, previously established location. The safety of your students is the top priority. It’s important to have an accurate roster of students and make sure they arrive safely.

Step 4: Establish a check-in location for parents and guardians

Parents and guardians are likely to arrive at the reunification site soon after being contacted. Prepare the area you’ve designated for parent and guardian check-in with the needed supplies for reunification.

Step 6: Parents fill out reunification information

After confirming ID and custody, parents and guardians should fill out theirs and their student’s information on the cards provided to begin reunification.

Step 7: Reunify student with parent or guardian

Once all the necessary information has been provided, your team will retrieve the student and reunify them with their parent or guardian.

For more information about the student reunification process, we encourage you to visit: 

These two resources can provide you with a greater level of detail, training, and insight for planning and executing student reunification.

Ways to use iVisitor Management for student reunification

Ident-A-Kid understands the need for an effective and fast student reunification. With a few tweaks to the procedure and go kits previously described, your team will be able to accomplish the same goal faster and with little to no paperwork.

Use iVisitor Management for accurate student rosters

Before being reunited, students will need to be accounted for by your team. Instead of using a paper and pencil method of checking in students, you can use iVisitor Management. Quickly scan a student’s ID, or quickly look up their name if no ID is available, as they enter the reunification site. Scanning IDs with iVisitor Management will document the time of check-in, the student’s name and update your real-time reports. Any additional info needed can be entered to help other team members with the proper procedure for parent communication.

Scan student IDs upon exiting the Holding Area to document release time. Once a student has been reunited with their parent or guardian in the Family Waiting Area, scan the QR code from the Reunification slip to document the exit time and successful completion. Have parents and guardians initial their passes and then file the passes accordingly (option).*Total duration can be calculated for each individual reunification within reports.

Use iVisitor Management for checking in parents and guardians

When adults initially arrive to retrieve their children, direct them to the check-in area, where members of the Student Reunification Team will assist them. Scan the parent/guardian’s ID, select the student name, and collect any additional information (optional). You can request their signature and a photograph (optional).  Once all required information is entered, the reunification pass will print in the Holding Area so runners may retrieve the student.

Use iVisitor Management for real-time reports

Having the most up-to-date, accurate information during an emergency is crucial. Instead of manually searching through reunification cards and clipboards, use iVisitor Management’s Web Manager to check your reports. All information tracked during reunification automatically updates your reports in real-time, can be viewed on a laptop, tablet, or cell phone, and is easy to share with other team members.

Ways to use MySchool iD for student reunification

Use MySchool iD to activate emergencies

You can leverage MySchool iD’s (MSID) emergency management features to quickly alert all students and staff of an emergency on campus. This will reduce the time it takes to begin preparing everyone for evacuation or taking action. Both students and staff can mark themselves safe at the reunification site, ask for help if needed, and report other non-emergency incidents.

Notify Law Enforcement with MySchool iD* (coming soon)

Coming soon, you’ll be able to directly communicate with law enforcement and first responders during an emergency. This will keep all parties involved up-to-date and expedite assistance.

Schools will be able to activate the emergency, and then students can report issues if they see one and mark themselves safe when needed. Either staff can mark them safe on the way or at the reunification site, or they can prompt the students to do so through the mobile app.

How to set up your iVisitor Management system for student reunification

Setup the iVisitor Management station(s)

For best results, we recommend that you use devices that run on Windows and have at least 2 USB ports. This will give you the best compatibility with peripherals, like license scanners. We also recommend that you install device drivers from our support page: https://support.identakid.com/.

For help setting up a new visitor management check-in station, visit our support page here. Rename your visitor management check-in station to reflect the purpose of its function so that it’s easily identified when setting up your devices. Activate the setting, “Allow Remote Access,” to allow remote printing from all student reunification check-in stations.

Setup and test your devices

We recommend that you use a license scanner and at least one printer for your reunification check-in station. A license scanner will be used to check IDs and confirm the custody of students. The printer will be used to create passes that have the corresponding reunification information for your runners.

If using an iPad or Android device, mobile license scanning may be available through the tablet.

For information on setting up and testing your devices, please refer to our support page here. You can also contact our support team by calling 800-890-1000 and choosing option #2 from our menu or emailing support@identakid.com.

Once your devices are set up, test them to make sure they properly scan licenses and print passes. If they don’t, please contact our support team for assistance.

How to create a “Reunification” check-in badge in iVisitor Management

Note: You must be an admin-level user to perform the actions outlined in this section.

Step 1: Sign in to your iVisitor Management Web Manager. This is the application you use for adding users, customizing settings, and creating reports.

Step 2: Go to Settings> Badge Settings> select Add New Badge

Step 3: Select Display and edit the Title field “Parent Reunification”

Step 4: Select ‘Check-In/Out” from the Web Client Display Button menu

Step 5: Enter Parent/Guardian in the Name Label Prefix box

Step 6: Select “Students” from the Pre-loaded Category to Load menu

Step 7: Activate “Enable Student Contact Relationship” by moving the slider to blue

Step 8: Return to Badge Settings> select Auto Logout> set to “None”

Step 9: Return to Badge Settings> edit info fields 1 and 2 to gather any additional information you want or need

Step 10: Edit the Title> activate the option “Displayed” to make it visible to the end-user

Step 11: Activate Required (User must input info to proceed)

Step 12: Activate Printed (Input data will print out on slip)

Step 13: Activate Freeform Entry will allow the user to enter custom data

Step 14: Select Answers to provide predetermined answers to info field questions *only eight answers will display on-screen at a time
Step 15: To post attendance and additional information back to PowerSchool. Enable info Field 4 and Title it “Current Class,” activate Required and Displayed. Enter the desired Attendance code into the Answer box.

If you have any questions regarding how to use iVisitor Management for student reunification, please call us at 800-890-1000 and choose option #4 or email sales@identakid.com

For assistance setting up your iVisitor Management system for reunification, book a time with our support team by calling 800-890-1000 and choose option #2, email support@identakid.com, or visit our website here to schedule an appointment.

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