Kent School Improves School Safety and Efficiency

Like most schools, the Kent School had for years kept buildings and rooms secure with mechanical locks. But after the tragedy in nearby Newtown, the leadership of the Connecticut private boarding institution wanted to improve Kent's safety and security. This first led to adopting an electronic card-based door lock technology that, while an improvement, didn't connect to the campus network.

"We saw that having everything tied to a network would be a huge advantage, because an online platform improves your ability to remotely monitor and manage the activity assigned to a certain room," says Associate Head of School Jeffrey D. Cataldo, who serves as CFO and COO of Kent. "We also wanted to work with a leader in the field of access control, who could advise us on how to use, maintain and extract as much value from their system as possible." Kent found such a partner in ASSA ABLOY and decided to install their IN120 Wi-Fi locks across campus. 

Smooth Implementation Process

Kent began implementation during the summer and needed to finish before school began. "We are lucky to have a team of onsite electricians and other trained employees," says Cataldo. "We were also able to rely on ASSA ABLOY and our factory certified integrator who provided consultation and helped us determine how the jobs would go. It was a smooth process from start to finish. 

Currently, IN120 Wi-Fi locks have been installed throughout 80 percent of the Kent campus, including 250 dorm rooms. The locks feature reader technology that gives schools the broadest flexibility in their card or mobile credential selection and leverage the school's existing Wi-Fi network to streamline installations. 

Improved Efficiency and Visibility 

Students can now easily enter and lock their dorm rooms with their assigned card and, should these cards get lost, campus employees are able to quickly disable the lost card and issue a new card to the student so they can access their room.

Staff can also remotely monitor and manage the locks via real-time alarms and see when external doors are locked and who has been denied entry to certain areas. "For example, there's no need for students to access an academic building or other dormitories besides their own after 8:00 PM when it's time for bed, so we can turn off access to those areas," says Cataldo. Additionally, places such as libraries are only open during study times outside of the normal school day.

Keeping Students Safe while Ensuring Privacy

Kent leadership also put restrictions on faculty and staff's cards. "This wasn't in response to a problem, but it was proactively for the purpose of managing campus in a safe and efficient manner," says Cataldo. For example, staff are only allowed to enter dormitories during normal working hours, since these buildings are considered students' homes. The same applies to academic buildings if they do not have an office there. Staff and student card holders are protected from unwarranted suspicion through intelligent scheduling and timestamped lock activity reporting.

In case of emergency, campus security operates 24/7 and can unlock doors remotely should staff need access to buildings outside their normal designated hours.

"It's important for schools to recognize the value of having network-connected locks throughout their buildings' interior spaces as well as the traditionally connected exterior openings," says Cataldo. "An online access control system provides unrivaled efficiency campus wide, and comprehensive control over who can access which facilities and when."