As schools plan to reopen, many are considering devices that are capable of detecting elevated body temperatures. Even if the decision whether one has COVID-19 is not certain, temperature check has its advantages. Given the current controversy over temperature checks and the number of options available on the market, school officials need to familiarize themselves with the technologies behind temperature checks. Some cameras require a person to stand still temporarily, while others such as F3VR Check Kiosk from TouchIT Technologies can screen a person moving in front of the camera.

So, should temperature screening become compulsory in education? Read on to find out.

What You Need to Know About Temperature Screening

Temperature screening as a tool for detecting COVID-19 is somewhat problematic, as it is common for people to have an elevated body temperature even when they are not sick. However, temperature monitoring is non-invasive, provides reliable and immediate results, monitoring one of the major symptoms of COVID-19. Therefore, schools decision to monitor temperature can be a fair approach to reducing the possibility of an outbreak.

Thermal cameras alone cannot detect fever, as they are an imprecise tool that cannot determine internal body temperature. Nevertheless, it makes sense to deploy thermal imaging cameras. If a thermal camera detects that a person’s skin temperature is excessively high, a medical thermometer, either a conventional oral thermometer or an infrared device, can confirm whether the person has a fever.

In fact, not all thermal imaging cameras require a black magic full frame. For example, F3VR Check Kiosk offers a calibrated version of its temperature scanner. Despite these various environmental factors, it is stable and reliable enough to do the job. However, principals should be aware that the thermal imaging camera is not able to detect other signs or test COVID-19 always, as some infected people may be asymptomatic.

Factors to Keep in Mind before Temperature Screening

Although the choice of thermometers is relatively simple, there are other factors to consider when choosing thermal imaging cameras. School principals should ask crucial questions like: Is it easy to use? How accurate is the performance? How many people are scanned and at what speed? A loss of confidence can have a significant impact on how students, parents and staff communicate with the school and each other.

After all, the main criterion is accuracy. The Food and Drug Administration has established guidelines to ensure the accuracy of medical temperature monitoring methods. For example, body temperature measurements should not be off by more than 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the requirements are not mandatory, and not all devices fit on the label. You can more or less go up to 1⁄2 degrees, although this will not allow you to scan people properly.

Deploying screening technologies

Schools will have to consider how to implement their screening technologies. Portable or trolley-mounted devices are all a good short-term choice, designed for maximum versatility. But as temperature monitoring becomes a long-term standard for schools, it will be easier to choose more permanent installations to minimize operating errors.

And as with most surveillance technologies, the use of thermal imaging cameras often raises privacy issues. Schools need to know what data is being collected and how it is being shared before deciding on a solution. In other word, they need to ensure that appropriate security and privacy measures have been put in place. Schools must critically reflect on their policies and give students, families, staff and other stakeholders as much responsibility as possible with regard to those decisions.

How should temperature screening be implemented?

To conduct temperature testing in a safe and reliable manner and in accordance with data security requirements, schools should establish a protocol in accordance with the following guidelines:

  1. Use a third-party provider to monitor temperatures, if possible. If this is not possible, ensure that the person responsible for temperature monitoring is sufficiently qualified to use the non-contact thermal scanner and understand what factors in addition to COVID-19 may affect his or her measurements.
  2. Personal protective equipment must be provided to the tester. This includes: surgical gloves, face mask, and disposable coats. An alcohol-based hand disinfectant must be available in the area where the research is conducted.
  3. The tester should ask everyone arriving at school if they want to have their temperature tested. If a student, staff member refuses to be tested, he/she must not go to his/her class room because his/her presence could endanger the health and safety of others.
  4. In addition to monitoring the temperature, the tester may ask any student, staff or visitor who enters the school whether he or she has flu-like symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever) or feels ill in any other way. The tester may also ask if in the last 14 days they had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19.
  5. Everybody should be supervised, and if possible, the above supervision questions should be asked in a private or semi-private area, away from the eyes and ears of students, staff or other visitors.
  6. Test results may not be obtained, recorded, processed, used or disclosed for any reason. The other best privacy practices listed above must be followed.
  7. Those whose temperature is above or below 38 C (100.4 F) or who answer “yes” to all screening questions should be asked to return home, isolate themselves and contact their physician or local health authorities to discuss symptoms, treatment options and quarantine conditions.

Information obtained on site through temperature monitoring, should be protected and kept confidential.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, temperature screening should become compulsory in education. This is because schools have a duty to provide a safe environment for everyone. Thermal monitoring and testing applications such as F3VR Check Kiosk are fair means of preventing a COVID -19 outbreak. Although these devices are a practical way to track everyone with fever and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools, educators should be aware that the collection of information by thermal monitoring devices increases privacy obligations due to the potential sensitivity of the information.