Island school installs thermal camera ahead of reopening
VICTORIA -- As children across British Columbia prepare to head back to the classroom on Monday after being off for weeks, one Vancouver Island school is leading the pack with new fever-screening technology.
Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan has purchased a $25,000 automatic thermal screen camera, which has been installed at the entrance of the school to check the temperature of everyone who enters the building.
Head of School David Robertson tells CTV News Vancouver Island the school wanted to act quickly. He said he believes it’s one of the first schools to install the technology.
“At least you know coming into the bubble there is a very strong chance that everyone is safe,” he said. “It reduced the anxiety for our staff, parents and our kids.”
The technology has been installed at the front entrance and students will be greeted by the camera come Monday.
Robin Pettyfer, of Stallion Systems Inc., said Dehua Thermal Solution is a first line of defence.
“No one should pretend this is a medical device, it is not going to get your asymptomatic people, but still, it is going to get 70 per cent of people who have a temperature,” said Pettyfer.
The camera allows for automated screening that is discrete. If a child has a fever, a quiet alert will go off informing staff of the temperature recorded.
“It’s not saying, ‘Excuse me I want your temperature,’” said Pettyfer. “You don’t even have to know it is going on … Right from the get-go – before a child, parent or staff can really infect other people – you can stop it from happening.”
The camera system can read three different people’s temperatures every second, according to Pettyfer.
A mother of two students at QMS said she finds the technology reassuring.
“I think having a thermal screen system puts my mind at ease,” said Kristy Grant. “It is one more checkpoint of ensuring the health and safety of everyone on the campus.”
Grant said her son is excited to get back to school and his routine.
B.C.’s top doctor announced on Saturday that she would not be surprised if there are one or two cases of COVID-19 at schools in the coming weeks.
“That is OK,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We know how to deal with this. We know it is not easily spread and we can prevent it by putting in place the measures that we have in our schools, and it is going to be a bit of a challenge and anxiety-provoking and exciting.”
The school has been testing the new system over the last week and plans on keeping it in place for the foreseeable future. Robertson said he expects 85 per cent of students to return to the classroom on Monday.