Loudoun Co. takes extra security step to keep intruders out of schools

Public schools in Virginia’s Loudoun County are adding an extra security step before opening school doors to visitors.

In the past, a visitor would display an ID to a security camera at the front door of one of Loudoun’s 94 schools, announce the purpose of the visit and be buzzed into the school’s front office.

John Clark, director of safety and security for the school system, said a new visitor protocol is in place this year.

“We’re going to ask all visitors to remain outside of the building, until their appointment, or reason for visit is verified,” Clark said.

“Once they’ve confirmed that you are supposed to be on the school grounds, and supposed to have access to the building, they will activate the door and allow you to enter the main office.”

As in years past, visitor badges will be obtained by scanning the photo identification into a visitor-management system, which includes a national law enforcement database.

While Loudoun County continues to build new, more secure buildings each year, the school system also includes facilities built decades ago.

“We’ve got a three-year plan to establish what we call a secure vestibule at every school in Loudoun County,” Clark said. “This year we are rolling out 10 secure vestibules.”

The purpose of the vestibules is to make sure an intruder does not sneak through a door.

“The secure vestibule will ensure that no one tailgates, upon your entrance to the building,” Clark said.

School for 83,762 students started Thursday.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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