Opening the exterior doors: there’s an app for that

HID Mobile Access App replaces keycards for entering the building

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Hillary Currier

Principal Danyelle Ramsey greets students on the first day of school. Students used the new HID Mobile Access app for the first time that day.

     Accompanying the new school year was a new entry protocol—the HID Mobile Access App. The new application, once installed on a student’s phone, allowed the student to admit themselves into the school building. The app was a solution to the previous problem of students losing their keycard lanyards. Instead of having to keep track of a lanyard, students could use their phones, which in most cases they are much less likely to lose. 

     On the first day of school, this app proved to have a bit of a learning curve. Many of the students struggled to understand how to unlock the doors, or even get signed in to the app in the first place. A line formed at the front door where Principal Danyelle Ramsey was greeting students and reminding them to get out their phones and turn on their Bluetooth. 

     With a new system, there were some hesitations. The first hesitation was actually from the administration itself. Ramsey admitted that the rollout wasn’t very smooth.

     “The company didn’t have their ducks in a row which was a bit worrying,” Ramsey said. 

     Students also were skeptical about downloading the app at first.

     “One potential issue is that people seem to think it is gathering data, which it is not,” Ramsey said.  “The more we can educate people that it is not a data collecting app the better.” 

     According to the HID website, the app uses GPS information about the location of a device; however, it does not collect personal information from it.

     David Shephard, the Dean of Student Management, Safety, and Security, had a large part in the decision to switch to the new app. Shephard explained that the purpose of the HID Mobile Access app is to beef up safety measures at Central Catholic. 

     “We switched from badges to the HID Mobile Access to increase security and safety at Central Catholic,” Shephard said. “There are two main advantages of the app; increased security and less opportunity for loss of cell phones versus badges.”  

     “It is the most secure system to enter the building,” Shephard said. 

     The update hasn’t worked out perfectly for everyone. There are a few teachers that do not have phones capable of using or downloading the app. There are also a small group of students that haven’t or couldn’t download the app as well.

     “Our goal is to keep every student and staff member safe. Our number one goal is to ensure that everyone is able to get home to their families,” Shephard said.

     Students seemed to have overall positive feelings about this new system, such as sophomore Alex Burke.

     “I personally liked the ID badge for simplicity, but I think the app is safer,” Burke said. “People let others in anyways though.” 

     For safety reasons, students are not supposed to allow other students into the building if they don’t have their lanyards on. Burke was a witness of this. He hoped this topic will draw more attention in the future and be enforced. 

     “I think Central using the app shows that they are trying to keep us safe,” Burke said. 

     The app is intended to do just that. 

     For a different perspective, parent and 1995 alumnus Jonas Allen liked the new system.

     “I think it is a fine change because high schoolers always have their phones, and it is not something they are likely to lose,” Allen said. “It does give them one more reason to open their phone and that might be distracting, but overall, I think it is a fine change.” 

     Safety has always been a priority at Central Catholic, even during Allen’s high school years.

     “I think Central has always prioritized student safety, so whether it be an ID badge or an app, I don’t think either one is more or less safe,” he said.