In response to events such as thefts of student property and the shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT, Andover will institute a guest pass policy for Paresky Commons this spring and re-issue the policy regarding background checks and conduct codes for tutors to improve safety and security on campus, according to the Parents’ Bulletin sent to parents on February 22.
Beginning this spring, every person from off-campus that wishes to eat in Commons will be required to carry a pass to indicate that he or she is a guest of someone at the school, according to the Bulletin in an e-mail from Rebecca Sykes, Associate Head of School.
“The safety and security of our campus are among our highest priorities and we continue to explore ways to improve our protocols and practices,” wrote Sykes in her e-mail.
Commons will remain open for families of current students to eat unlimited meals without passes during the opening of school, Parents’ Weekend and Commencement Weekend, according to Sykes’ e-mail.
Andover’s current policy for parents and guests in Commons requires them to purchase meals in Susie’s, according to the Senior Administrative Council (SAC) Meeting Minutes published in “The Gazette” on February 15.
The Gazette said, “Maureen [Ferris] will check into a proposed idea of having guests wear a temporary wristband once they have purchased a meal, thus allowing campus adults to know who is an approved guest and who is not.”
“There is an internal group working on the details of how the [guest pass] system will be implemented, and details on that process will be shared when ready,” wrote Maureen Ferris, Director of Risk Management, in an e-mail to The Phillipian.
Tutors will continue to be required to work with the Human Resources Department and complete Criminal Offender Registry Information (CORI) and Sexual Offender Registry Information (SORI). They will also have to sign a Phillips Academy Tutor Code of Conduct and work with students in only a designated area of the Oliver Wendell Holmes (OWHL) Library, according to Sykes’ e-mail.
“If you have engaged a tutor to work with your child, or plan to do so in the future, please help us to ensure that the individual adheres to this policy. We understand how important this additional support is to some of our students, and thank you for helping us to maintain these expectations,” wrote Sykes.
In a separate project, the Department of Human Resources and Risk Management will introduce employee fingerprinting and increase the number of individuals who must have their CORI and SORI checked, according to the SAC Meeting Minutes.
The CORI and SORI checks were recommended by a special counsel hired by the trustees to “assure best practices in child protection,” according to SAC Minutes. Employee fingerprinting is mandated by a new state law that requires teachers at public and private schools, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit their fingerprints for background checks, according to “boston.com.”