Fayette schools to add thermal imaging cameras

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Hikvision brochure about thermal imaging systems.
Hikvision brochure about thermal imaging systems.

Fayette County public schools will soon be outfitted with thermal imaging, facial recognition cameras which will detect students and others with fevers entering the school.

The Fayette County Board of Education on Aug. 10 approved the purchase of up to 75 cameras, at an installed price of $7,000 per unit, for a maximum total of $525,000.

The purchase will be made using ESPLOST (education special purpose local option sales tax) safety and security funds.

Superintendent Jody Barrow said the cameras are the last piece of the puzzle for re-opening schools.

Noting that schools will continue to depend on parents to take the temperatures of students before coming to school, Barrow said the cameras will capture the face, including the eyes and forehead, so there will be no problem with people wearing masks when entering the building. The cameras will also be installed at bus loop locations.

Barrow noted that the cameras will not serve as a diagnostic tool.

Once the camera identifies the individual as having a fever, the person will report to the school nurse for a diagnostic evaluation to determine the precise temperature.

Commenting on the specifics of the cameras, Assistant Superintendent Mike Sanders said the school system has been vetting cameras systems since April.

The Hikvision thermal cameras will integrate with the current camera system, and includes a range of 8.2 feet to 23 feet, Sanders said, adding that the thermal imaging operates with an accuracy of .5 degrees.

Barrow said the thermal imaging cameras can be in place soon, likely within the next couple of weeks, adding that they present long-term solution.

Barrow said there is a possibility that federal funds might be available for the purchase.

72 COMMENTS

  1. High qty of infrared thermometers could have been acquired for every school to screen at point of entries, front office, nurses, special events, etc. for a fraction of the cost. And they could be utilized in various situations and be more flexible in their use than a fixed camera mounted (at $7,000/each) somewhere on the property. Doctor’s offices and the ER don’t even have these….Who will be monitoring the images (teachers?) and how can these be used other than passively? Rumor has it we will be in Code Red in 2 weeks after school opens anyway…Wasting tax payer dollars just for show!

  2. Hikvision is a state owned Chinese corporation banned from federal contracts for years. Why is FCBOE buying 500k worth of cameras the fed won’t allow in their buildings and installing them in our schools?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these are like surplus that got ripped out of federal buildings after the ban. But it still seems suspect.

  3. So, the Board can’t tell us whether we start school on Monday or Thursday, but has been busy studying and buying $525,000 worth of thermal cameras…that will be irrelevant when we go on red or in six months when this is over? Please do not ask the citizens of this county for more money until you make better decisions with what we have already given you.

  4. I don’t need to have a fever to experience chills running down my spine. I’m not questioning the efficacy of thermal scanners, but somehow something about scanning the bodies of children in order to identify, investigate and isolate them smacks of COVID-1984.