HVCC keeps COVID-19 at bay with enhanced thermal screening tech

Rensselaer County

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Hudson Valley Community College has kept the number of coronavirus cases on their campus low compared to other schools in the state. They say innovative technology from a local security business has greatly helped their efforts.

Thermal camera technology from Shepherd Communication and Security, an Albany-based business, has made the COVID-19 screening process at HVCC simple and effective.

President of the college, Roger Ramsammy, says their coronavirus protocols didn’t start out this way. Manual temperature reading was slow and made social distancing difficult.

“Long lines, people rushing to class,” said Ramsammy, “having to come here much earlier.”

That’s where Shepherd comes in with their elevated body temperature, or EBT solution.

“Shepherd Communication and Security assembled parts and pieces of this unique cart specifically for Hudson Valley,” said Bob Guillerault, a member of the managing team at Shepherd.

A security guard monitors the cart from behind a plexiglass shield as students come through the door. If their temperature is above 100 degrees, a beep sounds off to alert the guard. They’re stopped from entering further, and a notification is sent out to the appropriate administration. If they measure nice and cool, they keep passing through.

Shepherd’s solution goes beyond simplicity. It boasts enhanced accuracy, with a tool that takes environmental factors into account, constantly calibrating with the camera.

“You have different temperature factors in the building: heating and cooling systems, doors opening and closing,” said Guillerault, “what the black body does is it makes sure the camera knows what the room’s ambient temperature is at all times.”

Ramsammy says the technology has proven to be worth every cent, and has been critical to their students’ success during the pandemic. Many courses at HVCC rely on hands-on skill learning.

“No matter what, students have to be on campus to do, at least, the skills,” said Ramsammy, “and that puts us around 1,200 to 1,500 students that are physically on the campus, walking onto the system.”

The technology from Shepherd is also being utilized at SUNY Polytechnic Institute and the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District.


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