Artificial intelligence technologies facilitate the safe re-opening of schools by surveilling the transmission of COVID-19. AI systems, machine learning and automation play an important role in the detection, school-level screening and monitoring of COVID 19 significantly reducing the burden of school staff, while predicting potential COVID-19 outbreaks on a scalable level. While the world continues to grapple with the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, AI systems have become crucial in mitigating the spread of such communicable illnesses and ensuring control. How does it do it? By incorporating machine learning algorithms to spot patterns in large-scale data sets.

The application of AI Technology in managing COVID-19 at schools can be categorized into three:

  1. COVID-19 Surveillance
  2. Child Recovery
  3. School Response

AI in COVID-19 Surveillance at Schools

School districts began using AI-powered covid-19 trackers at schools to counter the COVID-19 epidemic. Prior to the epidemic, schools relied on AI-enabled systems to increase campus security, track visitors, uncover weapons or fight truancy. With the pandemic, schools have been evaluating how they can leverage this technology to keep schools safe and ensure children’s continued learning.

With AI-enabled COVID-19 tracking, schools can conduct remote monitoring, thermal imaging, contact tracing and much more – ensuring safety in the school environment.

Remote Monitoring

AI-based software can locate students on school campuses based on their appearance, gender, clothing, and facial features. The software allows school administrators to find students and determine where they may have been on campus. It analyses physical characteristics such as age, gender, hair color, and hair type. The software analyzes the characteristics and searches for matches in other video footage. The software cannot identify the person but can show where they may have been while in the school.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging cameras are a powerful tool in school safety management when it comes to detecting body temperatures. For example, using heat-detecting systems makes it possible to see if a student, faculty member, or visitor to the school is exhibiting signs of illness.

Contact Tracing

An AI (artificial intelligence)-based location positioning system that was being piloted in schools for emergencies is now a viable option for businesses, schools and other entities for contact tracing and emergency communication. The technology works via a mesh network set up in a building or classrooms, and staffs or students can be tracked by fobs, such as the badges that staffs and students often have now. The students or staffs enter the geo-fencing zone, and both direct and indirect tracing can be done if an outbreak of coronavirus needs to be tracked.

How AI can help in child’s recovery after COVID-19

Students will require tailored, ongoing support to help them adjust and catch up after the pandemic. AI-enabled offerings can support schools in becoming prepared to extend the support required to overcome the immense challenges ahead.

Calculating Risk in Exposed Child

Most children who are exposed to COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. Some children may develop MIS-C; a severe, sometimes fatal, inflammation of the tissues and organs, including the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys. The NICHD-led project, Predicting Viral-Associated Inflammatory Disease Severity in Children with Laboratory Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence (PreVAIL kIds), is part of NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative. The RADx initiative aims to accelerate innovation in the commercialization, development, and implementation of the COVID-19 test. This initiative will complement the many efforts of NIH to combat COVID-19 further and to understand it using innovative tools. The organization recently established the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC). It will make use of artificial intelligence and medical imagery to improve COVID-19 treatment and detection.

Tracking Contagion in Real-Time

Many organizations use real-time tracking successfully today because of the visibility into an asset’s precise, real-time location. For example, this AI-backed technology can be used by schools to track visitors, students and staff, and be used to track valued assets like smart boards, TVs, projectors, laptops, and more.

Managing Quarantined Child

Many students will most likely spend a part of their learning time in quarantine, taking courses or learning new skills. Being in this new situation, students may have a lot of questions, which could overwhelm institutions with inquiries. In this context, using an AI-enabled system has two main advantages. First, they can answer your questions instantly and automatically. Second, if your question is too complicated to be answered online, you can quickly transfer the conversation to a human agent who can access the platform via the cloud. This will allow administrative staff and teachers to work remotely and adhere to the quarantine.

School Response Management Using AI

Modernized K-12 education is essential to prepare students for an increasingly automated future. This is especially true as students return to school in the coming year. COVID-19 allows students to learn online, in person and in pods made up of children whose parents have the means to hire teachers.

Health Planning and Preparation

COVID19 was a catalyst for many schools to begin the discussion about a digital strategy. Some schools were already on the right track, and others had to get there quickly. Now, as schools increasingly adopt AI-powered solutions, they will have better data on student health statuses. This will enable them to foresee a possible health-related emergency and take necessary steps to prevent it. In the case of COVID 19, continuous tracking and monitoring of students will help educators and school health officials take precautionary measures in case of an outbreak and ensure the school and everyone in it is safe.

Surveillance Technology

Parents trust schools with children’s well-being. But unfortunately, schools cannot monitor each student individually to adhere to safety and hygiene standards. Smart School Administration System (SSAS) is a system that uses an AI framework, machine learning, IoT and computer vision to improve security and hygiene at schools. SSAS allows school administrators to connect all their devices (cameras, machines, fleets, property facilities and fleets); networks; people to sensors and controls to gather the necessary data to make the system work. The system can intelligently feed data into ML algorithms to draw intelligent insight and trigger an alarm on a possible device before an event occurs.

Automated Service Systems

Automated service systems can monitor students and the system’s automation can also optimize the cost substantially by repurposing/limiting the number of security guards required at various points within the school premises. The schools have an already-established record of who has accessed their school premises using issued ID cards. This data can easily be used to improve the system. To minimize exposure, restricted access could also be added to this system. This system will have many benefits, including getting school students back on-premises after COVID 19, automating school systems to optimize school cost and resources, preventing crime within school premises, and reducing stress among parents, leading to better health and productivity.

Schools are currently on the lookout for automated data-driven solutions to improve the accuracy of operations like contact tracing, mask detection, and occupancy management. These too are some of the several use cases of AI technology in schools. Leveraging this technology, the school management can ensure they’re giving their best shot at welcoming back students into a healthy and safe environment.