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NEWS9 Special Assignment: Ahead of the School Safety Curve

A local school is using the latest technological advancements to keep its students and staff safe.

When you approach Jefferson County Joint Vocational School in Bloomingdale, be sure to smile, because like at many schools, you'll be on camera.

The cameras are so clear and sharp -- many of them 4-K -- they don't even zoom, because you can digitally enhance the image to see minor details.

The system records 30-38 days of footage, just in case. And the equipment can sense heat and trigger an alarm for designated areas.

But what's really valuable is the live feed that the Jefferson County 911 Center can access in an emergency.

“Within a click of a button or two, they can actually be on and monitor our camera systems,” said Ron Peach, technology coordinator for JVS.

Like any emergency, it would start with a call. And in no time, dispatchers could tap into the system from their consoles.

“So, this gives us what we refer to as 'actionable intelligence' from the incident, so we're actually looking at it, so our personnel could make decisions on what we're seeing, so it's just better information,” said Rob Herrington, Jefferson County 911 director.

The 911 center does not monitor the cameras, and would only access them in an emergency.

JVS is one of the first schools in the county to implement the technology. And the center is currently working on enhancements for security at all of the county schools.

“It just makes a lot of sense,” Peach said. “Student safety is our number one concern above all else. We have to make the environment as safe as possible for our students.”

“It makes me feel really proud and really safe because if there's ever an issue or anything, then they know who it is and where they're at, and they can direct people to go in a certain place and keep more people safe,” said Zoey Young, a junior from Steubenville who has been going to JVS for cosmetology.

The surveillance cameras can be used to track intruders, see who started a food fight, or keep an eye on the small animals’ lab.

But that's not the only way JVS is keeping students safe.

It’s using different cameras to transform hands-on learning in the classroom.

They’re also using augmented reality for welding.

Unlike virtual reality that changes your entire world, augmented reality uses your current environment and superimposes an image in a welding simulation.

“With this, we can do all of the welding that we normally do in the lab, simulate here, as well as the metals, the diameters, the thicknesses, the gasses,” said Chase Cooper, welding student.

The augmented reality helps students develop the muscle memory they need but eliminates potential hazards.

“In here, you don't have to worry about anything getting hot, sparks, arc flash with your eyes,” welding student Blake Eisnaugle said.

And with less to worry about, the students can shift their focus from safety, to schoolwork.

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