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7 Back-to-School Must-Haves for Student and Staff IDs

7 Back-to-School Must-Haves for Student and Staff IDs

School will be back in session before you know it — and school safety is top of mind for administrators, staff, students and parents. An increasing number of schools have implemented mandatory student, staff and visitor ID policies to track movement in and around schools in an effort to boost safety for everyone on campus.

But IDs do more than identify the person behind the badge. Magnetic stripe- and RFID-enabled cards allow students and staff to use IDs in all sorts of ways — from swiping their card at lunch to checking out resource materials from the library to taking attendance. No matter how you use your school IDs, one thing is clear: IDs are quickly becoming as crucial to back-to-school as backpacks and No. 2 pencils.

Supplies to Start the Year off Right

To save you from endless scrolling, we’ve gathered a list of four ID products to add to your supply list as you prepare to welcome students, staff and visitors to a brand new school year.

1. Badges

School ID cards are now the norm for students from kindergarten to college. They’re an easy and cost-effective way to identify students, staff and visitors to your campus. The type of ID card you choose depends on the level of security and access you need. In their simplest form, photo IDs are durable plastic cards that usually contain a photo and accompanying identification information. Magnetic stripe cards can be used to check out library books or swiped for meal purchases. Both are ideal for schools with fewer access and security requirements.

2. RFID Cards

From tablets to smart screens, technological advances have touched every part of the school day. It’s no surprise that smart ID cards featuring radio frequency identification (RFID) are becoming more common in school hallways across the country.

RFID cards can be used to allow access to buildings as well as to track student, staff and visitor movements and attendance. Students can also leverage RFID technology to pay for lunch, check out books in the library, and make sure they get to and from school safely on district buses — all with their ID card.

3. Lanyards

Lanyards are almost endlessly customizable — which means you have a lot of choices. Start by deciding what you want your lanyards to do. Some schools choose to use different colors and printing to clearly and easily identify students, staff and visitors. Others opt for a school spirit approach, using school and branding imagery to boost school spirit.

4. ID Card Holders

Plastic ID card holders protect and extend the life of ID cards. They most commonly come in clear vinyl and plastic, but can also be color coded. Specially designed RFID card holders come with data blocking technology for an added layer of protection for students and staff.

Invest for Convenience and Long-Term Savings

Given the ubiquity of student, staff and visitor ID badges, many districts and individual schools are opting to invest in equipment that allows them to print and laminate their own badges on site. Not only does this make financial sense, it’s also practical considering student and staff turnover rate and the need to print badges for any visitors or guests.

These three products are a great start as you build your in-house ID badge print shop.

5. ID Badge Printer

For many schools, printing on site is preferable to full-service printing options through an ID badge supplier. Having an ID badge printer on site is cost effective and offers ultimate flexibility to replace lost cards, print cards for new students and staff mid-year, and print one-time visitor passes.

For most school uses, a small-footprint, entry-level printer like the Zebra ZC100 is adequate for all your ID printing needs. For schools that need a step up or want dual-sided printing, try Zebra’s ZC300.

Be sure to keep plenty of blank cards or card overlays on hand and reorder throughout the school year as needed.

6. Pouch Laminator

Lamination helps keep student badges, bus rider cards and visitor IDs readable and protected from fading, staining or cracking. While roll laminators offer more versatility in laminating signs and documents, pouch laminators are an ideal way to extend the life of staff, student and visitor badges.

We recommend reordering laminating supplies quarterly so you don’t run out of essentials — like extra pouches — mid-year.

7. Laminator Cleaning Kits

Regular cleaning and maintenance is essential to extend the life of your laminator. Cleaning kits are a great way to get everything you need for the upkeep of your machine.

Don’t Wait to Order

Whether you’re restocking your supply closet or looking to invest in a long-term, on-site solution, planning ahead is key. Supply chain delays around the world have impacted nearly every sector and manufacturer. Work with an experienced company and order early to make sure your supplies arrive by the first bell of the school year. 

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