Officials in Virginia’s Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties say that, to better protect their students and schools, they are installing or considering ID scanners or security video intercoms, common at apartment buildings.

The most ambitious effort is in Prince William, the state’s second-largest school system. The county has spent $130,000 on the Raptor visitor ID system to protect its nearly 73,000 students.

In Fairfax, nearly half the schools have begun using a computerized visitor authentication program. Loudoun is installing camera intercom systems outside the main entrances to all schools, a process that officials aim to finish by the end of this academic year. Arlington is interviewing companies and evaluating demonstrations of security systems similar to Prince William’s.

Here is how Prince William’s system works. Starting this week, parents and visitors must request permission to enter any of the county’s 86 schools from a school official, who scans the visitor’s government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, into a computer database, which stores the photograph and ID information. Next, the system checks the name against state sex offender registries. A school chaperone will escort any visitor tagged as a sex offender.

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