S2 Access Control and Holiday Schedules

S2 Access Control and Holiday Schedules

So…we just recently added Access Control to most of our exterior doors district wide as part of our Safety and Security upgrades.  This has been a huge undertaking and we have battled with contractors non stop.  But that is not what this post is about.  This post will focus solely on the biggest hangup with our new S2 NetBox installations.  Holidays.  It is such a minor thing, and could be fixed very easily by tweaking some UI elements, but alas – it is broken.  Phil Elliott over at Spring Hill has warned us about this several times.  He explained the intricacies of holidays in S2, and reiterated that he has to review it every year to make sure it is right.   If there is a feature of your product that your users have constant trouble with every time they go to use it, your feature needs re-engineered.

So what is it about holidays that is so difficult to implement?  Well, let’s dive into some screenshots and I will show you!

In the software, we first have to manually add all of the holidays at our school.  This includes calendar holidays, teacher workdays, Winter and Summer breaks, and the unknown snow days (but we won’t get into those today).  When setting up each holiday, we need to assign it to a group.  Holiday 1, holiday 2, or holiday 3.  There is no rhyme or reason to these, they are just there for you to use as you see fit.  We utilize them as follows:

  • Holiday Group 1 – Calendar Holidays
  • Holiday Group 2 – No School, but building staff are present
  • Holiday Group 3 – Extended Breaks or snow day.  No Staff

Here is a picture depicting the setup for Labor day of 2016.  Calendar holiday – so it gets the Group 1 designation.  We also prepend our holidays with the year (a tip from Phil@Spring Hill) to make for easier changes next year!

Labor Day 2016

And here is a picture of today’s teacher inservice.  No student’s are here, but our staff still needs to get in the buildings.  Holiday Group 2.

September23rd Workday

Pretty straightforward so far?  Hold on!  Once you have defined all of your holidays for the year, you need to assign them to “Time Specs”.  These time specs are then assigned to doors, and you are done!  Therein lies the problem.  Let’s dig in.  Look at the following picture and tell me what would happen at 7:30AM on Labor Day?  Labor Day is a hol1 (Holiday Group 1).

The door would not unlock.  If you want to apply a holiday to a time spec, you have to NOT check it.  So in this time spec, the doors would unlock on Monday through Friday, and any Holiday Group 2.  It’s backwards, and it can be confusing.  If you take the time to think about it – it finally starts to make sense.  If the verbiage could just be changed from “Days of the week” to something like “Select the days and holiday groups which you would like the doors to unlock” it would be a bit easier.  Am I over complicating this?


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  1. deangrell
    1533 days ago

    Perhaps something as simple as

    “Unlock on:”

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