North’s New Hall Passes are Effective, But Raise Concerns Regarding Cleanliness


Holly Nguyen-Barba

A student reaches for a laminated bathroom pass.

Jadyn Murvine and Addie Grimm

While the world is still emerging from a global pandemic, the new North hall passes feel a bit unsanitary. 

North recently implemented new security policies, including a hall pass policy, requiring all students to have a pass whenever they are in the halls, including going to the bathroom. Teachers were given two laminated bathroom passes for their classroom, but they also have the option of handwriting a pass for students. There are different colored passes for each area of the building to help identify where students in the halls are coming from. The passes are also brightly colored to make it easy for a staff member to recognize that a student is allowed to be in the hallway.

We understand that this new policy has been added to increase students’ safety and productivity during the school day. However, we feel that the current passes can be unsanitary and to some students feel “gross.” The uncertainty behind what other students have done with the pass before you can feel unsettling. The shape and size of the passes makes it inconvenient to find a spot for while you are in the bathroom, again linking back to the uncertainty with the passes. While there are wipes provided in each classroom to sanitize the pass, we haven’t seen many students utilizing them.

An example of the lanyard bathroom pass option, which reduces the contact with the pass, which reduces the spread of germs. (Addie Grimm)

We feel like there are options that may decrease the spread of germs. One option we’ve seen is using a lanyard for a pass. This eliminates the issue of where the pass is going while it is outside of the classroom, as it can be worn or hung in the stall. We’ve already seen teachers utilizing this option, and we feel that this may be more hygienic. 

Another option that has been used in schools in the district is online passes. Wredling Middle School and Thompson Middle School use a system called “e-hallpass” that allows students to create passes to be approved by teachers. To use this system, you would select the teacher whose class you are currently in. You would then choose a listed location, whether that be the bathroom, your locker, the LRC, etc. You would then submit the pass for your teacher to approve. There is also the function to create appointment passes to do things like meet with a counselor, which can be created by a student or a counselor. If someone is in the hallways, a teacher can search to see if they have created a pass, how long ago they left, and where they left from. 

We find this option more appealing because the physical aspect is removed from the equation, leaving the unhygienic feeling out of it. However, this may feel like an invasion of privacy, as everywhere you are going in the school is tracked in the system. This could create a different kind of discomfort for students, as some may value their privacy over the hygiene of a physical pass. Another issue with these passes is they aren’t immediately visible to a staff member, and it would take extra time to search for that specific student to see if they have a pass.

The e-hallpass system at Wredling Middle School, which allows students to indicate their departure location and their destination. (Jadyn Murvine)

We understand why the bathroom passes have been reinstated, and we know that physical passes will most likely continue to be the system for now. We still feel that teachers could continue to explore more options to make the current passes feel more sanitary for students.