Hall passes get a technology update

The days of carrying a wooden block to the bathroom are over. So too are the “late to class” sticky notes. In the effort to limit the sharing of hall passes among students throughout the day,  electronic hall passes have been instituted on campus. Using their school email, students can log in on their phones and request to go to various places in the school including the bathroom, library, and counselor’s office.

“E-hall pass was actually piloted in Frisco last year by Lone Star High School,” principal Ashley Rainwater said. “The thought behind it is it’s honestly not the most hygienic for us to take these paper passes or plastic passes in and out of the bathrooms. Sometimes they get stolen, sometimes kids don’t wash their hands and they’re carrying and passing them off.”

The new hall pass program works to limit disruptions in the classroom setting. 

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“[With paper hall passes,] a kid has to raise their hand, ask the teacher to go to the bathroom, sometimes the teacher has to stop teaching to fill something out,” Rainwater said. “So the plan was originally, long before COVID actually hit, to see if we could move to a digital hall pass so that kids could request something in a way that it didn’t stop class and it didn’t draw attention. Teachers could approve those requests and kids could do what they needed to do without stopping instruction or changing the dynamics in their classrooms.”

It’s something environmental science teacher Gerald Nichols agrees with. 

“I do like it because it is easy to manage when kids need to go to the restroom, because I had a habit when I was student teaching that I would just forget,” Nichols said. “So, it makes it easier that I’m going to get a notification on my desktop that hey so and so wants to go to the restroom.”

However, some students have had difficulty with the passes. 

“In theory, it’s amazing; it really would fix all the problems if it was executed correctly,” senior Tyler Brown said. “But you can’t sign into the app, so in order for the notifications to come through, you have to be on your computer, and I’m not on my computer. I’m trying to listen to my teacher. So, when the notification came through today, for example, that I needed to go to Ms. Rainwater’s room, I wasn’t able to see it until I was already there and she asked me, and then I logged in, I saw oh yeah I have an E-hall pass, but I had no idea to know that because the notifications can’t come through if it’s on Safari.”

Despite some technological troubles, the passes have helped space out students around campus and follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 more effectively. 

“We definitely have less people in the halls,” Rainwater said. “Now, we have less kids at school so we are going to have less kids in the halls, but we’re able to control which bathrooms are available. One of the great things with COVID is that if we close a bathroom for cleaning, we can change on E-hall pass the bathrooms that are open. So without having to shut down and kids not knowing where to go to the bathroom, they can just grab another room while we’re cleaning at the other one. So it actually allows us to control the flow, it controls the number of kids in the library, it can control the number of kids in the office. “