As we all know, this year has been tough for all of us. This school year has been very different from years past. Lots of changes have occurred since last year, including the bathroom procedure. It has caused some aggravation among some students.
The new bathroom policy consists of three surveys, one in the current class, another when you arrive at the restroom, and the final one at your destination. We can only go to the bathroom once the class starts. The whole procedure was decided upon by many task forces and committees while trying to adhere to the New York State guidelines such as a limit on capacity, cleanliness of the bathrooms, and monitoring the usage. The idea behind the QR code hall pass is to limit the contact between students. This is a replacement for the traditional paper or lanyard hall pass. The QR code also helps track the students in case tracing where someone has been is necessary.
When interviewing Ms. DeLePlante, I asked the burning question; why are three surveys necessary? She informed me that the first scan in the classroom acts as a hall pass or proof to a monitor why you are leaving your class. The second scan shows that you actually went to the bathroom. “This again tells us that in the event that we would need to access a list of who was in that bathroom we have it,” said Ms. DeLePlante. The third scan back into the classroom, confirms that you went back to class. This is the real plan that was setup by the high school administration in order to set up a safe way to reopen the school.
Another main component to the difficulty of the bathroom policy this year is not being allowed to use the bathroom until the bell rings. Our classes have been shortened this year to 30 minute periods. Because of this, it makes it extremely hard to go to the bathroom without missing work done in class. According to Ms. DeLePlante, the cleaning staff has been working very hard this year cleaning the “high-touch areas” around the school throughout the day. The high school situation is different however. We are moving around and changing classes, unlike the sedentary elementary and middle schools. When classes start, the cleaning staff has places to be and areas to clean including the bathrooms. When the bell rings for classes to end, the cleaning staff is in the classrooms sanitizing the room. There is no way they can clean both the bathrooms and classrooms while sticking to a schedule and in between groups of kids. After interviewing our vice principal, it shows how much we don’t realize other people are helping us. The cleaning staff this year has done a lot more than we realize. Take time next time you are in the halls, waiting for class, in lunch, or waiting in line to use the bathroom, to look around at our maintenance staff and see how hard they really are working. In Ms. DeLaPlante’s words, “You’ll see how hard they work and you might even want to say thank you.”
When it comes to changing the bathroom policy, administration would be open to discussion and new ideas. As long as we adhere to the state guidelines and keep things digital, any suggestions would be great! Some ideas include removing at least one survey and allowing students to use the restroom before the bell or during the passing periods, it would be a great help to all students. Again, this would need to be discussed with administration, and as long as we keep things safe, it would be very helpful!
Again, it is understandable that this year’s system is very different and bothersome for some people. Just know that you can contribute to the change and to making this year great. Staying safe and healthy is a priority this year, and this system focuses on that. If you have any recommendations on how to change the system while adhering to the NY state guidelines, email an administrator.