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Hall pass goes high tech in one Colorado school

Touchless hall pass also limits quarantines
Rethinking the hall pass in schools
Posted at 8:38 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 00:36:06-04

For many in high school, if you needed to use the bathroom or just wanted a break, you had to take a hall pass. But in this pandemic school year, with schools trying to limit students from touching the same objects, SkyView Academy in Highlands Ranch came up with a touchless solution.

Students now use their smart phones to scan a QR code when they need to leave the classroom. Not only do they not have to touch a physical object, but the school also can now track how long they’re gone.

“We kind of created it so that we could have students not grabbing passes and things like that, and mitigating the COVID connection,” said academic counselor Tom Lenderink.

But the tracking system also allows the school to limit the need for quarantines because students scan the code when they meet with counselors or other teachers.

“Based on what the COVID-19 protocols have been right now, if they are in there longer than 15 minutes and within six feet, then we know through contact tracing that they're going to have to quarantine for 10 days,” Lenderink said.

Sophomore Vivian Slocum said she doesn’t feel like she’s being tracked and would prefer to limit quarantines and be in school as much as possible. Teachers say the system seems to be keeping kids from taking excessive breaks.

“There are times when you have kind of what we call the 'frequent flyer.' And so this gives us a better opportunity to make sure that the student is not abusing the privilege and we're giving them as much contact hours in the classroom as possible,” said history teacher Chris Bridgham.

Kids who don’t have a smartphone can use a teacher or classmate’s phone to check out. But since most students at SkyView have smartphones, the school is hoping to implement the QR codes in more ways, including a school scavenger hunt, and logging community service hours.