Please wash your hands

Please wash your hands

It’s the beginning of another school year and another new hall pass policy has been established. In my four years here at the high school, the hall pass policy has now changed three times. Salmon passes replaced the yellow passes, and now the blue/green passes are being used concurrently with the salmon ones.

The salmon passes that were first used last year have been discarded, presumably because of the distraction they posed to the classroom. Every time a student needed to use the restroom, their teacher had to stop everything to dig out a salmon pass from her desk draw, fill out the required information, and then try to resume teaching without losing her train of thought, only to have to repeat the process again in fifteen minutes for another student. Salmon passes

This new, more efficient system gives one large laminated blue or green pass to each classroom to be reused by every student. While this new plan is less disruptive to the lesson and is more eco-friendly, there are serious issues not necessarily with the blue/green passes, but with the students who are using them.

A significant number of students in our school clearly don’t understand the concept of how germs and bacteria work. On numerous occasions this year alone, I have unfortunately noticed several students leaving the bathroom without washing their hands without a care in the world as to the harm that can cause to themselves and other students in our school. We are taught from a preschool age that hand washing is essential to preventing the spread of illnesses.

Some students may wonder why it’s so important, because if their hands look clean, then they must be clean, right? Wrong. By not washing your hands after using the restroom, you greatly increase your risk of contracting diarrheal and respiratory illnesses, salmonella, and various other infections that could then spread to students who have touched the same door handles and hall passes that everyone uses.

Hand washing takes only thirty seconds, and it will keep you and everyone around you at a lesser risk of illness. A little soap and warm water is all it takes to avoid getting diarrhea and spreading it to your friends. People will also stop looking at you with disgust when you nonchalantly leave the bathroom without washing your hands.

Perhaps resorting to a policy similar to the old yellow hall pass policy would be the most effective way to rectify this gross situation. The yellow passes used previously in 2011 to 2013 were an issued to each student with their name on it that would then be used throughout the entirety of the year. Reverting back to a policy such as this would make it much easier for student to avoid spreading germs throughout the school.

The new blue and green hall passes are a cinch compared to the old salmon passes for both the teachers and the students to use, but spreading germs is also much easier than one might think with this new hall pass system. One would think that telling kids to properly wash their hands would be an issue with kindergarteners, not high school aged students that are on the brink of adulthood. Even those who wash their hands well after using the restroom are exposed to the germs left behind by those who have not, so make sure that you wash your hands before giving the pass to the next person in line, or everyone might just be getting ill during this back to school season.