Long Line Woes: EHHS Bathroom Policy
Students and staff at EHHS have conflicting opinions about the bathroom policy and how it has impacted the school's atmosphere.
At EHHS, a practice is in place that restricts a large number of students from going into the bathroom at once. The rule is two students are allowed in the bathroom at a time. Although it is not a Board of Education policy it is a practice that teachers are highly encouraged to follow.
Prior to COVID-19, the original policy was only one student in at a time, however, after COVID-19 the administrative team came together and modified the policy. The policy was not only to prevent COVID-19 but to also combat other problems such as vaping and too much socializing in the bathroom. Principal Mr. DeNuzzo said that, “We want to keep the bathroom a welcoming place, a safe place. We want kids to go in there and not feel like they’re in an environment that is undesirable.” Senior Michael Gatavaski says that, “Paper passes are sufficient and there is no need for online passes. There is a problem with teachers accepting and ending passes which adds more work for everyone.” On the other hand, students have issues with the sanitation and purpose of the bathroom. Sophomore Joe Allen says, “Half the sinks don’t work and the pass situation does not work because teachers either forget to end the pass or end it too early.”
Currently, teachers and students are using an online application called E-Hallpass. Students are expected to fill out a pass online that the teacher must approve before the student is allowed to exit the classroom. If there are 25 students with ongoing passes, another student would not be able to leave the class. However, teachers have the ability to override passes and let students leave even with 25 other students out of class. The logic behind the policy is that if students are waiting for the bathroom they would be waiting in class and not wasting time rather than waiting in the hallway.
A teacher on bathroom duty must check in the student before they enter the bathroom and make sure there are not too many students in there at once. Even if teachers are on bathroom duty during a period when it is not busy, they are still unable to get work done. English teacher Ms. Collins says, “It is a lot to manage the program and make sure students are where they need to be.” For teachers, if they do bathroom duty during the first semester they do not have to do it during the second semester, although there are some teachers who do not have the duty at all. Students are timed through the application and once they exceed ten minutes, they are flagged. If a student continues to get flagged they are watched more by administrators. If a student violates the school's rules, they are put on pass restriction where they can not leave their classroom without being escorted by security.
Although Mr. DeNuzzo believes there is success in their policy, he acknowledges the flaws in the system, specifically the long lines and the loss of class time. He says, “We encourage students to come to administration with their ideas because it is still a work in progress. The best thing we can do right now is monitor what the students are doing.”
If you have any ideas about what EHHS can do to combat some of these issues, don’t be afraid to contact your administrators!