Sophie Robson ’21
You have been waiting for three whole class periods to use The John. Finally, in the destined classroom, you raise your hand. The teacher says yes! You walk to the door and reach down to grab the all-too-familiar bathroom pass, only to have your hand touch a bright orange, massive, wet, peeling chunk of wood that is repeatedly placed on the contaminated school bathroom ground, touched by hundreds of different students each day.
The shared bathroom passes at WHS are consistently made filthy by being placed on the bathroom floor and by students’ lack of hand washing, which is not helping the WHS campus stay germ-free this flu season. Therefore, separate recyclable paper passes would be far more effective in promoting hygienic classrooms filled with healthy students.
One might object that if students went to the bathroom with a simple piece of paper the groundskeepers would not be able to tell if he or she is merely going to the bathroom or is actually cutting class. However, the health of all students on campus should factor higher than the easiness of the groundskeepers’ jobs.
Various surfaces inside school bathrooms, including floors, stall doors, faucets, soap dispensers and the actual toilets themselves, are vastly occupied by germs. The bacteria includes gastrointestinal viruses, E. coli, salmonella, shigella, skin diseases, respiratory diseases and fungi. As these germs can easily inhabit the floor, when the bathroom passes are placed on the floor, the bacteria can infiltrate the pass and then transfer onto anyone who holds it. Additionally, the germs can assimilate into the pores of the wood and, since wood can not easily be disinfected, fester for some time and be transmitted to other students.
Due to the fact that people frequently touch their mouth, nose, eyes and face subconsciously, germs can also be easily transferred and taken in from one student to another by shared bathroom passes when students do not wash their hands or germs get on their hands after the fact. Those hand germs can quickly be integrated into the wood pores yet again and infect more students who use the same bathroom pass.
On account of this severe flu season and its deathly outcome, most students are or have been worried about contracting the flu from their fellow classmates. Because of the fact that flu can easily be transmitted by contact with an infected student or said student coughing and sneezing in one’s general direction, these shared bathroom passes are only helping pass along this illness and many others. With more and more students still falling ill, the risk grows as children and teens are contagious for far longer than others. If infected students were to wipe their nose or mouth, have a cough or sneeze, and then touch a WHS bathroom pass, their germs would be passed onto the next student who needs the pass and so on and so forth.
The communal bathroom passes at WHS are doing more harm than good, by aiding the spread of bacteria from the bathrooms and spreading illnesses like flu from one student to another. Thus, separate, recyclable paper passes would be far more efficient in supplying a safe, healthy classroom environment for students to learn and to ease their minds of the thought of falling ill due to mere bathroom germs.