The Future of SchoolPass at La Salle


Lukas Werner

With most COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, SchoolPass wellness checks have become more of a routine than an honest reflection.

Will Ceballos, Staff Reporter

With the constant fluctuation of COVID-19 cases throughout the school year, health and safety policies have taken twists and turns, but one policy hasn’t seen any change: the health check students must complete every morning on the app, SchoolPass. 

Every morning since the start of the school year, students are asked three simple yes or no questions about how they’re feeling that morning as well as whether or not they’ve had any COVID-19 symptoms recently. If students are able to say no to all three questions, they show a green check on their phones to a teacher or administrator and walk into school. 

“I think definitely at the beginning of the year, it was something that was at the front of everyone’s mind,” Vice Principal of Student Life Mr. Brian Devine said. 

The original idea of implementing SchoolPass at La Salle was not for COVID-19 policy purposes, though.

“We actually looked into SchoolPass even before COVID hit,” Mr. Devine said.  “One of the things we were looking for was a platform that could support visitor management, student check-in in the mornings, and it could also support our attendance program.” 

SchoolPass checked all those boxes, and once the pandemic hit, the app added the health check questionnaire that corresponded with the Center for Disease Control guidelines for schools. 

La Salle’s former Attendance Secretary, Ms. Judi Powell, worked in the main office for 20 years, maintaining consistent attendance policies. After she retired, a new attendance system was needed. 

“When Ms. Powell retired two years ago, we had an opportunity to kind of just revamp our attendance taking and SchoolPass was something that offered a pretty interactive platform that worked with Powerschool,” Mr. Devine said. “It just so happened as COVID began that they added this health check feature to SchoolPass so it just became another reason to bring SchoolPass on board.”

This year, the U.S. has seen a few different surges in cases with new variants of COVID-19, including the highly contagious omicron variant which affected the La Salle campus significantly in the winter.

After the omicron spread slowed down, many school-wide COVID-19 restrictions were lifted including the switch to mask optional on March 12 for all students and staff, but the wellness checks have stayed consistent.

“I think we’ve held onto it because it does remind students every day to think about how they’re feeling and it also acknowledges that we’re still in the middle of this pandemic and things have gotten a lot better, but it is still something that we still want students to be thinking about as they’re coming into school,” Mr. Devine said.

Some students admit they have been approaching the wellness checks more casually. “I think that most kids just hit the no [button] three times and show the green screen,” Junior Robert Brotherton said. 

Mr. Devine has also acknowledged this, “Even though it has become a little more in the back of people’s minds, I do think it’s effective,” he said.

With COVID-19 restrictions slowing down in our school community, Mr. Devine said, “We’re within range of normal at this point.” 

This has left students wondering whether La Salle is going to continue enforcing this wellness check on SchoolPass at the start of the 2022-23 school year.

“I’d say if things progressed the way they are right now, I would anticipate that school would start in a pretty normal way next year and we would be able to step aside from using SchoolPass for a morning wellness check,” Mr. Devine said.