Stylized shot of “Hall Pass” spelled out with ABC block

An undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a study to determine where pathogenic microorganisms may be hiding in schools, according to a press release from OptiSolve. Hall passes, he found, are a particularly dangerous surface. 

The student, Zhicong Wang, developed his study around the premise that pathogenic microorganisms pose a serious threat to schools and that they must be monitored to prevent an outbreak.

Wang swabbed a variety of surfaces commonly found in schools, such as bathroom doors and sinks. One of the items that stood out were the 15 hall passes he tested.

After conducting tests, Wang reported there were significant amounts of Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria on the hall passes. Including the sinks and doors, more than 18,000 Colony Forming Units (CFU) of bacteria were found, many potentially health threatening.

“As revealing as this study is, my concern is that it took so many steps and six days to get the results,” says Brad Evans, CEO of OptiSolve. “During those six days, scores of students could become ill. Fortunately, newer technologies [have] ended the need for this old-type testing procedure.

OptiSolve’s press release comes at a good time. Flu season in the United States is just underway, and as the past few flu seasons have proven, schools must be prepared for the issue.