Digital Hall Passes using QR Codes

This Fall, educators are doing everything they can to provide sanitized materials for our students. But what about those old, laminated bathroom passes or sign-out notebooks? If your students have access to a device that can scan QR codes you may want to consider using digital hall passes. Most all newer model SMARTphones, tablets and laptops are able to scan QR codes.

Why QR Code Hall Passes?

If students have access to a device with a QR code scanner, the codes allow students to quickly scan the code whenever they need to leave the classroom without touching a shared bathroom pass or notebook. This also creates a record system for the teacher by recording student activity using a spreadsheet.   The information may then be sorted and shared with parents, co-teachers or administrators as needed. This blog post also explains how to create a pre-filled link so even our youngest learners can scan a code with their names and destinations already selected for them.

Step 1: Create a Google Form

The first thing to do is create a Google Form. Go to and create a question for every QR code category that you would like to create. And, list student names as the answers to each question. Save yourself time by duplication each question and editing the destinations. Do NOT make answering the question a required action.

Example FORM with hall pass categories and student names.

Step 2: View Response Sheet

Once you are finished, click on View Response Sheet above. And select “View responses in Sheets”.

Step 3: Create a New Sheet Tab for Links

Open the Sheet and create a new Sheet tab for the links to the pre-filled responses you are about to create. Creating pre-filled Form responses will allow students to scan codes that already have their name and desired action selected. Use only 2 columns in this tab. One Column will be for the student links. One Column will be for descriptions.

You will want the final Sheet to look like this:

Example Sheet with Links

Step 4: Copy the Pre-Filled Links

Go into Google Forms and create the pre-filled link for each student response. In this example below, I am creating QR Codes for “Bathroom-Out” and “Bathroom-In” for Student 1.

Note: that if you are creating a generic numbering system instead of student names you will only have to do this once and not every new school year. Paste the link in the Sheet and make sure to add the description in Column B. Here’s a link to my Sheet for reference.

Step 5: Optional- Edit the link in Google Sheets to formResponses.

Now that we have the link, we are going to paste it into the Links tab in Google Sheets. But, we are going to edit the link and change it from “viewform” to read “formResponse”. This edit will allow students to Scan the code and automatically log their response. If you do not change from viewform to formResponse, students will see their names and the Form questions. It’s really a personal preference.

Step 6: Add QR Code Generator Add-On

Once you have finished copy, pasting and editing the codes, you will now add the QR Code Generator Add-On for Google Sheets. This allows you to highlight the URL for the Code, along with the student names, and create a printout of all the QR codes for your students. It’s pretty simple to use. Just go to Add-Ons, select “Get Add-ons” and add the QR Code Generator. (Note: The new update for QR Code generator requires you to only use 2 columns)

You will get a printout like this:

Step 7: Test your QR Codes

You now have a QR Code for every student. Try printing and scanning a QR Code and see if it works by logging the information into your form response tab in Google Sheets. When you scan the code it should timestamp the activity and place the student name in the appropriate column.

Example Form

Step 8: Distribute QR Codes

I used Google Slides to copy and paste the codes. Determine how you’d like to distribute codes to students. For example, do you want to laminate them and place them on their desks?

Step 9: Explain routine to students

You did it! Student QR Codes are ready to go and all student activity will be logged into Google Sheets. Now, explain the routine to students and you are ready to go!

Do you have a better system? I’d love to know!

Passionate about all things edtech.


33 Responses

    • What keeps a student from typing in another student’s name or clicking on it or making up a name? This just seems like a lot of work/chance for a restroom visit. Maybe I’m just used to kicking it old school.

  1. I would like to set this up so that students are each given a “card” with their qr codes on them and they scan the card using my document camera connected to my PC. I tried scanning one of the qr codes, but nothing showed up in the sheet. Would you have any idea what is wrong?

    • Hi Melanie. Did you use the directions in my blog or do it a different way? I’ve never had “nothing” come up. I’m happy to help though 🙂

      • Did you ever get yours to work? When my QR codes are scanned, I’m not getting a timestamp either. I’m sure I’ve missed a tiny, important step, but I don’t know what it is.

  2. What do you recommend as a QR scanner?? Students aren’t allowed to use phones at my school.

  3. Hi there. Thanks so much for this wonderful step-by-step information. I’m looking forward to setting mine up. I’d like to create one for bathroom sign out/in only. Do I create two google forms, one for sign-out and one for sign-in? A little confused on that part. Thanks so much!

  4. Hello!! I want to create a qr code card for each student. Can I set a number of scan for the code? I kind of want to do like punch card where students are allowed to go out the classroom for set amount of times each six weeks. After the six weeks is over, then be able to reset it again. Is that possible? My students can’t use phones in the classroom, I would have to scan it on my phone. Thanks in advance.

  5. We are wanting a QR code to sign-in/out chromebooks every day. Would you suggest making a QR code that each kid needs to scan or a QR code for each student that I scan?

    • For a whole class or individual? For entire class set of Chromebooks I use Google Calendar Appointment Sheets. You could use QR Codes for students sign out. I work in a smaller sized elementary school and we have teachers sign out the cart- and students are assigned a number for the year. If there was a serious issue, admin can see who signed into the Chromebook last from admin panel.

      • It’s for the individual student. We have to document that each kid signed out their chromebook and signed them back in at the end of the day. I’m just trying to go away from paper.

  6. I am trying to set this wonderful system up but I am stuck on step 4. It says here is how to get the link but I can’t find the directions of how to get the link. Can someone please help me. TY

  7. Hello! I am having the same problem where my QR codes are not registering a timestamp. I used a different QR code generator, since I am using it for 68 students. When I scan the QR, it takes me to the Google Form…should it be doing that?

  8. We’d like to use this for a school bathroom system so we are able to track the number of student in the bathroom at any given time. Is there a way to set a limit for the number of students that are using the same QR code for one bathroom, so that if an additional student tried to go, they would get a message that they have to wait?

  9. Hi,

    I teach HS and have over 200 kids. As a result, I can’t possibly create one code per person. How would you tweak this if you had just ONE QR code per room? Would it be possible to check-in and out on the same Form?


  10. There is like a step missing between one and two. Am I to take complete this form for each students with each different responce. Like, I have 96 students, am I taking this 384 times, to get the bathroom in/ out and nurse in/ out?

  11. When my kids are signing in from the bathroom, it will say “Bathroom In” and Student 1 underneath it. But then it also puts a Student 1 under “Bathroom Out” and a timestamp. What am I doing wrong?

  12. I cannot seem to get this to work the way you did it. When I scan the QR from your page it says form submitted. When I scan one I have created it still needs the student to submit the form, and they have the option to change who they are or what they are doing. I made sure to change “viewform” to read “formResponse”. Not sure what I did wrong.

  13. I am stuck! I have made it to step 6. I am assuming that I highlight 1 row at a time and generate the code. However, when I open the document, I only get that one QR code in the middle of the page. It does not allow me to do all links and then get all the codes on one sheet like yours.

    1. Can I highlight all links at one time and generate links? I am assuming I cannot.
    2. When I highlight the row, check the boxes, click generate and then open a document? When I do that, I get 1 new code on the sheet. How do you get all of the QR codes on 1 sheet?
    3. I have a student response sheet open. Am I supposed to open 2 more sheets?

    I am confused.


  14. WOW! This is a great idea! I just finished setting up a “Practice” class and it worked great! Is there a way to change the format of the time?

  15. Do you typically leave one laptop out to scan the QR codes? I was thinking of leaving my hovercam open to scan the passes but am not sure if you think this would work.

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