Greater Tolerance for Sick Days Needed

Emma Torres, Staff Writer

School has started and with it, the dreaded Campolindo plague. You literally cannot go anywhere without hearing someone cough or sneeze. I too have fallen under this sick spell.

Last week, after I took a day off because of the flu, I returned to 3 of my classes with assignments due. After I explained that I was sick, and unable to do the work, I was met with an eye roll, a sigh, and a “Well why didn’t you check School Loop?”

I said nothing at the time. This issue, however, has come to perplex me.

The school policy states that when you’re absent you have the “x” amount of days you were absent to make up the work. So why was the response from my teachers so negative? If I’m home throwing up, do teachers really expect me to jump up to check my computer and complete my Spanish homework?

According to the U.S. center for disease control, kids get up to 12 colds a year. That’s a lot of people getting and spreading sickness. With all of us so tightly packed into classrooms and hallways, schools are the feeding grounds for viruses.

All I’ve heard the past 2 weeks from my friends are complaints about being sick. Even as I’m writing this I can hear 3 people, including myself, sniffling. I would be at home right now completely getting over my flu if I was confident that I would be able to make up my work. But I’m not, and that’s the issue.

It is important for teachers to acknowledge the fact that on top of school, sports, and other commitments, we have to take care of our health. According to Indiana University at Bloomington, chronic stress can actually lead to a lowering of the immune system and can be the cause of cold and sinus infections. The American Psychological Association reports that 31% of teens feel overwhelmed because of the stress of school, which doesn’t surprise me. Kids are regularly burdened with homework, tests and other responsibilities. If stress can lead to illness, then high schoolers should have the lowest immune systems in the country.

But what are we going to do about it?

1st off, I think that teachers should honor the absence policy. If a student is sick, we are entitled to make up our work and get full credit. 2nd, students shouldn’t be scared to confront a teacher who rejects this policy, and the administration should actively enforce it. I didn’t say anything to the administration because I didn’t want to be rude, and I was nervous that the teacher would find out, and punish me. 3rd, teachers really need to just understand that sickness is a part of life and that we have to take care of ourselves. Both physically, and mentally.

Taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally is no small task. True enforcement of the absence policy is a vital step.