Keep Calm, Don’t Carry on: Sick Kids Should Stay Home

Nicole Kennedy, Opinion Editor

Illness spreads on campus like wildfire on a California hillside. It’s hard to find a class period without a kid sniffling, coughing into an elbow, or stumbling for the Kleenex box. Schools are notorious hotspots for germs; corralling hundreds of teenagers into a confined space for 8 hours a day is bound to quicken the spread of contagious diseases.

With the recent Coronavirus outbreak, which has area residents rushing to buy up hand sanitizer, there has been plenty of chatter among teachers and students of the possibility of a school shutdown. The March Madness dance and rally, along with several field trips, have already been canceled.

While the idea of canceled classes may be appealing to some, I would rather school stay in session; but in order for me to have my wish, those of us who show signs of illness need to self-quarantine and stay home.

Unfortunately, this is another instance where Campolindo’s culture of academic rigor causes problems as sick students try to rally for that unit test, oral presentation, or turning in that major essay, in spite of a 100-degree fever and cold sweats. I admit, I am guilty of this behavior as well

We need to normalize taking a sick day when our bodies need time to fight off an infection. The current standard on our campus of taking a test or writing an in-class essay trumps the preservation of 1’s health, and the health of others, is not –how should I say this? –healthy.

Especially during cold and flu season, the close proximity of high school students during class could easily spur an influenza outbreak. According to a study by WebMD, teens engage in thousands of interactions every day in schools that increase their risk of catching the flu or passing it along. 1 only needs to come within 10 feet of a person carrying the flu to catch it herself.

Even though there have been efforts by the district to improve sanitization of classrooms and high-traffic areas, germs are still inescapable. Everyone needs to step up their hygiene in order to keep Corona and other viruses at bay.

Some may think that the best way to beat illness is to muscle through it and carry on with daily routines; however, this can worsen their condition. Bed rest is necessary for combating colds and flu. According to Dr. Daniel Niedes in a Wall Street Journal article, bed rest helps blood flow and quickens recovery time. Exercise and overexertion of mental capacities can make an illness worse.

This is not just something that students must accept. According to a study conducted by Essity, 70% of surveyed parents admitted to sending their child to school when they had a cold, or something worse.

Physical health is not the only thing impacted by an infection.  Illness can also lower academic performance. According to a UK study cited in The Wall Street Journal, subjects performed worse on a memory test when they were sick. So, staying home will not only keep the disease from spreading but also allows students to be at their intellectual best when they ultimately do attempt academic work.

Rather than faking illness like the Farris Bueller cliche, Camplindo students feel pressure to attend school in spite of being legitimately sick. Even with the addition of academy periods and a campus wellness center, there is still a prevailing belief that school must come before personal health concerns.

Preventative measures will go a long way in limiting the number of people impacted by sicknesses. For example, students should get vaccinated for the flu, and the campus should increase its efforts to educate students, staff and the community on how best to stay healthy.

Taking care of our physical health must take priority over our academic pursuits.  If you are feeling poorly or showing symptoms of an illness, please take a break and stay home.