[STAFF EDITORIAL] Fever? Cough? Aches? Stay home.


Kevin Chen

IT’S FINE, IT’S NOT COVID. Classmates experience discomfort when students show up with an illness, and with low immunity viruses spread quickly. Students should stay home if they are not feeling well.

Outbreaks of multiple viruses have infected dozens of students, maybe more including the carriers. Knowing when to stay home is important not only for personal health, but also the safety of others. When those who don’t feel well continue to show up at school, it’s a cause for concern. But what other choice do ill students have?
It may be hard to accept, but there’s only right one. It’s simple. Stay home.
While missing just one day of classes could push a student behind their peers, using resources — like classmates, teachers, and Google Classroom — is better than passing on an illness.
True, staying home would have been simpler last year when we still had OWL’s. If there’s concern about missing an important lecture or discussion, e-mail the teacher to request that they set up a Google Meet to watch class or provide a recording.
Many choose to stay in school because of fears of falling behind. As a result, the viruses continue to spread with no sure way to control them. Still, it is essential for students to stay home when they are sick because everyone’s health is more important than a single day or few of academics.

While missing just one day of classes could push a student behind their peers, using resources — like classmates, teachers, and Google Classroom — is better than passing on an illness.

Know school policies about absences and health. The absence policy can be read in detail on p. 10-11 of the Student Handbook, but the key highlights for an absence due to illness states: “Students are responsible for making up missed work and are expected to be in close communication with teachers.”
Students are allowed one day per day of excused absence to make up missed work (EX: a student absent on Tuesday but present Wednesday has until Thursday to make up missed work). Students are expected to use free periods, tutorial, and weekends to make up work.
If a student is gone more than three days and presents a doctor’s note, they may request to have assignments shortened or excused.
All that starts with a parent calling or e-mailing the attendance line and describing the student symptoms and condition. This way administrators can monitor the spread of illnesses and excuse the absence. Once the students start to feel better, they should reach out to teachers to make a plan to make up for the missed work and the classes. Anyone who has done this can attest that teachers are understanding and willing to offer support.
Preventing the transmission of illnesses should be easy so long as students are diligent about the COVID protocols — whether they have COVID or something else — that have been in place for over a year:
Wear a mask (correctly). Many have reported seeing students wearing their masks incorrectly below their nose, as a mask, as a visor. This is a big problem when students are not told to change their behavior, or only change it for a minute and then go back to a mask below their nose or hanging off one ear. Pull masks up to prevent the spread of viruses.
Don’t share food. A number of illnesses spread through saliva, so taking a sip of someone’s drink could mean getting bonus germs. Cutting a piece or taking a slice with a utensil is fine, but don’t bite after anyone or double dip.
Wash hands often. Use soap and sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (or any other 30 second song).
Anyone who displays symptoms of contagious illnesses should contact the attendance line and stay home until they have fully recovered.
It’s the only choice.
By not doing so, students place all members of the community at risk.