Cough, sniffle, sneeze.
It is impossible to avoid the presence of a virus spreading through the Middle School. Every fall, students return to piles of homework and a stuffy nose. However, this year there is an unusually drastic increase in sick students. Brenda Simon, Middle School Attendance and Health Care Coordinator, confirmed an unusually large number of people are getting sick this year.
With the increasing number of students contracting illnesses, many face the tough decision of whether to compromise others students’ health as well as their own and go to school, or fall behind in class and stay home. With the first quarter being an important time to establish a strong foundation in grades, students feel pressure to attend school, even when they run the risk of worsening their condition and spreading their sickness.
Teachers have tried to lessen pressures by making notes and worksheets available through the Hub. Students can also obtain materials from classmates or meet with teachers to catch up. The Middle School urges sick students to stay home in order to control the spread of sickness, but so far, this has not dissuaded students from coming to school.
Ninth grade students particularly feel pressure to attend school even when they are sick since grades count for college and are included on students’ transcripts. The looming pressure of college and importance of grades influence students to attend school, despite their poor health. While kids might feel worse if they go to school, most are willing to deal with pain in exchange for staying on pace with the class and possibly achieving higher grades.
If students are willing to miss a day of class, staying home and resting can reward them physically and mentally. By going to school while sick, students will not produce their best possible work. According to the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the average child when ill experiences an inability to concentrate for lengthy periods of time and has difficulty registering information. Low concentration impairs a student’s ability to learn and can lead to lower grades. Even though most students believe attending school is worth the risk, they will not be able to function as well as they would if they were fully rested.
Aside from intellectual demands, students face physical stress when at school. Students are required to walk around campus and participate in P.E. or sports. This physical exertion can extend the length of the illness and reduce mental sharpness due to fatigue.
Attending school also means interacting with others constantly throughout the day. The illness circulating around campus this season is viral, and human contact leads to a high probability of spreading the sickness. Many illnesses are circulating around campus, making it easy for people to become infected even if they try their hardest not to. With the number of sick students attending school and spreading germs, mountains of hand sanitizer and tissues will not protect students as well as they may think.
However, these illnesses are not exclusive to students, as adults on campus are affected as well. Teachers most likely will not be able to teach at their full capacity if dealing with fatigue and the other side effects of being illness. When sick, it is hard to function normally, let alone grade piles of tests. Also, teachers have to miss school if their sickness gets worse, which further restricts students’ learning. Students’ education ends up being impaired, just because a few individuals decided to attend school when they were sick. When making the decision to come to school sick, students are not only hurting themselves, but others as well.
Sick students should stay home so that they will be back to school at peak performance in a matter of days. But attending school results in operating at partial capacity, spreading the illness and over-exerting oneself. Though students may think suffering through the pain and going to school will ultimately be easier than making up days of work, they would be doing a disservice to themselves, their fellow students and ultimately the school. Resting, even for just one day, can do wonders to the body and health of an individual.
So put misconceptions about failing classes aside and prioritize your health.