Would You Go to School Sick?


In an anonymous survey of 57 students, 86% of participants admitted to coming to school sick to avoid exams.

Ashley Meadows, Staff Reporter

Now that school has started back up, that means that everyone is back in classrooms. Though we’re all happy to be back with friends, that also means that it’s easier for illnesses to spread.

It’s only the third week of school and we’ve already gotten off two days for sickness. 

Many students and teachers choose to go to school sick for several different reasons. Teachers may choose to go because they may not have enough vacation days, or they simply don’t want to mess up their lesson plans by being out.

The main reason students go to school while sick is because of semester exams. Depending on your grade, you have a limited number of days you can miss without having to go that extra week of school.

The maximum number of days students can miss and remain exempt is four; however, it is very unrealistic to only need four days or less for an illness within an entire semester. 

Many illnesses require more than just one day to recuperate. According to the CDC, “Individuals with a fever should stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever has gone down.”

That means if you get the flu, you’re at least halfway through your sick days, and that’s only if you have a maximum of four days. Imagine getting the flu, and then a cold, stomach bug, strep throat, etc. You would automatically have to take exams because you got sick more than once in a semester. 

However, many students are not going to take the necessary days to recuperate because they simply don’t want to come an extra week of school due to an illness they can’t control.

As a result of sick students coming to school, they contaminate even more students who will in turn come to school sick because they would also like to be exempt from semester exams.

This pattern just keeps repeating itself until we have to cancel school because of sickness. This begs the question: what could solve this recurring problem? 

School administration should take into account a student’s grades and work ethic when deciding who can be exempt from exams. 

Why should a student take exams when they can keep up with their work, understand the missed topics, and work hard on getting their work done in time? Easy answer: they shouldn’t.

I believe that if students were exempt not only based on how strong their immune systems were but by their work ethic, many more students would come to school in a healthy environment.

I wouldn’t be writing this if many others didn’t agree with me. Out of an anonymous survey of 57 students, 86% of students answered that they come to school sick in order to be exempt from their semester exams. 

If we could make exemptions based on more than a single variable that cannot always be controlled, more students would stay home while sick, which would in turn keep our school healthier during this flu season.