Should You Be Coming to School Sick?

Staying home sick is a lot more complicated than it appears.

Designed by Maddy Javier

Staying home sick is a lot more complicated than it appears.

Maddy Javier, Staff Writer

Maddy Javier, Staff Writer

It all started with someone’s brother and a raw hot dog.

It ended with 15 fourth graders stuck at home with the flu and one kid puking in the middle of art class on the last day before break.

The tale begins the week before winter break in Mrs. Leginski’s fourth grade class at Lake Bluff Middle School in 2011.

At the beginning of the week, one student in the class came to school sick after catching the flu from their brother (who, rumor had it, had ingested a raw hot dog that made him sick). And once that sickness came to school, it began to spread like a wildfire.

By the end of the week, almost the entire class was out sick. And believe it or not, I was the girl who ended up puking in the sink in the middle of Mr. Beck’s art class because I didn’t want to miss our holiday party that day.

The sickness that plagued my fourth grade class is only one example that happens at schools everywhere, especially during the winter months.

And in the past few weeks, the sickness has struck Lake Forest High School.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just your average cold. It’s included the flu, mono, and nameless viruses that have infested not only the student body, but the teachers and staff as well.

And this sickness has brought up the question and ultimate issue that many students are facing: Should you continue to come to school when you’re sick?

While it may seem like an easy answer, it’s much more complicated than it seems.

Personally, I hate missing school.

So far during my senior year, I’ve only deliberately missed one full day of school, during first semester, when I had gotten the flu (this excludes field trips or family vacations). Even then, with a headache and the horrible feeling that I was going to vomit if I ate anything, I spent the day stressing over emailing my teachers, checking Schoology, and texting my friends to get the notes I missed. This didn’t even include trying to do the homework that I knew I was already falling behind on.

It’s safe to say that I was miserable.

And I believe that there are students that have felt the same way. Missing school can be stressful for anyone, but when you’re sick, the stress level is taken to a whole new level.

That’s why the decision whether or not to come to school when you’re sick has become harder and harder for students.

The first question you have to ask yourself is: what qualifies as “sick?”

“I wouldn’t come to school if I was throwing up, but any other sickness other than that, I would definitely come to school,” senior Lindsay Folker said.

If you just have a cold, you’re expected to come to school. If you have over a 100-degree fever and can’t move without vomiting, you’re not stepping foot on campus. But what about the different types of sickness in between? Sometimes it’s hard to judge what qualifies as sick enough to stay home, especially when students are pushing their limits in order to not miss important lessons, honors/AP classes, tests and quizzes, or presentations.

“One time, I was throwing up sick, and the next day I still came to the last two periods of school because there are just some subjects I cannot miss for even one day,” Folker said.

However, what are the effects of deciding to come to school sick? You run the risk of infecting everyone else in your path.

“I get very upset when people come to school when they’re sick. Sorry, but take the absence and please don’t get me sick too,” senior Lauren Tustison said.

I’ve noticed the empty desks, sniffling during tests, and loud coughing right next to me in class.”

When students, or even teachers, begin coming to school sick, it infiltrates throughout the entire student body and beyond.

“Students, faculty, staff, anyone off the street — please don’t come into the school sick. It spreads like a horrible epidemic!” English teacher Lange Ferges said. “Stay home and get well. Students can make up the work. The subs are a delightful change of pace when a teacher is ill.”

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed the empty desks, sniffling during tests, and loud coughing right next to me in class.

“Where’s so-and-so?” a teacher will ask.

“Oh, they’re at home sick,” someone responds.

So in lieu of the sickness that has recently struck the high school, what should you do when you get sick?

Are you feeling well enough to come to school? If you miss class, will you be able to catch back up on your work? Are you contagious? What about the nine absences rule?

All of these factors put students in a very difficult position. What’s the right decision to choose?

The truth is, there may not be a perfect answer.

The decision on whether or not to come to school falls on you, but next time you get sick, take the time to consider the effects that your decision may have on your health, your schoolwork, and everyone else around you.