Don’t come to school sick. Please.

October 28, 2019 — by Bill Yuan

Sniffle. Sniffle, sniffle. During the silence of a test, the presence of the illness can be heard through the continual sniffles echoing around the classroom. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if you can avoid the coughs and sneezes long enough to remain healthy.

With the arrival of flu season, more and more students are missing school because they are sick. However, there are also more and more students coming to school sick.

Instead of staying home to recover, students are concerned about missing schoolwork, and academic pressure from heavy course loads is not helping. However, not taking a chance to rest from an illness is not worth that one hour of classwork you need to make up. 

Moreover, the illness can potentially spread to peers and staff. Many common illnesses such as the flu or whooping cough are highly contagious. 

Whooping cough is a common disease that breaks out in a school, as it is a respiratorily transmitted illness. Whooping cough does not have the strongest symptoms, which is why many students may neglect the fact that they have it and show up to school. 

Missing a couple school days isn’t all that bad, however. Most teachers have some sort of absent policy, which allows you to make up your classwork or assessments without penalty. Students will not be held accountable for leaving school early either, as being sick is a valid excuse.

Students who really are that worried about falling behind can always finish future homework while at home recovering. Others can just relax and take a much needed break from school. 

While it may seem smart to come to school with a fever in order to stay caught up with a difficult course, in the end, physical health should come before school. Physical health would be further compromised if you don’t rest enough which causes you to stay sick for longer.

To those considering coming to school sick, please pay close attention to your symptoms and take a day or two off until you’re better.


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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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