Reversing the epidemic of sickness

Reversing the epidemic of sickness

Namrata Ramani


On Monday, Jan. 28, 127 MVHS students called in sick. That’s 5% of the school absent on one day.

People don’t choose to be sick. Yet, sick people do have a choice, a choice that keeps others from getting sick. The spread of illness especially in schools, can severely impact the school’s population. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 60 million school days are missed each year due to the cold and influenza viruses alone. And since schools are prime areas for proliferation of such illnesses, we must ask: should teachers and administrators be allowed to force a sick student to go home?

With the CDC’s classification that this year’s flu is an epidemic, the worst our country has faced in 10 years, it is inevitable for a large number of students to get sick. However, by sending noticeably sick students home, the school can mitigate the presence of the flu virus and conserve the health of those unaffected.

This would certainly save a plethora of students from making up even more lost lectures and from the pain of struggling through classes while being sick. On the other hand, such action could also be seen as a violation of an individual’s right to attend school when it is deemed fit by said individual.

Giving teachers the power to send sick students home is similar to the concept of restricting smoking to certain public areas. As with contagious illnesses, cigarette smoke hurts more than just the people who smoke; they hurt anyone who inhales the fumes. Students who come to school sick are short-sighted to the harm they are inflicting around them.

It necessary, therefore, to give teachers the power send sick students home. When a student is sneezing or coughing profusely, looking laggardly and extremely pale in the face, or blowing his or her nose incessantly, it is imperative that the teacher is able to remove him or her from the classroom. Indeed, just like smoking is restricted to special public areas to protect the health of the general populace, illness should be kept away from locations of mass proliferation, like schools. Here at MVHS, where even those who have fevers and burning throats step into school to try to catch that important Calculus lecture, giving teachers this power can have a significant impact on the health of our student body.

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