It’s that time of year again. You wake up with a pit in your stomach, knowing something is terribly wrong. Your nose feels congested and you immediately go into fight-or-flight mode as you plan your next course of action. Should you stay at home to stop the spread or go to class, even if it means you will pass it on to your peers?
Encouraging students to stay home in such scenarios is easier said than done, especially when some professors don’t have accommodations for students. For example, missing a class could result in a participation grade of zero. Understanding why students feel compelled to show up to campus despite being unwell is essential in developing the right support systems.
It’s easy to point fingers at students and accuse them of being “selfish,” but we often overlook the challenges they face behind the scenes, such as professors who don’t post online materials. To address this particular issue, it begins with both the professor and the student. Students must maintain regular contact with their professor if they need help. Professors should be more flexible with graded participation activities knowing the circumstances. Finding a middle ground between students and professors is key to limiting the spread on campus!
Instead of pointing fingers, the university should provide the right support systems so students can stay home if they are sick, but can still teach themselves the course material. With that being said, there are many situations where students are still unable to receive accommodations to stay at home. In laboratory courses, attendance policies are set in stone. You miss three labs, and you are removed from the laboratory course, whether or not they are excused absences. Did I forget to mention that is a 30 to 40 per cent deduction from your overall course grade? Even students who aren’t sick are still worrying about making it to their lab on time to avoid that mark deduction. In such cases, students should wear a mask if they are ill and must attend. Wearing a mask can help reduce the spread.