No Flu For You

The+dreaded+attendance+office%3A+sick+kids+spend+many+an+hour+here+signing+in+and+signing+out+of+school%2C+ruining+any+chances+of+exemptions.
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No Flu For You

The dreaded attendance office: sick kids spend many an hour here signing in and signing out of school, ruining any chances of exemptions.

The dreaded attendance office: sick kids spend many an hour here signing in and signing out of school, ruining any chances of exemptions.

The dreaded attendance office: sick kids spend many an hour here signing in and signing out of school, ruining any chances of exemptions.

The dreaded attendance office: sick kids spend many an hour here signing in and signing out of school, ruining any chances of exemptions.

Kassidy Turner, Editor in Chief, Writer

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Students across Heath are contaminated with illnesses everyday due to required attendance.

Many students strive each year to achieve “exempt” status when it comes to their final exams. Currently, the Rockwall Heath Exemption Policy allows for students with a grade of an 85-90 to miss ONE DAY in the entire semester, while students with a 90 or above two absences in that semester. Being exempt from the final means that the student does not have to worry about that exam, which accounts for 10% of the grade, and can dangerously tank that grade if not passed. But the question remains: what happens if students get sick and have to miss a day, but are afraid of harming their exemptions?

The exemption policy needs to be changed to account for students that have to miss a day of a school due to an illness or something that can’t be avoided.

When interviewing Heath students over the current exemption policy, many agreed that they felt to be “a dollar sign, and not much more.” The reality is that the district receives money to fund the schools based on attendance records, so the schools are strict on attendance due to money reasons. The way they can regulate how many students are on campus in a day is by threatening something students hold dear, such as not having to take an exam that has the potential to harm a grade. By implementing such a policy, this encourages students to attend school with a contagious illness, spreading it around like wildfire among the other 2500 students at Rockwall Heath High School. A lot of schoolwork is completed online currently, and students communicate with teachers and administrators through email, or apps like Google Classroom and Remind on the daily. Because of this, it’s reasonable to change the policy to ensure the health of the student body and full recovery for the individual.

A common argument against changing the exemption policy is that it would cut funding to the schools altogether, because students would not feel they would lose something by not attending school. However, students should be able to utilize technology and complete schoolwork online with an acceptable doctor’s note to count as “present” for the day/period- allowing the school to still receive funds for attendance that day.

In a perfect world, students would never get sick and have to miss, but that is unrealistic. If a student can produce a note from a physician through email, or submit it to the attendant, they should be able to have access to the schoolwork for the day online. This could be accomplished in a few ways: 1) using a webcam if a teacher is lecturing, or 2) a teacher submits classwork to be completed through Google Classroom. This would allow the student to recover from the comfort of their own home, while not falling behind in school or coming to school contagious.

Just because the student is not on campus does not mean they did not actively participate in their education during that day. A student should not have to be punished for something they can not control, like the strength of their immune system. It’d be pretty sick if we found a way to update the policy to better suit all individuals, allowing Heath to become a healthy place, as well as a thriving one.

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