OP: Students should take sick days without penalty

16 October 2018

Israel Wheatley

[email protected]

    Attendance is key to a successful education. If you don’t go to class, you’re missing out on in-class lessons, and, a lot of the time, being in class is more valuable than reviewing the lesson from home on a PowerPoint.

    The truth is, sometimes we can’t make it to class, maybe because of an illness or something important that was totally beyond our control.

    Being sick is a perfectly reasonable excuse for an absence, one that shouldn’t be taken as seriously as it is by some teachers.

    First of all, we students pay to go here. We pay to go to class. While I fully support students attending class regularly rather than showing up only for tests, it’s our choice. If we are fully capable of studying from home and feel that going to class is a waste of time, so be it. Shouldn’t we be judged by the quality of our intellect rather than our ability to listen to a teacher talk for three hours?

    Of course, many of our programs rely on our participation. Language, film, literature and arts courses, to name a few, draw their value from discussion and participation. And yes, in class discussions and the exchanging of ideas can help us understand a topic, but so can studying at home in an environment we might be more comfortable with. Especially when we are equipped with at-home studying tools.

    In my Art History class that I took in the Fall of 2017, students were allowed one absence without penalty, and those with perfect attendance had the option to skip the final exam. This is a completely unfair way to educate. The students that had a perfect attendance may not have paid attention during lecture, so by taking away the final, the teacher is praising attendance when they should be making sure the student learned something.

    In addition, absences could only be excused with an official note from a doctor, coach or commanding officer. Well, usually when we’re sick, it’s not serious enough to go visit a doctor, but going to class still isn’t an option. It’s also necessary to think of the other students in class and understand that your presence could mean an absence for them.

    Plus, all coursework was done on slides and in a textbook, both of which were provided to us at the beginning of the semester to study outside of class. In those cases, why is being in class so imperative, and why should it determine our grade?

    It’s unfair. We pay to go here. We study as much as necessary for us to study. We can’t help getting sick, and we also shouldn’t be worried more about being absent than getting someone else sick.

    Students shouldn’t have to put their and someone else’s health on the line for a class that likely won’t ever come back up in their future careers.