Editorial: Stop spreading the plague, please


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Influenza type B has swept the campus in the past week, leading in more than 25 flu-related absences.

The Red Ledger staff

In the last few weeks, many students and teachers have been suffering from the flu. The rapid spread of the virus has led nurse Jeannie Haines and community pediatricians to longer hours and assumptions that students may be inadvertently perpetuating the transfer of symptoms.

Many homework-ridden students nervous about missing STAAR testing or AP lectures have been coming to school in spite of having contagious flu symptoms. While no one wants to miss schoolwork, students who are sick should stay home in order to be considerate of the health of others.

This is the time of year when truancy warnings are passed out to students who are repeat offenders of tardies and unexcused absences. Though it is tempting to want to come to school at all costs, in order to avoid Thursday Night School and copious makeup work, students that are sick while at school put others at risk of also becoming ill.

The district loses state funding for each student absence. A handful of students absent from the flu is normal and probably calculated into the cost of operation. Yet when those students come to school instead of staying home, the school is at risk of losing exponentially more funding, since more students and staff are likely to catch a contagious and harmful virus.

As students, even if we refuse to care about topics that concern our community, like school funding, we should think about our friends and teachers that surround us each day. Even ardent hand-washing and a refusal to share drinks with others is not enough. Ultimately, staying home from school is the only reliable way to keep from getting other students and teachers sick. Thanks to Google Drive and other handy ways to access schoolwork, it is easier each year to work on homework from home while sick.

And for students who have miraculously escaped from the suffering caused by the so-called “plague,” Haines recommends using hand sanitizer, not touching communal items like the stair rail in the hallway if possible, and refraining from coming into close contact with any person who may have flu symptoms.

Instead of becoming a driving force in the vicious illness/absence cycle this flu season, just stay home. It may feel overwhelming to think about the WHAP quiz, psychology handout, or economics lecture that will have to be made up, but think about the resulting risks that abound when students come to school sick. In addition to potentially making others ill and indirectly affecting district funding, students may end up missing even more school as a consequence of not allowing their bodies rest and relaxation.

Not catching the flu this season may be unavoidable, but not passing on the virus is completely possible. Remember to wash your hands, drink only your own drinks, and stay home if necessary.