The Gazette Granite Bay High School Granite Bay, CA
Issue Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009 Issue: 2009-10 Issue 2 Last Update: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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   I hate being home sick from school. There, I said it. I hate being quarantined to the couch for hours on end, with only old sitcom reruns as company. I despise the nearly endless quantities of full-sugar soda, and I loathe watching 2:35 tick by without the accompanying sound of the school bell. Not even sleeping in late can console me. Why?

 The endless avalanche of makeup work that awaits me. It’s agonizing and terrible and goes on forever, like a Saw film. But, unlike a Saw film, it’s hard to learn any valuable lessons in the process.

  I think I’ve developed a good theory as to why makeup work is so drawn-out, when compared to an average night of homework. When you miss a day of school, for whatever reason, you’re missing the lesson and the worksheets you were supposed to do in class and tonight’s homework and last night’s homework (since you didn’t turn it in). Multiply this times four, times however many days you’re out.

  And, here’s the best part: When you do have to makeup all of this glorious work, you have to do it half-sick, and on top of current homework assigned the day you got back. I don’t know how people manage.

 All of this would be easier to deal with if students returned to school when they are actually healthy, instead of just less sick.  But we – the students – are all so terrified of missing school that we run back into class the moment our fever is under 100. Which is bad, because, for example, a person infected with H1N1 can spread it up to a week after their symptoms have gone away.

  School policy seems rather flakey when it comes to absence. Earlier this year, at the height of the H1N1 scare, schools were urging their students to stay home if they were sick.

  But, at the same time, school officials frown on absences in general, and, needless to say at this point, makeup work is as difficult to recover from as the illness itself. So we’re left with classrooms full of contagious zombies with loads of makeup work to do.

  I think it’s a flawed system.

  To be clear, I’m not saying makeup work is itself a bad idea. It’s the sheer volume of it that I object to. Some teachers try to alleviate the pressure by posting assignments online or giving students extra days, but not all of them are so forgiving.

  I think that students should be partially excused from the homework they missed, and instead required to makeup in-class work. Another solution would be to offer alternative projects, such as an English report on the student’s activities while sick, or a line graph of the student’s temperature. Be creative.

  The bottom line is that students absent for health reasons weren’t goofing off – just unlucky. And a bit of leniency from staff would be a huge help to those of us still playing catch-up.

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Karl, Grubaugh

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