Students need more lenient make-up work policy

December 14, 2015 — by Frederick Kim and Jay Kim

One of the safest ways to skip school is by pretending to be sick. With a simple feigned cough and a hairdryer-heated thermometer, students can avoid an unexcused absence and scolding from their parents. Websites such as Wikihow and Instructables even teach people how to fake illnesses, with over 5,000 users finding these tutorials “helpful.”

But in the school’s academically competitive environment, the opposite is true; students often try to conceal their fevers and flus so that they can attend school, even when sick.

Part of this is because classes are so rigorously scheduled, it can be difficult for students to catch up. Sometimes, two or more tests or presentations fall on the same day, which results in having to go to those classes for a whole week’s worth of tutorials just to make up the work.

Even if a student isn’t skipping an assessment or project presentation, they may miss out on labs or Socratic seminars, which, by their nature, are difficult to make up.

Unfortunately, some teachers’ make-up policies do not help the students and make it difficult for students to stay home when sick.

For instance, if a student misses a group project presentation date, teachers may require that the student presents the project all by him or herself. If a student misses a test, the teacher might make that student take a more difficult midterm or quarterfinal or even replace the test with the final grade, further adding to the student’s stress during finals week.

A solution to the situation could be enforcing a more lenient make-up policy, such as having a weekly after-school assessment period where students could make up any big tests or presentations they have missed from their absences because tutorials are not long enough for block period-length tests.

The challenges of the teachers’ policies cause students to feel a need to come to school even when they are sick. However, what the students should know is that by coming to school, they are spreading their sickness to other students. What the teachers should realize is that their absence policies do not help the students make up their work; instead, they only exacerbate the student stress the school is aiming to eliminate.