Northwest Horizons

Absences soar to new heights with flu outbreak

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Absences soar to new heights with flu outbreak

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As winter turns to spring, there are many students coughing and blowing their noses. Classrooms are emptier than usual, with teachers occasionally joining the ranks of the absent. The flu started spreading earlier in the winter and continues to take a toll.

“People need to stop coming to school sick,” junior Michelle Semaan said.

The flu and disease outbreak at Northwest continues to spread, with higher totals than earlier in the year. According to staff attendance reports, on the week of March 4th, the total number of absences is 782. This breaks down into 211 absences on Monday, 219 on Tuesday, 197 on Wednesday and 166 Thursday.

Compared to the highest absences in the fall semester, with 75 absences on September 25th and 70 on September 11th, the disparity can be observed.

“The reason they’re coming to school sick is the attendance policy,” Semaan said. “It’s stupid, and for kids like me who don’t do that, we’re missing more days. I have AP classes, I can’t afford to miss a day or I fall behind on my work.”

The attendance policy at Northwest Guilford High School dictates that if a student accrues more than five absences, excused or unexcused, the student is required to make up the hours and may not exempt final exams in that class. For make-up time, students can miss five of each class per quarter, but they can only miss five classes overall before they cannot exempt the final exam for that class.

The attendance policy, however, is not the only reason students blame for the flu outbreak.

“A lot of kids are not being vaccinated, and that’s a problem,” Semaan said.

There are, however, precautions beyond just receiving a vaccine to prevent the spread of the flu. Guilford County Schools’ health services website recommends that students are feeling under the weather call their healthcare provider immediately. They also recommend that all students frequently wash their hands and sanitize the surfaces they and others come into contact.

“Get vaccinated, wash your hands, and don’t come to school sick,” Semaan said. “If everyone could do that, we wouldn’t have as big of a problem.”

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Absences soar to new heights with flu outbreak