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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Being sick in college can be difficult, especially when professors have harsh attendance policies.

You are probably hesitant to stay home from class out of fear of falling behind. Professors are often unhelpful by having harsh attendance policies that either reward those who attend or punish those who do not.

According to the page on SIUE’s website for medical excuses, Health Service can excuse you from class, but highly encourages professors to make their own judgments. This is a problem when judgments regarding excused absences are so different between different professors; shouldn’t the judgment be on the professionals at Health Service?

For anyone who has ever had the flu during the semester, you know that symptoms can stick around for a long time. For a professor that only allows two absences, those can be used up in just a few days of being sick.

A professor may offer bonus points for missing no classes. They may also threaten to drop you from the class or reduce your grades if you miss more than a couple times during the whole semester.

Some professors have other policies, such as allowing sick absences, but requiring a picture of a recent receipt for cold medication if a doctor’s note is not provided. A policy like this falls short for those who already keep cold medication on hand so they don’t have to leave home when they do get sick. Also, affording it could be an issue for some students. Some don’t have cars to easily access the medicine.

The university could provide professors with more in-depth ways of determining when to excuse a student’s absence. Even more importantly, professors must make their policies on being sick clear to students and easy to access.

Professors need to create ways for their students to properly request extensions and recover from being sick. The last thing a student needs when they are sick is to have the stress of classes and work piling on top of them.

Being sick is something that happens to virtually everyone at some point, yet the university barely addresses what to do in the situation. Even if this was just briefly providing some strategies for dealing with being sick at freshman orientation or sending out an email early in the semester providing some resources for staying on top of assignments, giving students almost anything would be helpful.

Many of our staffers have found the steam from taking hot showers helps with overall productivity by helping to manage congestion. In addition, properly timing medication can help manage symptoms overall. An immediate loss in productivity might make it tempting to sacrifice sleep to get more time, but the consequences can be devastating for your recovery, and the longer you’re sick, the longer you’ll be less productive.

The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself so you can get better, because the sooner you get better, the sooner you can get back to living how you want.

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