The ill decision: go to class or stay home?

Apple picking, pumpkin spice frappuccinos, candy corn and Halloween costumes are just some things people want to do during fall. But as the weather cools down, one of the unexpected things that screw up these plans is illness.

It can come out of the blue sometimes. One day you’re fine then all of a sudden … bam. You can barely get out of bed and move let alone go to class all day. Sickness is even worse when you get to college. It’s like a domino effect. Once one falls, the rest will come crumbling down. I remember my freshman year at UW-Eau Claire when every single person on my dorm wing was sick at the same time.

Getting sick is not something you can always control. However, there are preventative measures that can be taken to make sure you don’t get others sick as well. Most of these come down to using our common sense: if you can’t make it around your room when you get sick, then coming to class is not the priority. You are the only person who can judge how your body feels and if it can hold through an entire day of classes.

According to the Dean of Students policy on class attendance and authorized absences, a student is responsible for contacting professors about missing class and catching up on homework he or she missed. Most professors on campus allow students three unexcused absences from their class before beginning to deduct their grade. However, they can’t control who comes to class already sick.

Sometimes, being sick can affect how you perform in the classroom too. When I have a cold, I find that I can’t concentrate on what the teacher is saying and I can’t understand the day’s concept for that class. So is it really better for students to go to class? Rather than struggling through eight hours of classes and homework, students should take the time to rest their bodies. It is our body’s way of saying that we need to take a break from the crazy college life.

I admit that I have been one of those students who still goes to class even with a cold. I hate missing key lectures for classes. You never know what important stuff you will miss. However, I do my best not to get others sick through some simple, basic routines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, there are six steps to prevent getting other people sick:

— Avoid close contact

— Stay home when you are sick

— Cover your mouth and nose

— Clean your hands

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

— Practice other good health habits

Besides individual health routines, there are places such as Walmart, Target and Walgreens that provide medications to help illnesses disappear faster. Depending on the type of illness, there are vaccines that are available in order to help people become immune to it.

While attending classes is important to keep up with the course and the homework load it hands out, it’s also important to give ourselves a break once in awhile — especially when our bodies demand it.