Students are sick and tired

It is that time of year again. A quarter of your two-hundred person lecture are out sick and half of those remaining compose a wheezing symphony of sniffles and coughs.   The Cynic staff has been through the ringer — pneumonia, the flu, stomach bugs and whatever else that is going around and there is more than recovering in our way to getting back on track. The University requests that we stay home from classes for ourselves and the health of others when we feel the symptoms of illness coming on, but they aren’t making it easy. Remember when you were able to get a doctor’s note, bring it to school, and have everything be ok? That ability disappears once you enroll at UVM.  Our Student Health Center does not write notes for ailing students.  Instead, you must call the dean, who calls your doctor and then notifies your professors that you’re ill. So the potential arises for you to be sitting next to your doctor, while calling the dean and asking him to call your doctor.  It seems like a middle-man could be eliminated in this equation. Also, this particular middle-man happens to be the dean of a college.  The Cynic feels as if a dean has more important obligations than telling five professors that John Smith’s tummy hurts.  Professors have discretion in excusing student absences, but often they won’t give students the benefit of the doubt. Or they ask too much of the sick.  One of our editors asked for an extension on an assignment when out sick for a week with the flu and got the response, “You should be able to read while you are sick…” Got a fever? Get reading. We don’t know if that professor has never had the flu, or any sickness before, but even reading the information on the back of your many medication bottles is an unrealistic request for many suffering from winter bugs. If the administration is going to ask that we keep our sick bodies at home, the faculty needs to be on board and proving that you are sick needs to be easier.  It is already hard enough to make up work from missing classes without any additional barriers. The University needs to decide whether it is worth it to send a sick student to class to avoid a grumpy professor and an elaborate excusal process We don’t think it is. Students shouldn’t have to focus all of their energy on being excused from class when they are sick, they should be focused on getting better.