With H1N1, an ounce of prevention might have been good

It’s that time of year again: the start of school, football games, haunted hayrides and unfortunately, the start of cold and flu season. This year, it’s not only the ordinary influenza that’s concerning people everywhere; H1N1, formerly known as “swine flu,” has become a problem. But this won’t stop many high school students from coming to school.

We’ve all been in this situation: You see someone near you who is clearly sick, and you desperately hope he keeps his germs to himself.

Why did that student come to school? To some, a large motivation for coming to school is the prospect of exam exemptions. Some people try to come to school just because they don’t want to take an exam or two during exam week.

Students love exam exemptions, of course, but maybe the attendance exemption isn’t the best idea, given the current circumstances. Students clearly earn exemptions when they get all As and Bs. This rewards students for applying themselves.

But should students be rewarded for merely showing up for school? We realize that this may motivate some perfectly healthy but unmotivated students to come to school.

However, if students are sick, then they shouldn’t be at school. If attendance exam exemptions are in place, the flu and other sicknesses are likely to spread, especially since students share desks, computers and even things like water bottles. 

We recognize that it’s not really fair to change the exemption rule now that school is well under way. But perhaps Fairmont administrators will take a cue from several other districts around the nation that took an early look at the H1N1 problem and eliminated attendance exemptions before the school year started.

The bottom line is this: If you are sick, don’t come to school. We don’t want to catch what you have – whether it’s H1N1 or anything else. Besides, you’ll get healthier faster if you give yourself the proper amount of rest.

And if you’re worried about having to take an extra exam, then maybe you should be studying a little harder. Your health and the health of others around you should be your first priority.