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Capable Students Stay Home Sick

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The tissue box on my desk in the library was replaced twice last week. Coughs, sneezes, and headaches abound. It is cold and flu season, and some students need to stay home and get better.

It’s reality.

I know how it is, though. I know some kids would rather come to school sick than cope with the aftermath of a few sick days at home. I know how overwhelming it can feel to be home sick and return to missed assignments, tests looming, and math equations that you have no idea how to solve. So, kids drag themselves to school sick rather than cope with the re-entry after a few needed days at home.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Sick days are necessary sometimes, and your child can learn how to re-enter school after a few days on the couch. I’ll show you how you can help.

The first thing your child should do when she is down for the count is email her teachers and let them know she is sick, will be out for a few days, and when she is up to it, will check online and with friends to see what work she is missing. You should definitely not be the person emailing your child’s teachers, but you can help her with wording or with finding email addresses. After the email is sent, your child should go to bed and not give school a thought.

After she has had some of this, and she is feeling up to it, then she should check online and get an idea of what she has missed and will be missing. Maybe she could then decide to do some work from the couch. Things like memorization, textbook reading, or copying class notes friends have sent her could be done from the couch. BUT. It is a sick day, and the idea is to get better not caught up, not yet.

When the day arrives that she feels well enough to return to school, she should speak with each teacher either before or after class starts. Here is an example of what Capable Students say,

“Mrs. X, I’ve been out sick since Tuesday with the flu. I have looked at the class page online and I see I missed the test on chapter 7, and notes on Chapter 8. I am still figuring out a plan to get caught up with all my classes, and I am wondering if I could email you tonight with a date for me to makeup the test? Also, I was able to read Chapter 8 and get class notes from a friend, and so I feel good about that.” Definitely email teachers the plan so that there are no misunderstandings about when work will be made up.

Here is what less than Capable Students say in this situation,

“Um, I’ve been sick, and I just want to know if I missed anything?”

Can you imagine how much that question insults teachers? Beyond the insult, it puts the burden of the absence on the wrong person. Capable Students take responsibility for their work and are proactive. They do not stand passively hoping their teacher will say “no, you didn’t miss anything.”

That evening when your recovering-from-being-sick Capable Student comes home, I would help her plan out when she thinks she can take any missed tests or quizzes and turn in any missed assignments. Then, she should email her teachers with the proposed plan. A rule of thumb is that the student should be caught up by the number of days she was absent. So, home sick for three days means you should be caught up on the third day after you return.

Being sick is not fun.

Coming to school sick is not fun.

Getting other people sick because you came to school sick is not nice.

So, stay home, get some rest, and follow the Capable Students plan for returning to school healthy and ready to go. I promise you will feel much better.


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