Flu Season 2020: How Students Should Handle the Sickest Time of Year

A doctor administering a flu shot to a patient.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

A doctor administering a flu shot to a patient.

Isabella Riccardelli, Staff Writer

It’s the time of year when pharmacies across the United States display banners advertising “Flu shots here!” urging people to get vaccinated.

While many disregard these signs, the flu can become a serious issue in many communities.

For junior Santiago Tovar, the flu caused him to miss multiple days of school, leading to several makeup assignments

Getting the flu can cause students like Tovar to miss anywhere from three to seven days of school, said Attendance Clerk Jasmine Wilson.

This can take a major toll on students’ eligibility for final exemptions.

While some students may want to come to school to keep their final exemption status, the school urges them to stay home.

“Health is more important than exemptions,” Assistant Principal Darius Maize said.

Maize also stressed the importance of staying home when sick, not just for personal health, but for the health of other students, as well.

“If you’re sick, you’re sick, and that’s okay,” Maize said.

In addition, the school created two pathways leading to eligibility for final exemptions: miss fewer than six days or earn an A in the course. But at the end of the day, “an absence is an absence,” said Wilson.

Although the school has been “lucky so far” according to Clinic Aide Lundee Matthews, and no cases of the flu have officially been reported since the second semester started, students should still take precautions to keep the flu away.

Matthews said students should wash their hands frequently, not just after using the restroom, and avoid sharing things, such as water bottles, with other students to prevent the spread of germs.

She also said students should stay away from sick family members and friends and go see a doctor if they have symptoms such as fever, chills or body aches.

Although the flu strains going around this year are not protected by the flu vaccine, Matthews believes students should get vaccinated because, even though it may not keep the flu away, it can lessen its intensity if students do contract the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine also can prevent other strains of the flu from spreading and still gives people a good chance at not contracting the flu.