Opinion: No illness policy places students and staff at risk


By Liam Hill-Allan

Langara’s lack of a concrete illness policy is putting students and staff at risk.

When I fell ill in early March, I faced the classic dilemma — to attend my Langara classes or stay at home.

I knew attending eight hours of classes would do nothing to cure my pounding headache and sore throat. I also knew my presence would put students and staff at risk of contracting whatever I had been afflicted with.

However, when faced with the potential stress of missed classes and with no clear cut policy in place telling me to stay at home, I took an Advil, put on a scarf and headed to campus.

This choice is all too common among students and staff.

In a recent interview with The Voice, Chris Horan, a TA in the college’s computer science department, said he always attends class, even when sick. Horan added he thinks Langara staff are confused about what to do or suggest when students are sick. They don’t even know what to do when they are sick.

The lack of policy places the choice of whether or not to attend classes on to sick students and staff, who may not always make the right choice.

The consequences of sick students and staff attending classes have the potential to be serious. Earlier this year, a measles outbreak was reported at Langara. While the illness was contained, the incident highlights the risks associated with attending school sick.

Langara should look to the Vancouver School Board for policy inspiration. Some VSB schools issue recommendations to parents, “If your child is sick, please keep her/him home.”

While Langarites are probably more independent than the average VSB-aged student, a similar “better safe than sorry” attitude from the college could help prevent future incidents.

See related post https://www.langaravoice.ca/langaras-lack-of…h-a-tough-choice/

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