I’ve never been a fan of perfect attendance awards. I realize that might not be a popular opinion, but it seems like they reward one of two things: 1) Good luck, or 2) Presenteeism. Either kids are exceedingly lucky and never get sick on a school day, or they do get sick and come to school anyway, spreading germs to everyone else.
It’s a mixed message, one that is sort of blindly accepted in a normal school year. But swine flu is changing the rules this fall, and it has school administrators rethinking their perfect attendance awards.
Schools across the country are suspending their perfect attendance programs for the 2009-2010 school year, telling kids that they won’t be penalized for staying home if they catch the flu. “We don’t want parents to feel compelled to send their kids in because of that award,” New Jersey school physician Ronald Frank told The Star Ledger. “If they’re sick, we really want them to stay home … for their own health and to try to prevent the spread of any communicable disease or infection to anyone else in the district.”
Some districts simply froze attendance counts, waiting to see what swine flu decides to do. But others are reconsidering the policy altogether. After all, even if they aren’t infected with H1N1, sick kids belong resting at home, not sniffling and suffering through the school day just to get the credit.
If your school has perfect attendance awards, were they put on hold for the swine flu?
Photo: Robert S. Donovan, Flickr