The days of Calvin-esque thinking are gone.
Now, to miss school and recover from illness is more trouble than worthwhile. Missing assignments means hours of make-up work on top of already multi-hour nightly homework sessions, and missing tests is a complex, logistical hassle to coordinate already busy teacher’s, kid’s and parent’s carpool schedules to find time for a makeup exam. Thus, students risk earning a ‘B’ grade, ruining their GPA, which means forgoing acceptance into the right college, which means lifelong ruin, and most acutely, means a lifetime of effort derailed by a germ!
Furthermore, skipping practice or some other extracurricular commitment disappoints the group or means being benched for the season and missing the latest happenings with friends. Additionally, in modern families, most parents’ professional obligations call for their attentions and other children still need to be shuttled around to various practices and lessons and after-school tutoring, so a “sick day” disrupts carefully constructed, intricately timed schedules.
Thus, students go to school ill, passing sickness back and forth among each other, as well as not able to pay as close attention as usual. (So, students risk the same academic pitfalls as staying home.) But, staying home and taking care of oneself becomes a radical act—both in admitting our basic humanness that we all get sick and in practicing generosity for our fellow humans to protect them from sickness too.