Classes at KSC have an array of attendance policies — some classes do not have graded attendance, and others take attendance but it is inconsequential towards their grade. There are many classes that have graded attendance, and if a student is absent from that class for whatever reason, their grade could change significantly. Generally, attendance policies are at the discretion of the professor.
The Equinox understands the value in graded attendance policies, but there are far more unpredictable circumstances where penalizing a student for missing a class or two does more damage than anything. This opinion is for regular sit down classes and lectures and does not apply to labs, clinicals and learning environments of similar structure. The question of whether or not to grade attendance remains in the hands of the professor, but The Equinox sees there are too many situations where graded attendance doesn’t serve any good.
With the weather getting colder and illnesses making their way around campus, there are just some days where staying home and taking care of your health is the logical solution. Sometimes potentially spreading a cold around your class is just not worth being present in class, but even with all the doctors notes in the world, some professors may still mark you as absent and your grade still drops.
There is going to come a time when students are just way too sick to get out of bed, and we like to think everyone has been there at one point or another.
Physical illness isn’t the only thing that can take students out of class. With a combination of Daylight Saving Time, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and other day-to-day stress, mental health takes a hit on students. Students sometimes feel the need to take a day to shut off and nurture their minds because mental health can be just as debilitating as physical health.
When dealing with COVID-19, students are physically not allowed to be in person for classes. We are not out of the woods yet with the pandemic and graded attendance will just hurt students who test positive for COVID-19. There’s also a point of family and personal emergencies that will keep students from class. In the grand scheme of life, there are going to be things that require our immediate attention and times we need to be with our families. With absences comes a very loose definition of what qualifies as an excused absence. To benefit students and their learning experience, there needs to be a solidified system in place to define and handle excused absences, and to ensure professors are upholding them. The college should work towards creating a defined excused absence policy that professors can use.
Instead of being used to penalize students, attendance should be used as a resource for professors to keep track of student absences to make sure they don’t fall behind in the learning material. If professors keep track of attendance, and a student misses class time, they can go back, see what days that student missed, and connect it to the material assigned so the student can get caught up.
We are all adults and, at the end of the day, those who want to show up will show up, and the students who don’t want to will stay home. At some point we have to give students the benefit of the doubt and take them at their word when they send an email saying they are too sick to come to class. The Equinox believes there are too many extenuating circumstances that could keep students from classes, and vague attendance grading policies do more harm than good for students.