Morgan Markley

Equinox Staff


As fall season comes to the Keene State College campus, so do the coughs and runny noses. This season leaves KSC students to battle with the decision of whether to attend class when ill, and how to remain healthy.

Freshman Michelle Green said she does not go to class if she can’t get out of bed. Green said, “If I can’t be present for class I feel like it’s better to miss class and wait until I get better.” Green also stated that it is really “gross” when students go to class when they are visibly ill and possibly contagious.

According to the 2010 KSC student handbook, there is no set rule about how many classes a student can miss; however, students must make sure they follow the syllabus or rules put forth by their professor before missing class depending on the policy of the professor.

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Green said, “For one of my teachers you can’t miss more than two classes or you lose five points off your grade every time you miss class.” She continued, “And then one of my teachers you can’t miss more than two the whole semester. It doesn’t affect your grade. He just wants you in class.”

Fellow freshman Devin Armstrong said professors at KSC were not strict with their attendance policies.

Armstrong said, “They [professors] say don’t miss too many classes but a lot of times it’s more like if you miss too many classes you’re going to do terrible in the class.” He also said he does not like when other student comes to class sick. “I end up getting sick.”

English Professor William Stroup said this about how he deals with illness in his classroom: “I would say if a student shows up to class and clearly both for herself or himself and the people sitting near them shouldn’t be there that I would ask the student to leave or agree with that student  leaving if they ask for that permission.” Stroup continued and stated a student’s health as being superior to their coursework.

He said, “I try to communicate clearly that you’re responsible for the missed work. That it’s not that you just don’t do that reading or the writing that we did that day, but I think that we can solve all of that stuff later… taking care of health is primary.”

As Stroup said, instead of having to deal with the decision to go to class or not, simply remain healthy. ABC News reported keyboards can contain bacteria such as E. coli and staph, and  KSC students often find themselves at public keyboards printing or doing homework.

To lessen the chance of contracting an illness from the keyboards, some computer labs on campus offer hand sanitizer.

In the Mason Library, there is a hand sanitizing station next to the computers on the first floor. The computer lab in Rhodes Hall offers a hand sanitizer right near the entrance of the lab. There is also a large bottle of hand sanitizer located in room 160 of the Media Arts Center.

Tiffany Mathews, coordinator of Wellness Education, offered advice to students feeling ill. “If you’re sick with flu-like illnesses go by the Center for Disease Control recommendations and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities and then your fever should be gone without the use of a fever reducing medicine.”

Mathews also said that for a cold, a student would want to avoid being in contact with others while contagious, and that the Center for Health and Wellness offers “cold packs” to students.

These cold packs include lollipops, tissues, ramen noodles, tea bags, salt packets, Cepacol lozenges, sudodrin-pseudoephedrine and other things to help the student feel better.

In the end the decision to attend a class or not is up to the student. A professor can’t force a student to attend class.

Stroup said, “If a student thinks they are getting away with something by not coming to a class, they’re not. Valuable things happen every class, the student paid for the class. Sometimes a student apologizes to me for missing class and I just say, ‘Apologize to yourself, it’s your class and you missed it.’ I think that’s a better way of thinking about it.” Green said that she doesn’t necessarily think it’s the responsibility of the professor to tell a sick student to leave class. “They (the students) should know when to leave class.”

Another view comes from Armstrong.  He said he thinks the professors do hold the responsibility to tell students to leave when they are sick. “Yes, definitely because then everyone is put at risk of getting sick,” he said.

Stroup said that when he was a student at the University of Michigan there were classes he shouldn’t have gone to due to being sick. “I just didn’t want to miss anything and I probably should have been sent away. I would have been upset to be sent away, but I should have been sent away because I only ever missed one or two classes in my four years as an undergrad.” When asked how he deals with students telling him they’re too sick to attend class Stroup said, “I would tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.  If you tell me that you cannot be there then you’re an adult talking to an adult, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t believe you.”


Morgan Markley can be contacted at




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