The common cold negatively affects academics

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Garrett Paulus

Mr. Donnelly, a geometry teacher, provides tissues and hand sanitizer for sick students. “I have students sniffling and coughing so I put it out for them,” Donnelly said.

Starting in late October and early November, there has been a spike in common cold cases, which has proven to be a challenge for students. 

According to Harvard University’s School of Public Health, there was a sharp drop in flu cases during the pandemic. However, as the flu season ramps up now, students are reeling from its effects.

“I was sick for almost two weeks and have struggled to keep up with trying to feel better and not trying to fall behind on work. Simple things are hard to do. Even looking down at my paper is hard since my nose is constantly running,” Sophia Boynton, a senior, said.

Boynton was not the only student feeling the burden of being sick while juggling schoolwork. Pailey DeBorde, a sophomore, also came down with the common cold.

“I had to sit through all my classes and try and learn, and at the same time, I felt horrible and just wanted the day to end. But I didn’t want to miss any of my classes,” DeBorde said.

Deborde ended up taking multiple COVID-19 tests in fear that her sickness was COVID-19, and they came back all negative. Owen Livesay, a sophomore, went through the same thought process as Deborde.

“I didn’t feel the best, but I needed to come to my classes because if I missed a day or two, I would be behind. With finals coming up, I don’t want to be behind, especially in my hard classes,” Livesay said.

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, mask-wearing not only keeps the amount of COVID-19 cases low but also helps prevent spikes in other sicknesses like what is occurring right now. For example, between September 2020 and the end of January 2021, there were 1,316 positive flu cases. During the same time period last year, there were 130,000 recorded cases. By wearing masks, flu and COVID-19 positive tests went down tremendously.

Along with feeling sick, Boynton was not feeling good enough to come to school some days. Due to her excused absences, she was put in a bad position as she fell behind on assignments, reviews, projects, and tests.

“When I was gone, I struggled to understand the new topics that were taught in my classes. I felt like I was missing out and I wasn’t going anywhere with the things that I left off on when I came to school. New topics were introduced, and I was still behind on the last ones,” Boynton said.

Boynton used flex time and Gmail to follow up with her teachers to understand what she could do to study the topics and lessons missed during her excused absences.

On arrival back to school, Boynton was required to get a COVID-19 test and before returning to campus. Even though the sickness she had was not COVID-19, it was still a hard pill to swallow.

“I took a lot of medicine and rested a lot to get back to not being sick. Being sick sucks a lot,” Boynton said.