By Yailene Alvarez

Should Barons stay in bed or should they get rise for another school day? If they feel a little sick, maybe they will just stay home. One day will not make a difference nor will it consist of much work to catch up with, they think. Many of us catch a disease in which procrastination of attending school later becomes a severe and habitual tendency. Whatever the case may be, student truancies have always been an increasing routine that affects our schools’ overall attendance. This happens more so during the fall season or the so-called “flu season.”

The beginning of October marks the time when schools become increasingly aware of students attendance because of its effect on funding. For the students, upcoming break means excitement for vacation, but this affects their academics. Unmotivated students start slacking on homework and skipping class. This jeopardizes the school, but more importantly the individual students are the ones affected through their education and grades education. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but in the long run the students’ chronic absenteeism will put them on the edge of academic failure which would be the school’s biggest concern. As a matter of fact, studies show that students throughout the country who miss out on school excessively get lower grades and lower test scores.

Although many absences are caused by unmotivated students, the effect of flu season influences students’ attendance. As the end of the semester comes around the corner, the attendance office notices a difference as more students become ill. Bonita’s school attendance rates compared to other high schools as of the October 24 is at 97.3%; however, as an individual school it is at a 96.1% of students who are present at school.

“I would say 98% of students are here and then as the semester progresses, just more and more students tend to be absent,” attendance tech Graciela Palomino said.

The biggest factors that go on around this time of year are illnesses and viruses. In regards to these airborne and in-contact germs, many students were infected throughout the campus and were sent home because of their unwell-being. Despite the annual pertussis, or whooping cough, there is also a great amount of students who caught the stomach flu. This sickness began affecting Bonita’s attendance around October. And it has most certainly kept the nurses’ office busier.

“I could see anywhere from 25 to 60 kids in one day. So during the flu season I’ll see more kids, maybe in the 60s,” school nurse Paola Garcia said.

With more students being excused to go home halfway through the school day, many will leave without knowing what assignments they missed until they return to school. This is another issue that students face in which they do not make up the work they should have when called out sick or truant. Of course the school would much rather have students who are extremely sick with the flu go home instead of infecting their peers. Nevertheless, just because students are dismissed from class for being sick does not mean they are excused from the class or homework.

“If students are sick, they should really make sure to get in touch with a friend that’s in the class to get the material and being held accountable for getting the information that they missed,” health teacher Shannon Bruce said.

Both epidemics of procrastination of attending school and of the flu have affected student truancies and the schools attendance as a whole. Student absences are a repetitive trend that occurs year after year; in most cases, students tend to care less about attendance towards the end of semesters, as shown in our schools records. But in others, it is an excused absence that students make sure to notify the school of their sickness. To prevent Barons from missing out on school, it is essential to follow some fairly easy health tips.

“It’s really important that everybody washes their hands. If you are sick, make sure you cover your cough, drink a lot of water, and get plenty of rest,” Garcia said.

Indeed, it is the job of the students to positively reflect Bonita Vista’s attendance. It is clear that students are catching “chronic absenteeism-ivitus” and the flu germs. However, with the end of the semester nearing close, Barons are encouraged not to slack off, rather seize the day.

“Well the schools [concern] is obviously low grades, in both citizenship and scholarship. And the lower they are, the less opportunities you guys get to go to good colleges or universities,” Palomino said.