Stop sending students home for only a cough

Staff+Writer+Caroline+Macaulay+writes+that+students+should+not+be+sent+home+for+displaying+minor+symptoms+of+the+common+cold.+

Joey Shay

Staff Writer Caroline Macaulay writes that students should not be sent home for displaying minor symptoms of the common cold.

Caroline Macaulay, Staff Writer

During fall and winter, harmless coughs find their way into the bodies of everyday people and are often the result of the common cold, which are extremely regular at this time of year. It can be assured that students all over America are feeling the wrath of stuffy noses and frogs in their throats. However, with just a simple cough, students are being sent home to miss school, which is unnecessary. 

At Algonquin, if a student has a cough, it is classified as a stand-alone symptom of COVID-19. As a result, that student is sent home and is not allowed back without a negative PCR test. 

Subsequently, the student will likely have to miss one to two days of school. While missing school, there’s a good chance they will miss at least one test. Along with this, they will fall behind in classwork. Unlike last year, there is no remote option on Canvas for students at home to keep pace with classes. 

Furthermore, the school doesn’t supply immediate PCR tests; they only offer the free pool test once a week. The school does supply a list of COVID-19 sites that are accessible, but these sites often have long wait times, and it can be difficult to make appointments, leading to even more missed school. If students are not allowed back until tested, the school should be able to supply students with an appropriate test.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be taking precautions at all, but maybe some, such as this policy, are too extreme relative to the mild symptoms that most people get from COVID-19.”

— Caroline Macaulay

Of course COVID-19 is a dangerous disease, and Omicron is very contagious. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be taking precautions at all, but maybe some, such as this policy, are too extreme relative to the mild symptoms that most people get from COVID-19.

In place of taking a PCR test, it would be much more efficient for the school to supply these students with rapid tests. Rapid tests only take 10 to 15 minutes, and according to a New York Times article, they are roughly 85% accurate. The inaccurate 15% usually consists of false negatives of people infected with COVID-19 without any symptoms. If the student has symptoms, then the rapid test is more accurate. Plus, rapid tests aren’t as expensive as PCR tests.

Sending students home for minor symptoms like coughs during the winter season is unnecessary. It creates a tedious process in which students must acquire a PCR test and have the added stress of catching up with schoolwork, all because of a symptom of a common cold.