Chris Penza and Niko Lorantos

Students seem to have more absences in the first semester than would previously be expected during an average full year. Although personally, I haven’t gotten a cold in years, I find myself sitting in classrooms with multiple students absent due to sickness every week. The student deemed “Frontier Flu(s)” raise two questions: is Frontier an unhygienic environment? And should the nine-absent rule in the student handbook be extended?

The janitors at Frontier Regional do their job whether you think they do or not, and it’s unfair to blame the uptick in sickness on them. Instead, it seems more likely that the reason everyone is getting sick is because of the quarantine. During the peak of Covid-19, sanitary precautions were at an all-time high in terms of strictness. Masks were required in almost every public building, and the amount of cleaning wipes in a given room soared. After one person would touch something, there was either the application of hand sanitizer or a wipe-down. Although this does kill viruses and bacteria it has a few unintended consequences. When you expose viruses and bacteria too so much sanitization inevitably some of it will mutate to become resistant to them. That’s the same reason why hospitals are some of the dirtiest places in the world. If you sanitize too much, everything will eventually adapt and resist it making cleaning efforts fruitless. Secondly, during quarantine when we tried to distance ourselves from COVID we were also distancing ourselves from every other sickness. Essentially now, we are susceptible to all the sicknesses from last year that we never got AND the sicknesses from this year. It’s fair to say Frontier wasn’t unhygienic, instead it alongside everywhere else was too hygienic.

The official Frontier Student Handbook for 2022-2023 rules that “General absences from school for common illness and other minor reasons are considered unexcused. The school allows 9 days each semester for students to be absent.” Does that seem reasonable? Well it’s not necessarily fair for me to say without actually seeing the real numbers of just how many people are out. By observation alone, it seems unfair, but without the hard data, it’s not reasonable to jump to a concrete answer or villainize the school for something that might not even be the problem it seems.