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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Fall Flu: Even if you’ve never had it, you’ve certainly come into close contact with it. For those of you who are new to UF — or just have really strong immune systems — the Fall Flu is the annual time of year when cold- and flu-like symptoms ravage the Student Body. Some call it Gator Flu or, even more charmingly, the UF Plague. GPAs are crippled, dates are ruined, everything becomes miserable for a solid week or so and Netflix (note the absence of "chill") becomes one’s top weekend priority.

The Fall Flu, like all deadly viruses, is spread in the most innocuous of ways; careless kisses lost to time and the onset of the morning at Midtown; sharing a pencil with your classmate who always forgets that most assessments are scantron-based in that class; and BATHROOMS.

As effective as the aforementioned means of contamination may be, they pale in comparison to the classroom. Yes, the classroom, where students with 99-degree temperature fevers drag themselves to due to outdated attendance policies; the classroom, where a simple sneeze, misdirected cough or careless handshake can adversely affect the health of scores of students.

We’re going to make a plea: If you are sick, please, stay in your home, dorm or fraternity/sorority basement. We get it: Attendance policies being what they are, you are compelled by mandate to drag your diseased and germ-ridden body to a room full of (relatively) healthy individuals. However, it is much more beneficial to both your health and the larger UF populace if you just stay at home, cuddle up to season five of "Breaking Bad" and recuperate.

We’re also going to make a request to the university, instructors and teaching assistants: Please don’t penalize us for not coming to class while sick. We understand it can be difficult to motivate students without strict attendance policies, and we are more than sympathetic to the idea that when you show up to work, you’d actually like for there to be students for you to educate.

At the same time, keeping a firm adherence to an already rigid attendance policy affects more than just the sickly student who might miss class. It affects every person that student comes near.

Some would counter that the presence of "excused absences" if a doctor’s note is provided offsets the aforementioned concerns. That’s all well and good, but the Fall Flu is also called the UF Plague for a reason: It spreads quickly and effectively. Given the difficulty of arranging appointments at the UF Student Health Care Center on a regular week, the idea of getting an appointment that works within your schedule during flu season seems like a fool’s errand.

We’re abundantly aware this editorial isn’t going to immediately stop students from contaminating their classmates or convince professors that more than three absences isn’t the worst thing in the world; at the least, we hope it serves as half-decent tissue material in these tough times.

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