New APO rule forces positive change

A student learning from home, present in online classes.

Photo courtesy by Pixabay

A student learning from home, present in online classes.

Lucy Zuckerman ’22, Staff Writer

Principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr. announced that there is going to be a new APO (absent but present online) rule, which started on March 1. The new rule states that a student who is a hybrid learner (three days a week in person) cannot stay home and join online if the student doesn’t have an illness and if a parent doesn’t call beforehand. If either of those things are not followed, the student will be given an unexcused absence. After four unexcused APOs in a single marking period, parents and students will be required to meet with a school administrator to talk about potentially switching to full distance learning. From now on, taking APO days can possibly end up affecting a student’s grade. 

Though this may seem like an unwelcome disruption for many students, it is an effort to make school as normal as possible. 

For years I went to school every single day except when I was sick, and I loved it. Since March 2020 we have been cooped up at home and I have gotten comfortable with this new routine. I wake up, log onto Zoom in my sweatpants, watch TV during my free period, do my homework and repeat it all over again. While change is scary for many, including myself, this new APO rule is a step in the direction of making life normal again. 

Many students were abusing the APO rule because staying home is comfortable and easy. Myself and other students are missing the little things that used to happen throughout the school day that had a greater impact than I ever noticed. Walking down the hallway laughing with a friend or interacting with a teacher can truly turn a bad day around. As humans, social interaction is very important and is something that we should engage in as much as we can. Quarantine drastically slowed this down and now, talking to people face to face can be awkward or even uncomfortable. Even if staying home seems like the easier option, the benefits of interacting with others outweigh the fears that come with it. 

Implementing the new APO rule change may be a good thing. I believe the physical, mental and emotional health of students will increase due to the everyday interactions that happen at school. Grades will increase as well as a result of not being distracted by things like TikTok, Netflix and little siblings. Going back to in person school is intimidating, but will improve the aspects of life that we once took for granted. As much as I have gotten used to the new normal, the new APO rule will help us return to the old normal.