Teachers’ missing work policies unjustly burden sick students

An illustration of how late/missing assignments affects a student’s mental health. In response to these statistics, teachers should wait to submit their grades until the student is healthy and able to submit their assignments.

Aidan Sprouls ’23

An illustration of how late/missing assignments affects a student’s mental health. In response to these statistics, teachers should wait to submit their grades until the student is healthy and able to submit their assignments.

Aidan Sprouls ’23 , Staff Writer

Every Staples student who has ever been ill knows the daunting feeling of opening up PowerSchool the day after being absent and seeing that they have received multiple zeros on assignments they missed. While many of these 0s turn out to be temporary, how much it overwhelms students and the amount of stress it causes is incredibly high and unnecessary.

Instead, teachers should input a “missing” marker in the grade book while retaining the grade as unsubmitted so students can view what they are missing, but do not receive a 0% for the assignment. Then, as the Student Handbook states, the student would then be given a week to complete the assignments they are missing. 

Some teachers claim that they enter 0s for missing work in an attempt to  motivate students to complete their work, but it can often cause the opposite reaction as it increases stress and makes students overwhelmed for no reason.

Attempting to complete your work while also catching up on failed work due to illness is incredibly stressful and overwhelming to students.”

— Aidan Sprouls ’23

With 30% of students feeling higher levels of stress according to a study done by the Suicide Prevention Research Center, students should not have to deal with the added pressure of lower grades when they are already ill. Since stress contributes to illness, students need the day off to recover so they can feel as if they are even able to complete their assignments.

Not only is it detrimental to student’s physical health, but according to the Newport Institute, these poor or failing grades that teachers give to sick students are also harmful to their mental wellbeing. Attempting to complete your work while also catching up on failed work due to illness is incredibly stressful and overwhelming to students.

Looking at PowerSchool is a stressful enough activity, and when recovering from an illness, seeing my grades significantly lowered in my classes does not quite help me with my recovery. I am hopeful that teachers will soon realize that they can help students by waiting to put in the grade once completed when the student feels well, rather than hurt the student in the way they are now.