Empty desks, empty minds

Student absences impact classes


Zoe Ziessman

English teacher Chris Nordmark takes attendance Jan. 5. Attendance in classes decreases rapidly due to COVID-19 and lack of motivation.

Sophia Curran-Moore

According to sophomore Madeline Anklam, the abundance of student absences is impossible to ignore. She said student absences result in less enthusiasm and participation in classes.

“I’m missing classmates, and I’m missing friends. That’s not fun,” Anklam said. “It’s made class a little less lively. It’s lonely sometimes.”

According to 6425 News Dec. 5, students are expected to be in class during instructional time. Students in the hallway during class time without a pass will be escorted to their class. According to assistant principal Jessica Busse, these expectations are being reaffirmed because many students are misusing passes to skip class, and absences are increasing.

“Because we have some abuse of passes, there’s been some re-clarification of bathroom passes, and of passes in general, but no policies are new,” Busse said.

Although some absences are inevitable, psychology teacher Gregory Goddard said it’s crucial for students to attend class as much as possible to interact with their peers.

“Absences happen, and there’s legitimate reasons for that, especially in the midst of a global pandemic,” Goddard said. “However, it’s important for students to attend, when possible. It’s important that they get to know other people, and different perspectives, in person.”

Senior Nora Jeftenic said she is frustrated her classes are moving at a slower pace due to increased student absences.

It’s really important that you’re there to see the demonstrations, get an opportunity to ask and answer questions, and dig deeper into the material.”

— Gregory Goddard

“Students who are absent have to catch up, so everyone kind of has to catch up,” Jeftenic said. “If there’s a lot of people gone, the teacher cannot continue stuff we did in class, so we’re moving on slower.”

According to Anklam, when she has to miss a class, it’s difficult to compensate for the lost class time.

“The stuff that they give you to make up for what you missed isn’t the same as being in class. It doesn’t match the depth of the instruction and material that they gave you in class,” Anklam said.

Goddard said when students consistently attend class, they gain a better understanding of the subject matter.

“Attendance enriches your understanding of the material, as opposed to simply reading about it or seeing a video about it,” Goddard said. “It’s really important that you’re there to see the demonstrations, get an opportunity to ask and answer questions, and dig deeper into the material.”

According to Jeftenic, a system in which unexcused absences directly affect grades may motivate students to attend class more regularly.

“If you skip too many classes, your grade should go down, because if nothing really happens, then students will continue to not show up,” Jeftenic said. “It’s your own job to go to class because you’re responsible for your own education.”