Absences pile up as students go on vacations

Ben Jutzi, News Editor

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While vacationing in California over spring break, junior Aidan Wise likes to spend his time out on the golf course, visiting his grandparents and swimming at the beach. But when thoughts of making up missed work emerge in his mind, his vacation does not feel so stress-free.

“Making up [the work you have missed] takes away from the days you have off,” said Wise. “Whether it be spring break or winter break, I feel like I have the [vacation] time that I need without [missing a] day [for vacation].”

The idea of missing school for vacations has recently been a point of contention at local elementary schools in areas like Oak Park, Homer Glen and Elmhurst. Large student absences on school days before long weekends and breaks have raised debates over whether the absence is worth missing school. Some of these schools have decided to implement policy changes to crack down on these absences, even going so far as to not accept absences for vacations as excused absences.

According to Dean William Eike, district policy states that students are allowed up to seven excused absences per class each semester. After seven days, all absences from the class become unexcused without medical or some other form of documentation to demonstrate good cause for the absence.

Glenbrook North is not currently considering any change to its absence policy, as there has not been any notable increase in absences due to vacations, but would discuss possible action if these absences became an issue, Eike said.

Senior Sara Stanicek said she recently vacationed in Europe to see her sister for eight days, causing her to miss six days of school.

“I e-mailed [my teachers] before [the vacation] and told them I was going to be gone,” said Stanicek. “Some of them gave me [work] to do while I was gone, … but when I came back home I still had a lot to do.”

Stanicek said her more rigorous classes have given her a heavy workload following her vacation, but her teachers have been very understanding.

Eike said students and teachers typically share the responsibility of making sure the absent student gets caught up.

“It’s a two-way street basically.

“I think our teachers do a really good job of working with the students to … make up work,” Eike said.

Social studies teacher David Vincent said the responsibility falls upon the student to stay caught up, whether that be checking online, with classmates or with their teachers.

Wise said he will meet with his teachers if his work begins to pile up after an absence but there usually is not too much work to make up when he leaves early.

“On that last Friday [before break] there’s not much that’s usually going on, but sometimes there will be like a quiz or a test that I have,” Wise said.

Although he understands that flights may be cheaper if families go on vacation early, Vincent said he still does not “condone” a decision to leave early.

“It’s never a good thing to miss school, and, when you do, you fall behind,” Vincent said.

Stanicek said being a reliable student and having strong relationships with her teachers have helped Stanicek stay on top of her missed work.

“I’m obviously going to get the work done,” said Stanicek. “I just need some time to do it.”

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