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Who is in the right?

(218 Posts)
Rinmybell Mon 20-Nov-17 21:39:27

Firstly, this is about someone who is terminally ill, I don't know if it needed a trigger warning but thought I'd say in case people wished to stop reading here.

At uni I have a student in the same class, who has a life limiting condition. They are very poorly and at times it has been very touch and go. This is their second attempt at Uni. The first attempt, they lost a family member to the same illness and became very ill, also. So they dropped out. We will call them A.

Last week during seminar, A flagged up that another student (B) was ill. They were coughing and to their ears it sounded like a chest infection - which is very dangerous for A.
A spoke with the teacher and explained that one of them would have to go home. Teacher explained to B who was very upset and angry - and insisted they would not be going home, it would have to be A.
A is now very upset that extra provisions were not made for them - they have a lot of time off due to their preexisting condition and shouldn't have to take more time off for someone else's illness.
B, is cross also because they feel like they in themselves were well enough to attend, and they are not responsible for A's health.
A has now contracted a chest infection. Can't prove it was from B, but an email has now been sent out to all in the class that if any of us or children present with respiratory illness we are to stay at home.
This has now caused an outrage as people have complained today they've had to miss out today, as they have coughs.
There is another person in the class who's child also suffers with a life limiting illness, so they too agree that this should be the policy.
There is now quite a divide and people don't really know where they stand.
I already know what I think - but have been told IABU, so would kind of liked to know what others think.
So who is BU in your opinion?

Sirzy Mon 20-Nov-17 21:42:44

It is a tough one. Given I have a son who spends most of winter with some sort of respiratory infection that would in effect be telling me I can’t attend at all?

Given most unis put a lot of pressure on students to not miss too many sessions then this could make it tough for some students.

I think someone needs to have a serious talk with the student support department and get them to bring everyone together to form a more workable approach

Alittlepotofrosie Mon 20-Nov-17 21:43:58

B is a hateful bastard.

ItsAHardKn0ckLife1 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:44:19

I’m torn on this, it’s a tough one.

Are chest infections contagious?

Quartz2208 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:45:31

Its a tough one cos I do feel for A a lot and I think its fair that you should not come in with serious illnesses but I dont think you can say to stay off at the first sign of a cough or cold as that could mean missing weeks

NewIdeasToday Mon 20-Nov-17 21:45:56

This is University not school. It’s very unfortunate that one student has this condition. However the university can’t start telling other students that they can’t attend. They are adults and need to make that decision themselves.

Presumably the student concerned can decide where to sit and make sure three sit away from anyone with a cough.

YouCantArgueWithStupid Mon 20-Nov-17 21:46:28

I’m sick all winter with coughs, colds, tonsillitis etc because I have an immune condition. I have a lot of sympathy for A however it would be I couldn’t attend uni for 4/5 months a year.

BreadAndChipsPlease Mon 20-Nov-17 21:47:52

Coughs can last for 3 weeks after a cold- it's unreasonable to expect people to stay away from uni if they are well. I would expect people to stay off if they have a fever/feel ill but if just a cold/cough they attend.

C0untDucku1a Mon 20-Nov-17 21:47:56

Someone with a chest infection should not be in class.

Pengggwn Mon 20-Nov-17 21:48:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

glow1984 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:48:28

I think A should be the one to stay at home and have additional support at home. It’s really easy for illnesses to spread around a group, and I don’t think a whole group should be made to stay at home for one person.

SuperBeagle Mon 20-Nov-17 21:48:51

Person A is being unreasonable.

Person A needs to work something out with the university/her individual lecturers. It's unreasonable to expect people to stay at home if they might so much as sneeze in their direction. How do you discern a chest infection from bad seasonal allergies, for instance? Just because it "sounds" like a chest infection to A, does not mean that it actually is, or that it wasn't once but is no longer contagious and is just a prolonged symptom.

So yes, A is being unreasonable.

pasturesgreen Mon 20-Nov-17 21:48:51

Can lessons be made available via video link? I'm on the fence.

Butterfr33 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:48:53

I think it's one of those impossible situations. Honestly, I'm leaning towards A being right. It's unfair to expect a person to stay home and sacrifice their education (which they're paying a shit load of money for) when they have a cough/cold and feel well enough attend.

Butterfr33 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:49:14

Sorry meant to say B.

Council Mon 20-Nov-17 21:49:32

Gosh that is hard but surely no-one can really be expecting everyone with a "respiratory illness" (i.e. a cold) or a child who has a cold to stay at home? How would the department even function through the winter?

Pinkpowerofthought Mon 20-Nov-17 21:51:04

I don't think people should be coming in if they have a terrible chest infection and sputtering their germs about. Other people shouldn't have to suffer.
However, anti bacterial gels, proper hygine and tissues should stop the spread and those with minor bugs should think about a and the person with the poorly child.

A and person with poorly child should also understand they can't completely avoid these situations but I do feel for them because living in fear on top of all the stress they are under must be awful.

If a letter was sent to say anyone with a full on cold or sickness bug must stay at home I think that's fair enough. A minor cough or a sniffly nose could probably be managed by proper hygine.

cheesypastatonight Mon 20-Nov-17 21:51:08

Can A not wear a mask? Very common in Asia not not spread and pick up germs as well as those to who are undergoing chemo etc,

Quartz2208 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:52:25

the problem is I guess it can hit in different ways - a virus has gone round friends and family - most have a cold that needs 1 day max off a couple though have needed antibiotics.

Chest infection of course but cold no - and a cold can become a chest infection for A which is the issue

ChinkChink Mon 20-Nov-17 21:53:38

Was no risk assessment completed? That seems rather...remiss.

Would it be an option [albeit rather unpalatable] for A to wear an infection type mask similar to those worn by medical professionals?

In an ideal world A could study in a totally safe environment but realistically it seems that a balance needs to be struck.

turquoise88 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:54:07

I think A is unreasonable, and the only reason I say it is because the other option, for anyone with a cough/cold to stay at home, has an affect on a greater number of people. It’s a tough one though.

OldWitch00 Mon 20-Nov-17 21:54:22

It’s A’s battle, you need to stay out of it. A needs to sort this out with the Uni’s support staff.
I’ve had a niggly cough for over a month, dry air and even perfume sets me off...

Rinmybell Mon 20-Nov-17 21:58:33

Ah, see I was leaning towards A. However, I have also been so paranoid about the children bringing home something - as it would mean I then can't go in (and I've had to miss days because of them having croup and bronchitis already)
From what I understand, someone with a good immunity would not contract B's chest infection - but A certainly can. And YY to a cold being awful for A because it would then go to their chest.

B was being bratty. And caused a drama that A was trying to avoid, but it would seem the Uni aren't really stepping up and providing a solution for A or the student with the child with a compromised immune system.

Ameliablue Mon 20-Nov-17 21:59:34

At this time of year, university students are gearing up for exams so if everyone with a cough had to stay home it could seriously hamper there studies.
Obviously if they know they have a bad chest infection, they should stay away but coughs are so variable and can linger most of the winter.
It is unfortunate for A but I don't think making all the other students stay away is a reasonable adjustment. Also even if her fellow course students comply, she'll meet umpteen other students/ staff etc. who will have no idea and be at risk anyway.

NoSquirrels Mon 20-Nov-17 21:59:37

I feel terribly sorry for A, but the adjustments do really need to be focused on how A can safely access their education not on how everyone else can adjust their behaviour to accommodate A.

It's great to ask the cohort to be aware and think twice because one of the students has a lowered immune system. It's quite another to insist on a blanket policy - and totally unenforceable, anyway.

Video/Skype link for lectures and tutor groups would seem a reasonable adjustment.

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