Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

OP-ED: I Had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease During the 2019 Football Outbreak. Here's Why Last Semester Should Be P/F Too


Graphic by Under the Button

The current pandemic has forced Penn's administration to take drastic action — from kicking students off campus to uprooting our entire educational system. Despite conflicting opinions on the best action Penn could have taken, there's one thing we can all agree on: Penn is taking COVID-19 seriously and responding with haste.

Where, though, was this sense of urgency and public health literacy during the hand, foot, and mouth disease outbreak during 2019

Last semester, many of my sprint football teammates and I had our health compromised by an epidemic of startling proportions. Over two members of the Penn community were affected, but the administration made no adjustments to the curriculum or grading system. I missed a PSYC 001 lecture due to my illness and received a C- on my transcript. Luckily, I recovered from hand, foot, and mouth disease — but my GPA never will.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that Penn can consider public health a priority when extenuating circumstances arise. My challenge to Penn's administration is simple: show the same gravitas in your response to HFMD-19 and make last semester pass/fail.