Even teachers can be plagued by 'illness' the day after the Super Bowl

Even teachers can be plagued by 'illness' the day after the Super Bowl

by Michael P. Buffer, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Stripes Okinawa

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — After a busy Super Bowl Sunday that involves socializing and consuming lots of food and drinks around the TV, who wants to go to work the next day?

More than 110 million Americans watch the game, which usually ends after 10 p.m. A fantasy football website, 4by4.com, last year petitioned the Obama administration to make the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday.

According to a study noted in media reports, about 6 percent of Super Bowl watchers — about 7 million workers — call in sick the next morning. About 15 percent of human resources managers reported in a 2013 survey increases in absences and lateness from workers on the day after the Super Bowl, said Marc Marchese, a professor of human resources management at King’s College.

Scranton School Board member Cy Douaihy, a former teacher, noted the day after the Super Bowl is one of the highest “call-off” days for teachers and suggested last November closing school on the day after the Super Bowl to save money. The absence of salaried teachers forces the district to call in substitutes at additional expense.

“We cannot allow education to be pushed aside because of the Super Bowl celebration,” Wyoming Area School District Superintendent Janet Serino said. “Having the Monday after the Super Bowl out of school sends an inappropriate message.”

On Feb. 3, 2014, the day after last year’s Super Bowl, 71 teachers and 964 students were absent from school in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, the school district with the most teachers and students in northern Luzerne County.

On the following Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, 31 teachers and 418 students were absent in Wilkes-Barre Area. The school district last year had roughly 490 teachers and an enrollment of 7,150 students.

“It is a difficult day because of the tradition that goes along with watching the Super bowl,” Superintendent Bernard S. Prevuznak said, acknowledging abuse from taking the day off or not going to school.

But Prevuznak does not support the concept of making the day a holiday.

“I am a sports fan who has watched every Super Bowl since its conception, but it is about the game and the athletes,” he said, adding the players worked “hard to get to this pinnacle in their professional careers.”

Hanover Area School District Superintendent Andrew Kuhl said he’s “not sure that the Super Bowl has that significant an influence on our teachers’ attendance.”

On the day after last year’s Super Bowl, 11 Hanover Area teachers were absent. It was 6 a week later on Feb. 10, 8 on Feb. 11 and 13 on Feb. 14.

Hanover Area had 110 teachers and an enrollment of 2,050 students. The number of students late or absent was 117 the day after last year’s Super Bowl and 77 on Feb. 10, the next Monday. Kuhl said it’s “difficult to allow outside events” dictate the school calendar, noting St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and March Madness “all can affect attendance.”

Noting that 10 percent of Greater Nanticoke Area School District teachers were absent on the day after last year’s Super Bowl, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said, “I think the Super Bowl is a big game, but it is not a national holiday or an event of any historical significance, such as Veterans Day or Memorial Day. Thus it should be a day of school.”

Working on the day after the Super Bowl can be a positive experience for workers, Marchese said, citing a survey of human resources managers from last year.

“It can help with morale and team building,” Marchese said, noting the game gives co-workers something to discuss. The game also gives co-workers a chance to bond through contests and pools, Marchese added.


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