It may be time to burn those textbooks. Students across the world have always complained about how their workload is slowly killing them, but according to the latest findings, they’re not too far from the truth.
Recently, scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found that homework assignments actually serve as vectors to disease and illness, similar to viruses and other pathogens.
During the research study, pathologist and NIH associate director Dr. Roger Pennsburgh, PhD, MD, and his team were tracking seasonal patterns of sickness across the United States when something very peculiar caught their attention.
The team noticed a strong positive correlation between the rates of illness among high school and college students and the amount of homework assignments given out during the year.
“We thought it was strange. The further the school year progressed and the amount of homework increased, the more we saw students showing symptoms of the common cold, the norovirus and influenza. This couldn’t be just a coincidence,” stated Dr. Pennsburgh in a recent interview.
Excited that they had stumbled onto a revolutionary breakthrough, Pennsburgh and his team collected samples from classrooms of various high schools and colleges and examined them using state-of-the-art equipment at the NICHD Microscopy and Imaging Core facility. They were utterly shocked at what they found.
“The samples we collected were composed of approximately 93 percent viral genomic material. These homework assignments, these ordinary sheets of paper that have questions written on them, are actually deadly biological vectors of pathological disease, much like a virus,” exclaimed Dr. Carolyn Lowe, a co-author of the recent study and a member of Pennsburgh’s research team.
Upon this realization, the team immediately brought out the hazmat suits to properly protect themselves.
“It felt like we were in the pages of The Hot Zone,” commented Pennsburgh. He explained how he had to use tongs to turn the pages of a particularly infectious chemistry assignment that featured multiple homework sheets stapled together.
This is shocking news for a nation so obsessed with assigning homework that schools wouldn’t hesitate to bury their students with it every day. Scientists are aghast at how society has been so lax about exposing children and teens to such dangerous levels of homework for such a long time.
“It explains everything: the poor health conditions, the endless fatigue, the tendency to make terrible life decisions…all of it makes sense. There were warning signs everywhere and we chose to ignore them. We owe our children an apology,” said Dr. Henry Crawford from the World Health Organization. Crawford’s own two daughters are currently ill from a serious respiratory infection caused by their calculus homework.
But many parents are wondering how this pathogenic substance works. In a recent interview, Eric Lander, the director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard provided an explanation after his team of scientists studied the matter further.
“Homework contains microscopic homework agents that are highly contagious. Once an agent enters the body of a student, it wreaks havoc on their brain and immune system as it multiplies. But unlike most viruses, homework agents lay dormant in the body even after most of the symptoms have passed. They stay hidden until something triggers them to come out again. In that sense, homework is a lot like genital herpes,” he said.
But what causes those homework agents to reemerge? Scientists suspect that the answer might be teaching certifications.
“The perfect opportunity for a homework agent to spread is when it’s traveling from a teacher to a student. Once inside a classroom, the host is suddenly overcome with an urge to give out an impractical amount of homework,” said Lander.
Further investigations have shown that almost all teachers do indeed have an urge to give out a lot of homework.
“It’s not the low pay or lack of benefits or even the stressful work environment that’s making our teachers sick and miserable all the time—it’s the pathogenic homework agent wreaking havoc in their body that’s harming their well-being,” stated Pennsburgh.
But now that the problem has been revealed, what can we do about it? There have been rumors that there exists a rare handful of bizarre students who actually enjoy doing homework and rarely get sick during the workload-heavy school year.
Researchers are currently investigating for leads, but none have been found so far. But until a solution can be found, a state of emergency has been issued and the scientific community has released a list of precautions for everyone to follow.
“Homework is not to be assigned unless absolutely necessary. We must limit this contagion as best as we can. Furthermore, all teachers are obligated to head to the nearest healthcare facility to be examined,” said Lander in a public announcement. “Most importantly, always make sure you wash your hands after doing homework. They’re highly contagious and we recommend at least one minute of hand-washing under hot water.”
With all these changes taking place, one can hope that, in the future, schools will find a much healthier and more sanitary way to promote learning and growth in their students.