A new COVID-19 grading policy for Spring 2020 was presented at the most recent Academic Senate meeting on May 4.

The policy proposed consideration of the following: that all withdrawals (W) be converted to excused withdrawal (EW), all F grades be automatically converted to EW and students earning a D grade may petition for an EW if needed.

According to Dean of Instructional Services, Stephanie Fleming, who presented the policy, this would allow student petitions for D grades to be automatically converted to EW. These petitions would have to be done individually by students. The petition for D grades to be converted to EW would be due two weeks after final grades are submitted for the term.

This policy would also extend the pass/no pass grade option until two weeks after final grades are submitted. A final grade date has not yet been established.

The proposal also addresses classes that can’t complete course content before the end of the semester. Teachers will assign incomplete grades along with the letter grade the student earned thus far to all of their students which they then have a year to complete.

One example would be I/C. If students do not complete the course content within that year, their grade will be changed to the one assigned after their initial incomplete. For this, incomplete contracts specifically dealing with the circumstances of COVID-19 would need to be made and presented at a further date.

“The guiding principles that the Chancellor’s office has given us as we address policies and procedures including the grading policy, and they’re really encouraging us to be flexible and creative, to have students stay enrolled in the sources as much as we can, to mitigate any adverse impacts on students… and ensure the continuity of educational services,” Fleming said in the Zoom meeting.

The question of the impact of COVID-19 on students’ grades arose almost immediately across the state when we transitioned to remote/online instruction,” Superintendent/President Erika Endrijonas said in an email with the Courier. “It was only once the Chancellor’s Office provided regulatory relief from current Title 5 regulations and settled on the EW category/symbol that colleges like PCC were able to really discuss this option.”

EW as opposed to a W can make the difference for someone’s educational career seeing as most four year colleges have a limit of how many W’s a student can have on their transcript.

“Depending on the university, they might not like to see so many W’s,” said Yuki Rowland, an adjunct educational counseling advisor. “If there’s one or two, usually that is alright for most universities but if they see a lot of W’s on the transcript to the point where it is a trend, it is a concern. EW wouldn’t have any impact like that.

With EW’s, you can also make up the class, where regular W’s are unable to be made up unless you make a petition. A negative to EW’s is that if students have a set timeframe they need to get classes done, that could be a cause for delaying transfers.

Resources are virtually available for further questions at the Transfer Center and Counseling Center.

This story has been edited to correct information of name spelling.

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