Pass/fail option a policy that works for everyone involved

Classes around the world are now fully transitioned to online-learning over COVID-19 concerns in order to keep staff, students and the community safe and healthy. Because of this, the University has decided to implement an optimal pass/fail policy for each individual class. 

Students, staff or their family may have contracted COVID-19 or are at an increased risk for the virus, and because of this, online classes create a substantial amount of unnecessary stress for this time. The last thing someone with COVID-19 wants to do is schoolwork. Clearly their grade point average will suffer as a result. 

Now this won’t be an issue for students. 

Even if the students or staff don’t have COVID-19, they still may have to work more hours now if they have an essential job- such as working at a hospital, or caring for their little brothers or siblings since they also have online schooling. 

 Let’s not forget that no one wanted online classes to begin with. Some students argue that an online class format is confusing for everyone, and that no actual learning is taking place. The whole point of a college education is to expand your knowledge, but if that’s not happening- then why are we having these courses?

Some students have unreliable access to Wi-Fi or technology especially since public places are closed- including libraries and coffee shops. Because of the recent decision, the university is no longer risking low income students falling in the cracks due to ineffective online instruction. 

Low income students aren’t the only ones who were at risk of falling behind. Students with disabilities would have been left to fend for themselves if online learning wasn’t accessible to them. Perhaps someone is deaf or hard of hearing, yet the professor requires daily zoom lectures. Individuals with diverse abilities are already being excluded and singled out for things they can’t control, so this decision helps them as well.

Let’s talk about those zoom lectures; they just aren’t adequate! Video calling your professor is not the same as meeting in person, especially for a highly specialized class or question. You are at the mercy of your professors’ schedules to even contact them in the right place. And with some people in different time zones, it makes this even trickier and more frustrating.

Having a pass/fail optimal policy just easier on the students. Staff and professors are no longer as stressed and struggling either. Online instruction is just as hard of a transition for them as it is for us. It’s especially hard for older professors who aren’t very tech-savvy or who have children they need to care for at home. 

Let’s face it; no one is concerned about school at the moment. We just want to survive and stay healthy, and USI realizes that. 

Moving this semester’s courses to optional pass/fail makes it easier on staff and students. A huge burden is now lifted from everyone’s shoulders, and they can focus on what truly matters at the moment.

It gives everyone more time to be with their family and relax, which is exactly what everyone needs at this time. We need to surround ourselves with people we care about in order to get through COVID-19. 

Let’s not forget that other colleges are letting undergraduates do optional pass/fail- so continuing with the trend is only right.

Since the senior administration at USI moved this semester to optimal pass/fail, no one is going to get left behind. Advocating for all students is a quality of the University that I, as so many others, fell in love with.

USI is an industry leader by making the success and health of students, staff and community members their main priority by changing this semester’s courses to pass/fail.