The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically affected education of all levels up and down the country and across the entire world, with schools and universities being shut for months on end, resulting in classes being conducted at a lower quality online.

However, as the pandemic starts to come to an end, many universities are beginning to take into account the true extent of the damage caused by the pandemic to the education of their students.

One such university is the University of Pittsburgh, which is introducing a new Covid policy that will allow students to pass even if they failed to meet the required deadlines.

The changes

Under the previous system at the university, students who failed to submit their assignments on time, under special circumstances, would receive a ‘G’ grade.


After a period of time, this ‘G’ would expire, and be replaced by an ‘NG’ (No Grade) if the student still hadn’t submitted their work.

Under the new system, which was announced via email to students and staff in March, the teachers of students who fail to submit their assignments on time can offer a ‘fallback’ grade instead.

This would mean that, after the initial ‘G’ grade had expired, the teacher’s ‘fallback’ grade would be assigned to the student instead of the ‘NG’ grade, regardless if the student had submitted their work or not.

The new system has been introduced solely due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and is expected to be a permanent feature going into the new academic year.


Reaction

Professor Ilia Murtazashvili of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs spoke to Pitt News to express his admiration of the new policy.

He stated that there needs to be a definable difference between what once was considered as ‘A’ grade work in ‘normal times’ and what can be considered as ‘A’ grade work now after the pandemic caused massive disruption to the education process.

Another Professor at the university, Chris Bonneau, was quick to express his support for the new policy, stating that if the student has done the majority of the work needed in class, then they shouldn’t be punished with an ‘NG’ grade if they failed to complete the final bits.


However, Tyler Vilijaste, the President of the University of Pittsburgh Student Government Board stated that the new policy is an ‘inadequate solution’ that won’t address the needs of the students.

Ilia rebuffed this suggestion, stating that the policy was needed to introduce constraints when it came to assigning grades.

He stated that, given the circumstances, many students are giving as much effort as possible to their work, yet are still falling short of the previous standards, so those standards need to be adjusted to reward students for their efforts.

Many students have been working from home over the last several months, a situation that has an impact on the quality of teaching and also on the work rates of students.


Being locked up inside for months will also have an impact on the mental health of many students, which will inevitably impact their grades.

This new policy will seek to ensure that doesn’t happen and will reward students for their hard work in such a torrid time.