By Natalie Notaro
As our fall semester is drawing to an end, students from the College are struggling to maintain both their grades and their mental health. Remote learning is not for everybody. If students initially wanted to complete courses online, they wouldn’t have attended the College at all.
According to the College’s website, the school will not be offering a pass/fail option as they did for the spring 2020 semester. The revocation of the policy discredits how hard students from the College are working to complete their school work in the midst of a pandemic and remote semester.
Stated in the ‘FAQs for Students’ page on the College’s official website, the elimination of the pass/fail option was addressed. “Although (pass/fail) was an option implemented due to the unexpected mid-semester pivot during the spring 2020 semester, it will not be an option outside of the current pass/fail policy, which limits the number and types of courses that may be completed on a credit/no credit basis.”
Last semester, the College allowed students to pass/fail in any of their classes. This option would then have their grade as a “P” or a “F” instead of a number grade, and would not contribute to the student’s GPA.
The College is saying that the pass/fail option was only implemented last semester because of the unexpected shift to virtual learning. However, we are still in a state of transition this semester. Virtual learning may seem to have benefits, like completing class from the comfort of your bed or getting to sleep in for 10 more minutes, but what is Zoom University doing to our mental health?
Students are finding it difficult to find the motivation to attend online class. We have been doing online school for almost a year, living the same day on repeat since March. This gets exhausting, and students are losing steam. The pass/fail option would simply be cutting students some slack.
We can’t deny that 2020 has been a disaster of a year. Between the pandemic, the election, the racial unrest and everything in between, students are overwhelmed. A pass/fail option does not mean that students can begin to completely slack on their work. It means relieving students’ stress levels while they are trying to adjust to the new normal of life, not only the new normal in the classroom.
Not only are students from the College being deprived of social, peer interaction, but Zoom also has physical consequences for the body. According to the Psychiatric Times, “‘Zoom Fatigue’ describes the tiredness, worry or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication. Like other experiences associated with the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom Fatigue is widely prevalent, intense and completely new.”
Allowing students to even have the pass/fail option will take a weight off of their shoulders. If the College cares about their students’ mental health just as much as their physical health, as they claim they do, they would change their policy for this semester. Just because we are continuing to be virtual as last semester, that does not make virtual learning any easier.