PEI

UPEI, Holland College being flexible with grading to help students through COVID-19

Holland College and UPEI say they are taking a compassionate approach to students academic needs as education moves out of the classroom and onto the internet to adjust to COVID-19.

'The transcripts from this year will not look like transcripts from other years'

Sandy MacDonald, Holland College's president, says the college's new grading policies are in an effort to make sure students don't feel penalized amid the pandemic. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Holland College and UPEI say they are taking a compassionate approach to students academic needs as education moves out of the classroom and onto the internet to adjust to COVID-19.

Holland College transcripts will no longer show a numerical grade but will only show whether the student passed or failed a course. Records will also no longer show if a student dropped a course. 

Sandy MacDonald, Holland College's president, says he doesn't want students penalized as a result of the changes and stress that's surfaced because of COVID-19. 

"Let's say they're taking an exam online, and they feel they're not really comfortable with this approach, we'll give them another assessment approach," MacDonald said. "We may give them a credit earned, versus a mark.

"The transcripts from this year will not look like transcripts from other years." 

University of Prince Edward Island will be flexible in its approach to issuing grades during the pandemic. (Brian McInnis)

UPEI says it will be dealing with grades on a case-by-case basis. 

Kathy Gottschall-Pass, the university's interim vice-president of academic research, said some students are concerned a pass-fail system could hurt their chances when applying for further education like law or medical schools. 

If a student felt really disadvantaged then we would encourage them to reach out.— Kathy Gottschall-Pass, UPEI's interim vice-president

"We have a lot of students who are still requesting grades," she said.

So instead of creating a blanket pass-or-fail system, the university is asking students who are concerned about their grades to turn to their instructors to come up with a plan. 

"If a student felt really disadvantaged then we would encourage them to reach out and there are many things we can do to help support them if that's the case," Gottschall-Pass said.

In addition to grading concerns, MacDonald said Holland College is also working on how face-to-face job placements, practicums and clinical learning might be tackled while following provincial health measures.

MacDonald said the hope is to have a plan before the semester ends. But, if not, he said the college will continue to explore options.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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