Friday, 16 April 2021

California Community Colleges chancellor makes changes to student grading policies during COVID-19 emergency

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office today instituted changes to various grading regulations throughout the 115-college system in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the latest in a series of measures to help students adjust to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“Our colleges are committed to helping our 2.1 million students get through this crisis, and these measures are designed to ensure students are not” punished for events that are out of their control,” said Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who noted that college districts throughout the state are converting face-to-face courses to online instruction.

The changes that are being made through executive order include:

– Allowing students to retake any course attempted during the pandemic; colleges must disregard the previous grade when computing a GPA once the course has been completed.

– Waiving the deadline – which had already passed – for selecting a pass or no pass option instead of a letter grade. Students should, however, be aware that the University of California and California State University systems require courses for a major to be completed with a letter grade.

– “No pass” grades will not be considered in probation and dismissal procedures. Students intending to complete a course under the current situation, rather than withdraw, will not be negatively affected should they ultimately be unable to successfully complete the course.

In addition, local governing boards are authorized to extend their spring terms through June 30 as needed. A copy of the executive order is available on the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office COVID-19 webpage.

The Chancellor’s Office has also taken the following actions to help students and aid in the statewide response to COVID-19:

– Issued a separate executive order earlier this week that suspends state and local regulations to ensure students are not penalized academically and will more easily be able to receive refunds for enrollment fees. Students who withdraw because of the current crisis will receive an excused withdrawal on their transcripts, which will not count against academic progress requirements. The order temporarily waives requirements for districts to obtain approval from the state Chancellor’s Office to refund enrollment fees to these students.

– Purchased a virtual lab platform that supports a range of science-related disciplines. This is the first purchase to support system-wide transition to virtual labs. All colleges will have access to the platform services, including expanded support and technical assistance for faculty.

– Clarified for colleges how attendance reporting for purposes of funding will be calculated once in-person courses have been converted to online.

– Created a COVID-19 section of its website that includes answers to frequently asked questions for students in English and Spanish. The Chancellor’s Office is also providing weekly webinars for college leaders on COVID-19 response.

– Requested that the Board of Registered Nursing provide emergency exemptions reducing requirements of clinical hours for nursing students in direct patient care and allowing more simulated hours. This is needed because many health care facilities are excluding nursing students from clinical rotations because of safety concerns. More than 2,100 students in health and nursing have been affected at a time when professionals in these fields will be essential.

– Inventoried college residential hall facilities that could be converted if needed as part of the statewide COVID-19 medical surge response as well as tallied stocks of ventilators, masks and other Personal Protection Equipment in allied health programs.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year.

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