As of March 28, the petition to pass all DSU students for the spring 2020 semester has 2,278 signatures. Students who have signed this petition have comments saying how they feel it is unfair to switch them to online classes when they purposely took their classes in person. Photo by Nickelle Blanton.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making its way through southern Utah, Dixie State University students have expressed great concern regarding the recent transition to virtual schooling.
A petition has suggested that DSU give all students a passing grade for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Roughly 2,300 students have signed the petition as of March 28 in hopes of a passing grade for the rest of the semester.
Savannah Reyes, the creator of this petition, said: “With the coronavirus pandemic looking to get more serious, students should be able to concentrate on staying healthy and being with their families in this time of crisis and last but not least contribute to stop the spread of this virus. DSU should pass all students for the semester of spring 2020 due to the inconveniences.”
Del Beatty, assistant vice president of student engagement and dean of students, said the likelihood of this petition actually going through is extremely slim.
“Many students cannot accept a pass/fail grade because they are trying to get into graduate programs, medical school, law school, dental school or other professional programs,” Beatty said.
Beatty said in order for these students to get into such programs, they need to have a letter grade on their transcript, not just a pass or a fail. Also, in order to show what a student has accurately learned in a class, the rightfully deserved letter grade is needed.
“It behooves us to make certain that the letter grade indicated on a transcript is an accurate indicator of what was learned by that student in the course,” Beatty said.
While a completely online education might not be what is best suited for every student, this is the best solution for the current situation, Beatty said. If students stay in contact with their professors and try to have a positive outlook on the situation, students will be able to thrive.
Shalee Hafen, a junior elementary education major from Mesquite, Nevada, said she thinks the best option would be to allow students to decide if they want to continue on with the semester or take the grade they currently have.
Like other students, Hafen said she doesn’t enjoy receiving her education through online classes, but rather in-person lectures.
“I learn better when I’m sitting in the classroom and have face-to-face conversations with my professor and other students,” Hafen said.
Olga Pilkington, assistant professor of English, said students need to remember they are not alone in these difficult times; teachers and staff are still more than willing to help with any difficulties.
“Every DSU professor is more than willing to help, students just need to reach out using whatever method a professor prefers,” Pilkington said. “Try to identify some positives to the situation and, most importantly, don’t panic.”
Pilkington said she would not be opposed to passing students in her classes just as long as they were diligently showing effort in the work that was given leading up to the current situation.
“Treating the students fairly in this situation, I believe, will contribute to our retention rates and overall impression of the school,” Pilkington said. “That being said, a blanket passing grade for everyone will not fit with the treating all students fairly goal.”
For further information about the petition, visit Change.org.