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Academic adjustments in response to COVID-19

The advent of COVID-19 has led to momentous and complex shifts over the last week for our entire campus community. Students now find they must adapt to learning online or onto other remote platforms while dealing with concerns over social distancing and infection control. The university appreciates that this new environment has raised concerns for our students, with many wondering how they will complete their terms and how their marks will be assessed.

The university remains committed to ensuring students can succeed despite the challenges posed to our community by the current global pandemic. To that end, the university has made considered efforts to find fair, flexible, and equitable solutions that best serve the largest number of our students, and which allow for the recognition of academic grades required by some disciplines, while also considering the desire of others for a pass/fail approach. In so doing, staff consulted widely with our faculties and peer institutions.

The university has made available two new academic adjustment options for undergraduate students (only) to consider as they complete their Winter Term 2020 classes: Late drops, and the ability to request Pass/Fail grades. Students should seek advice and carefully consider the impacts of these options on government financial assistance and future academic requirements before choosing either or both of the options. 

The late-drop option is available effective March 26 through May 20, 2020. While the option to drop is available in advance of exams, students can expect to learn their final grades on May 11th, giving them the option to review their final grades before electing to drop courses. Dropped courses will not incur academic penalties or a ‘DR’ grade. Students are strongly encouraged to seek advice before exercising the late-drop option.

Students will be also able to request Pass/Fail grades for Winter Term 2020 and the winter half of Fall-Winter 2019-20 classes. Approval and administration of all Pass/Fail grading will rest with the appropriate Faculty/School, and just as with the drop option, students will be able to see their final grades before they request that a letter grade be changed to a Pass.

Instructors have also adjusted class syllabi, and the format of remaining tests and assignments may be modified. In doing so, every effort has been made to avoid negatively impacting students, including any students with a disability accommodated through QSAS, and to ensuring that the essential academic requirements of the course are maintained. The term will end on Friday, April 3 as originally planned.

Emails were sent directly to students on March 25, providing more detail specific to their individual programs. Student Service teams are ready to support students throughout this term and through the summer. 

Responding to the health crisis that COVID-19 represents is an unprecedented situation for all of us. Everyone continues to do their best, and Queen’s is committed to helping our students triumph through difficult times. Students who need support should consult Student Affairs for details on how to access the various available services remotely, as well as contacting their advisors in their Faculty/School offices.

Additional information concerning these academic adjustments is available on the Provost’s website.