October 20 Update on the COVID-19 Coronavirus

20 Oct 2020

Dear Vermont Tech students,

I hope the new modalities and unusual circumstances have been better and smoother than expected for all involved, and that the hybrid semester has somehow helped provide the hands-on instruction Vermont Tech is known for.

However, the continued unusual circumstances we are still experiencing require unique approaches to grading and course completion. As I stated last semester, a course’s grade means many things: the rigor of the discipline, the work put into it by the student, the performance achieved by the student in the class, etc. But, while all of these are valid parameters, during this second COVID semester, some of them may be skewed due to the uniqueness of the circumstances.

So, after extensive conversations within Vermont Tech in particular and the VSC in general, and after weighing the potential consequences of different options, we have decided that this semester the grading processes will continue offering one more layer of opportunity. Given that the effects of the “new normal” are still fluid, we want to give students more time to analyze their needs and make an informed decision regarding grades, and the impact they will have on their future.

So, again, in the spirit of academic flexibility, and to ensure our students feel supported by the institution, the following accommodations have been established for the Fall 2020 semester:

  • At the end of the semester each faculty member will record letter grades for the courses in the usual manner. At that point, students will have the choice to take a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) option instead, as was the case in the Spring 2020 semester. The deadline for this decision will be communicated to you in a follow up email closer to the end of the semester.
  • Courses in which students earned a Pass (P) will count towards their degree requirements, with the exception of courses in which a specific grade is required for progression or licensure requirements. Students will exercise the P/NP option on a course by course basis, potentially carrying letter grades in some courses while recording P/NP in others.
  • Before exercising the P/NP option, students should discuss with their advisors the consequences this decision will have on their program’s expectations, progression standards, and accreditation and licensing requirements.
  • The decision to take a P/NP grade will be irreversible.
  • If, as part of a direct agreement between the student and the faculty member in charge of the course, a student is granted an incomplete, the student will have a full academic year to submit the work necessary to convert that incomplete into a final grade, at which point, the student will have the option of requesting the P/NP option.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisors and the Financial Aid office to fully understand the consequences of their decisions for their particular academic major, graduate school candidacy, financial aid standing, and career path. Students should begin to explore the implications of these choice immediately so that they are prepared to make informed decisions by the end of the semester.

I hope this added flexibility will release some of the pressure brought upon you by these most unusual circumstances.

All of us at Vermont Tech want to reassure you that we will continue to be here for you, and we encourage you to continue working hard and giving this semester your best effort in order to bring it to a successful conclusion.

Be well and stay healthy. Take good care of yourselves,

Dr. Ana Gaillat
Dean of Academic Affairs