OPINION: A pass/fail grading system should be implemented for online schooling

PHOTO: Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Davis Joint Unified School District is unsure when to send students back to school, if at all, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

By Paige Ochoa,

BlueDevilHUB.com Editor–

As the final bell rang out at Davis High on Friday, March 13, I did not realize that could be the last time I got to hear that sound. Now at home, quarantined for the past week due to the coronavirus, this seems like it really could be my reality. 

As a graduating senior, there are no words to describe the feeling of not being able to experience the last months of highschool with peers you have grown up alongside and teachers you have collaborated with and learned so much from.

However, as the epidemic races around the globe, highschools around the country are shutting down for the year and going online – something that DHS announced they would be taking part in as Chromebooks and free internet access are now available to students without in order for everyone to take part in online school.

In addition to online courses, schooling should not be a priority over staying both physically and emotionally healthy and therefore should be changed to a pass or fail system. Assignments given during the online period should also be considered optional, but highly recommended in order to pass the class when returning to school. 

On Friday, March 20 Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) superintendent John Bowes posted a lengthy description of the school district’s next steps to finishing out the 2019-2020 school year around the coronavirus. 

In short, DHS students should prepare to not return to school at the first scheduled return date, April 13, but rather use the “Distance Learning model of instruction” which allows teachers to communicate and educate through technology in order to allow the school year to end as smoothly as possible during such a crisis.  

With nine confirmed cases in Yolo County and the shelter-in-place order as of March 24, DJUSD has done their job in helping to flatten the curve and slow the transmission of the virus. Though health and safety of both students and staff is the number one priority, graduating and passing the 2019-2020 school year is also high on the list. 

In order to address both issues, a pass/fail system for online classes will allow teachers to spend their time on other things besides grading papers and correcting worksheets, in addition to students remaining motivated to pass and continue to follow the health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. 

Instead of cancelling school for the remainder of the school year and only going online, as some think necessary, DJUSD should take the circumstances week by week in order to ensure that while practicing good hygiene and social distancing, students are not stripped of the second semester of their school year all together. 

Implemented by the White House and backed-up by the CDC, the 15-day pause strongly encourages communities to almost shut down for at least 15 days in order to assess their preparedness and overall health within the epidemic. 

Though it should be noted that this pause could last longer than 15 days, the incubation period for the coronavirus is found to be anywhere from one to 14 days, usually closest to five days.

After the four week hiatus from school, or push it even to eight weeks for cautionary purposes and work being done online, this would be enough time for the virus to have shown symptoms within students and staff possibly affected. 

It is imperative though that students do not fall behind on studies over this time period which is why school should be transferred online through a pass/fail system until school can resume in mid-May. 

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