Lassonde Memo: Planning for Completion of the Academic Term

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Note originally sent on Wednesday, March 18 on behalf of the Chair of Senate

Senate Executive provides the following clarification regarding completion of courses directly impacted by the cancellation of in-person exams during the formal exam period of April 7-25.

The length of term has not been reduced or extended, and the expectation is that, wherever possible, all course directors will make necessary adjustments to complete the delivery of their FW 2019-2020 and Winter 20200 course(s) within the current term, and create options for students to complete requirements without a need for in-person evaluation. The University will provide all resources at its disposal to facilitate these completions. Faculties and the Teaching Commons are gathering information and resources to help course directors with these tasks. Department Chairs and Associate Deans are key contacts for individual course directors.
 
It is essential that instructors do not rely on deferred exams as an option to complete their courses for several reasons:
 

  • At this time, it is unknown when it will be possible to hold in-person exams. Delays of several months should be anticipated, which would make it extremely difficult for many students to be able to return to campus at that time. Further, evaluating students on material covered several weeks or months earlier is not consistent with the principle of fairness to students which governs academic accommodation in times of disruption at the University.
  • Many students expect to be able to complete their degrees this term and apply for graduate or professional school programs, or commence employment; all efforts should be made to facilitate that as best as can be done in the extenuating circumstances at the University.
  • Instructor and TA availability will be reduced after June 30 in many cases, creating additional challenges for course completion.

 
While there might be circumstances where an in-person deferred exam is required (e.g., courses tied to professional certification), these should be rare. Professional bodies are beginning to announce generous relief from their own requirements for in-person exams or labs due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic. Course directors who believe an in-person exam or some other form of in-person evaluation is the only viable option for their course(s) should notify their Dean’s office immediately. 
 
Previous Senate Exec statements on the Completion of the Academic Term are posted at
https://secretariat.info.yorku.ca/covid-19-information-and-decisions-pertaining-to-academic-activities/
 
The University’s COVID-19 site is https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/

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