Maintain the 'Safety net' policy for KCL 2020/21

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As described on this page, a ‘safety net’ policy is a means to ensure that no student will be disadvantaged academically by the impact of the current situation.

We, current students of King's College London, demand that the University upholds this policy during this academic year (2020-21), especially since the situation has only gotten worse since the introduction of the 'safety net' policy in March 2020. The emerging new strain is much more (50-70%) transmissible and students are likely to be personally affected by it. 

Since King's College London claimed that the aim of the policy is 'to make sure that (our) overall performance for the year is not negatively affected by circumstances associated with the COVID-19 period', we think it is fair to apply the 'safety net' policy this year, since the COVID-19 period is not over.

Please find below some points that we would like to raise as current King's College London students (Note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a brief summary of some of the issues experienced by the students):

  1. Most students have not and will not have any face-to-face teaching this year, clearly reducing education quality. This was not the case in March when the policy was introduced - students only had a few weeks of online classes. This suggests that the situation this year is, in fact, worse than in March 2020 and that the 'safety net' policy is essential.
  2. Continued lockdown in London means that whilst students continue to struggle with an increasing amount of pressure (the natural increase of workload and difficulty moving into the next University stage), they also face many mental health issues linked to prime minister's stay-at-home order. This implies that although we may have been expected to get used to the 'new reality', it is, in fact, affecting us and our wellbeing more with every single day. This emphasises the need for a 'safety net' policy,
  3. Many students struggled to uphold their standard of academic excellence because of ongoing issues of studying at home (e.g. widespread issues, such as the lack of a dedicated workspace, unstable wifi connection and noisy environments throughout the house). In March 2020, these issues were temporary; however, they are now permanent, and a 'safety net' policy is required to prevent our performance from being negatively affected by circumstances associated with COVID-19.
  4. Students who reside outside of London, especially international students, have struggled immensely during this period. The constant delay in communication from King's College London results in extreme uncertainty and anxiety across students. A vast number of issues, such as booking the trip to London, booking accommodation, and constantly keeping up with governmental guidelines from both home countries and the United Kingdom, have been experienced by the students. This, alongside unfamiliar online classes and overall new teaching style, has made the first term incredibly challenging. A 'safety net' policy must remain in place for this academic year (2020-21). 

From the points mentioned above, it is clear that with the continued disruptions caused to our studies by COVID-19, our overall performance is negatively affected by the circumstances associated with the COVID-19 period. Therefore, we collectively demand the 'safety net' policy to remain in place for this academic year (2020-21). 

We believe that the previously released (March 2020) decision and conditions regarding the 'safety net' policy (see below) should be modified and applied to this academic year (2020-21):

  • King's College London staff will use the previous year's performance (i.e. last year's safety net grade or above) to give a reasonable indication of prior performance.
  • This ‘safety net’ average will then be compared with our average at the end of this academic year (2020-21), to ensure that King's College London staff are picking up any instances in which our outcome for the year may have been negatively affected by poorer-than-average performance in the COVID-19 period.
  • For those modules completed after 15 March 2020 (including those in the 2020-21 academic year), marks are to be adjusted to ensure that the average for the year is at least at the level of the ‘safety net’ average. Marks for any failed modules will not be so adjusted, and resit marks will continue to be capped.
  • We must take all assessments set for us to apply the ‘safety net’ provisions specified above.

Since the situation has worsened, we ask that you do not disadvantage us and maintain the 'safety net' policy for this academic year (2020-21).