Make MCPS Change to an opt-out Pass/Incomplete for the FULL Second Semester of SY2019-20

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On March 13, the day after Dr. Salmon declared a closure for all Maryland public schools and the last day before we were to leave schools, MCPS administered a survey to every student in the county to assess availability of technology and WiFi at home to do work, yet hundreds of students have still not logged in to our online learning infrastructure.

In addition, with the shutdown of libraries, restaurants, and other third places, coupled with mass-layoffs and increased pressures on secondary-school-aged kids to help provide for their family, students are simply not as productive now as they would be under normal circumstances. Sometimes home life does not provide adequate space for classwork. Sometimes familial circumstances can be disruptive to learning.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has faced our school system and our students with unprecedented challenges. It would be absurd and unfair to pretend they have not had an impact on the productivity of our students. These abnormal circumstances call for flexible grading and policies.

On April 19, MCPS announced they will switch to a pass/incomplete system for marking period 4. We must extend this grading policy to the whole semester, so students who were adversely affected by the shut down during quarter 3 do not have to keep their quarter grade.

Colleges around the state have switched to an optional pass/fail system for the second semester. It's time for MCPS to follow suit. An optional pass/fail system would allow students who want to keep their grades to be able to, while students who have been unable to maintain their standard of productivity in the latter half of quarter 3 and all of quarter 4 to opt for a "P" instead of a letter grade for the semester.

Students who fall victim to circumstance outside their control should not be forced to maintain a permanent stain on their record.