The students of the University of Central Arkansas want courses to be pass/fail.

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Students at the University of Central Arkansas signed up to take classes that were to be taught in-person and in an environment that most accurately demonstrates their efforts as students. COVID-19 has completely changed the course of the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, and I believe that keeping the standard grading scale does not accurately represent a student's academic ability given the current circumstances. In order to better support the students of the University of Central Arkansas through these trying times in both the United States and the world, the grading scale for the Spring 2020 semester should be transitioned to pass/fail. 

It is no secret that UCA's decision to move to online courses was in the best interest of public health, however students have been suffering greatly. Without the face-to-face help from professors and other students, learning virtually has proven to be incredibly difficult. Personally, I am a hands-on learner. Doing classwork in isolation and on a computer screen makes learning especially strenuous, therefore doing work online simply cannot accurately represent my ability to learn and retain information for my classes. I can't ask my professors questions as they arise, and I can't learn collaboratively or study with my peers. Myself, along with others, did not sign up for online classes with reason. This unforeseen transition to online classes should not have the capacity to negatively affect the GPAs of UCA students. 

What students need now is SUPPORT. Things are scary. Assuming that students can maintain the same level of focus and discipline when it comes to academics is misguided. At this time, the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is still increasing, and people's friends and family members are dying. Not to mention the fact that resources that were provided on-campus are no longer available (wifi, the library, computers, and places to study). The world is changing in a way that no one could have predicted. So why are students being graded as if nothing has changed?

I am proud to be a student at the University of Central Arkansas. However, no one could have predicted the sudden and drastic changes to the lives of each and every student. That being said, it is only fair to change classes to pass/fail in order to equally measure the efforts of students this semester. We will get through this together. Go Bears!