Opinion: FAMU should pass all students this semester

Image of Lee Hall at FAMU. Photo courtesy wfsu.org

With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and only four weeks left in the spring semester, many students are left panicking, wondering how they can finish the semester strong. Classes are being taught remotely, and it seems as if students are being given an even more significant workload.

Although students are nearing the finish line, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University should pass all students for the spring semester.

There are many reasons why FAMU should pass students, and one of them is because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many students who attend school have jobs to pay for tuition and other expenses or rent. Thanks to social-distancing, the closing of local businesses, and the fear of being in contact with COVID-19, it leaves students without jobs so that they are not able to pay for rent, or insurance and tuition.

Some counties in Florida have not suspended evictions, or even paused rent that is due, in light of the pandemic.

According to Census Bureau data, more than 30 percent of a person’s income has been spent on rent in Florida, and due to recent events without a healthy flow of income or money saved, students won’t have enough to survive until things get better.

Another reason to end the semester is that some students who were failing class even before COVID-19 are having a harder time grasping information from taking classes online. They also don’t the resources like laptops or internet.

For some, hands-on or even face-to-face contact with professors helps students grasp and understand the material better than taking classes online.

Even though FAMU has moved lectures to the Zoom app, internet malfunctions and other complications hurt students, especially if attendance is a significant portion of a class grade.

Knowing the potential of more students hurting toward the end of the school year, FAMU has given students new grading policy modifications.

The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) policy will allow students the option to choose between this policy and a letter grade for specific courses. The S/U policy may work as transfer credits, which don’t go toward students’ GPA. The S/U policy may benefit some students who have low satisfactory grades, but for some majors, a C is a failing grade, and students will need to retake the course.

Failing classes means retaking the course, and may push back graduation for students. Retaking courses also means more money spent that students may afford, especially during a time like this.

Some questions remain that no one seems to have the answer to, and that is, how long will this pandemic last? What if it continues into the next school year?

What would FAMU do then?