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Some FSU students push for all pass/fail courses due to COVID-19 closures

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 18:37:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Students trying to figure out how to move forward with their degrees now have a petition circulating regarding changing the grading system at Florida State University.

That petition would make every class at FSU a pass or fail course, instead of a one that would give you a letter-grade. But the proposal is getting mixed reviews across campus.

One week ago, FSU students were busy preparing for spring break before finishing the semester as normal. Since learning that the semester will finish with online courses, students sy things have been hard.

"This is the last thing anyone ever expected," said Amanda Lewis, a FSU student. "It's been really hard. It's been one of the weirdest weekend ever since Thursday on."

Students will be finishing the semester online due to rising concerns over the spread of the coronavirus and many students have already left campus.

To stop the spread of the virus, the university is asking those who leave campus to wait before they return.

Dennis Dineen and his friends decided to take graduation pictures together, even though the semester isn’t ending the way they thought it would.

"It's kind of just a strange ending to my time here at Florida State," Dineen, another FSU student, said.

One day after Governor Ron DeSantis announced classes would move to virtual learning, more than 5,000 students signed a petition to get rid of letter-grades and become pass or fail.

"Pass fail would be great, to be honest," said Lewis.

If the change would help him finish out the semester in time, Dineen said he'd be on board. However, he has a hands-on senior project to left to turn in and because the campus is closed, that may delay his studies.

"I'm an engineering major," Dineen said. "One of our requirements is a senior project. A professor said we might have to take incompletes for it and then stay here longer over the summer. It's a wrench we weren't expecting."

There are some students who say ending the semester with pass-fail grades would hurt them academically.

Holmes is a graduate student. He says it may backfire for the students looking to continue their education.

"I don't really approve of it because some people need those grades to get into programs," said Damian Holmes. "Some schools don't take pass-fail."

What every student can agree on is they're still waiting on answers about the future of the school year.

ABC27 reached out to Florida State University for a comment and is waiting on a response from school leaders.