Regarding academic accommodations and emergency policies for Spring 2020

March 26, 2020

Dear Students,

We are so sorry about the uncertainty, upheaval, and very real losses that you have been dealt due to the COVID-19 emergency. We, the faculty, are feeling challenged to radically change our courses and, more importantly, missing all of you and the very real faculty-student connections and relationships that the Trinity College community prides itself upon. Many of you have been working toward something that will now not happen, and, for seniors, this loss is compounded by the uncertainty of when you will be able to return to your Trinity home to celebrate all of your accomplishments. Much is still unknown about the way the pandemic will play out in the days, weeks, and months to come. We understand the range of potentially negative academic, medical and psychological consequences that may arise this semester, and that, in essence, many of you are experiencing exactly the kind of unforeseen circumstances and challenges for which the Academic Affairs Committee and the Curriculum Committee entertain petitions. Faculty, with important contributions from students and administrators on these committees, have worked over the past weeks to find the fairest ways to increase your options given the challenges that individual students, faculty and our community may face; ensure that you are judged fairly and in a manner commensurate with the significant crisis we all face this semester; and that you are not impeded in your progress toward graduation. To this end, the faculty held an emergency meeting and voted to approve the following:

  1.     For the spring 2020 semester only, all students will have the option to switch some or all of their courses to P/LP/F. The window to complete this switch will be between May 10th and June 30th (or in the case of students studying away, 30 days after their final grades are posted). This option is available to all students, without prejudice, including those on academic probation. All students will continue their courses for grades until the end of the semester (except in the likely minority of cases in which faculty members have been approved by petition to have their courses switched to P/LP/F with the option to enter only one of those grades: see point 10 below). After their final grades are posted, students must consult with their advisers and discuss which of their grades, if any, it is in their best interest to convert.
  2.     For the spring 2020 semester only, a “P” will fulfill general education requirements (including language, writing proficiency, quantitative literacy, and distribution requirements). 
  3.     For many courses, a “P” this semester will also count toward major and minor requirements. Over the course of the next 2 weeks, each department and program will be publishing guidelines declaring if there are any courses which they will not accept if taken for P/LP/F this semester, and providing this information to the Curriculum Committee, who will circulate it to advisers, students, and the Center for Academic Advising. As departments make this information available to the CC, it will be posted here (by April 6th).
  4.     For the spring 2020 semester only, courses taken P/LP/F will not count toward a student’s total number of courses (4) that they are normally allowed to take P/LP/F during their Trinity career.
  5.     A notation will appear on the transcript of all students stating that the current semester was completed during an emergency. 
  6.     For the spring semester only, students may petition the Academic Affairs Committee for a “Late Drop” of a course until April 30th. Students will not automatically be placed on probation for falling below four credits this semester. As always, the impact on the student’s financial aid and international visa must be addressed in the petition to AAC if the student does intend to fall below 4 credits. Before dropping a course, discuss with your instructor whether taking an Incomplete and finishing the work later would be a better option for you. For seniors, if dropping a course will put you below 36 credits, you may still be able to graduate if all other requirements and at least 34.5 credits have been completed. A notation regarding the exception in overall credits due to extenuating circumstances will be placed on the final transcript.
  7. With instructor approval, students may petition the Curriculum Committee to reduce a course by half its credit (i.e. 1 to 0.5; 0.5 to 0.25) and to receive a final grade based on their grade at the midpoint of the semester.  Students must, in their petition, demonstrate approval from the course instructor and their academic adviser.  If, from this decision, the student will fall below 4 credits, the impact on the student’s financial aid and international visa must be addressed in the petition to the CC.
  8. In certain situations, faculty members may petition the Curriculum Committee to convert their entire courses to P/LP/F. They may also specify that they wish to assign P/LP/F directly, rather than a letter grade for conversion. If this is the case, students will be notified by the Registrar’s office. Please note that, per the language of the motion, in these cases students may not petition for a grade.

For those unfamiliar with the P/LP/F grade mode, note that the “P” and “LP” carry no grade points and are NOT computed into a student’s semester or cumulative grade point averages (GPA). Students will earn credit for either a “P” or “LP”, but an “LP” will not meet general education requirements and most major/minor requirements. If a letter grade is converted to P/LP/F, students earning the equivalent of a “C-” or better will be awarded a grade of “P” (pass). A grade of “D+” to “D-” (low pass) is recorded as an “LP” and an “F” (failing) is recorded normally and computed into a student’s GPA. Please consult the Registrar’s Office at [email protected] if you have further questions.

On the FAQ page, you will find answers to the questions we have been asked so far. We encourage you to reach out to us with any other questions you have. We (the undersigned) are here to answer them and will continue to update the FAQ page as they come in.  We also encourage you to be in contact with your adviser so they can help guide you in this process and help you to weigh your options.

We hope these options provide you some measure of relief during this stressful time. You are making these sacrifices to keep yourself and others safe, and our thoughts are with you!

Yours truly,

Molly Helt (Co-Chair of Academic Affairs), Rachel Moskowitz (Co-Chair of Academic Affairs), Mitch Polin (Chair of Curriculum Committee), and Mark Stater (Faculty Secretary)

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]