Tech Together student body presidential candidate Hunter Heck started a petition for Tech students to sign offering a pass/fail option for classes due to COVID-19.
The junior philosophy and Spanish major from Panhandle, began the petition on March 18 with the hope of getting 1,000 signatures; the petition has over 6,000 signatures and a new goal of reaching 7,500 signatures.
The petition named "Offering Pass/Fail Option for Texas Tech Classes Due to COVID-19" can be reached at the Change.org website.
“Allowing students the option of switching credits to a pass/fail this semester can help them manage their physical, mental and emotional health,” Heck said. “The transition to online classes may be difficult for many reasons.”
Students have expressed concern about having classes transfer to an online platform, Heck said. Many courses are unfit for online space and require face-to-face interaction, and some students may not have the proper equipment or environment for an online school experience.
“Some students do not have access to the internet at home, and some may have an unfit environment to focus on their schoolwork.” Heck said. “Having pass/fail as an option can relieve the stress of these students.”
This situation is unprecedented, Heck said. COVID-19 has disrupted the learning process, and students are adapting to the adjustments.
“Oklahoma University has implemented a pass/fail policy,” Heck said.
Heck said she reached out on behalf of Tech Together to Tech administration and said they are listening to and considering concerns.
“I want students to know that higher education administration is working really hard regarding this situation,” Heck said. “They are all doing their very best to respond to all of our needs.”
Despite the outcome, Tech administration is working tirelessly to evaluate the situation properly, Heck said. They are creating a solution that accommodates student needs.
“We can rest assured that they care about us and are evaluating the situation well,” Heck said.
Klay Davis, junior Tech Together internal vice-presidential candidate and animal science major from Florence, said members of Tech Together’s mission is to create a more cohesive environment in which all students can thrive.
“We just want to show we are extremely adaptable to situations such as these,” Davis said. “We are truly here for each and every student at Tech.”
With less pressure on grades, students will be able to better adapt to the virtual environment, Davis said. The less stressed students are, the better the transition will be.
“Having not to worry about the A, B, C or D grading system can relieve the stress of many,” Davis said. “I am in some classes that are going to have a tough transition to the online, virtual classroom.”
Members of Tech Together want to make it clear to students that the petition is offering an option for students to opt into, Davis said. Pass/fail will be an option; students wanting to keep the current grading system may do so.
Faisal Al-Hmoud, sophomore Tech Together external vice-presidential candidate, and an economics and finance major from Lubbock, said the virus impacted all students.
"In regard to coronavirus, no matter who an individual is, they are dealing with the coronavirus the same way anybody else is," he said.
The experience of an epidemic has not occurred like this in a long time, Al-Hmound said. It has affected many systems, including the education system.
"We have started this semester with a plan in place, and less than halfway through, we have this global epidemic on our hands," Al-Hmound said.
Students relied on the system planned at the beginning of this semester, Al-Hmuond said. Now the entire paradigm has shifted.
"With the pass/fail system, students can have peace of mind," Al-Hmuond said. "This entire epidemic can affect students' futures."
Students have been working hard and have invested so much money in their education, Al-Hmound said. The pass/fail policy will serve as a backup to ensure their hard work and future plans.
"Students should stay up to date on their studies and the changes being made," Al-Hmuond said. "Stay safe, and hopefully we'll be back to normal in the fall."