Message from the Dean: COVID-19 update for A&S undergraduate students

March 17, 2020 by A&S News

Dear A&S undergraduate students,

As Canada continues to deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University remains committed to playing our part in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our community. Equally important is our commitment to ensuring that our students can complete their term and providing a place to live for those students in residence who are unable to return home.

A&S undergraduate students no longer need to remain on campus, as in-person classes and in-person exams have all been cancelled. For courses that had scheduled in-person exams, each instructor has been asked to review their marking scheme and determine whether modifications to that scheme are required. 

A&S fully supports the academic freedom of instructors in making the decisions that they believe are best for their courses, because they are the best experts on their courses’ content and delivery.

In many cases, instructors are proposing modifications to the marking scheme. They will ask students to hold an online vote in accordance with University and Divisional marking practices and policies (see B:1:1.3).  

Marking scheme modifications may include re-weighting term work completed and term work currently assigned, and/or replacing the final exam with another form of assessment. In some cases, instructors may choose to conduct a test or exam online. Instructors are aware of the potential and logistical challenges with online and time-limited assessments, and will design these online assessments appropriately. 

Instructors are also aware of the need to provide accommodations for students registered with Accessibility Services. Students registered with Accessibility Services should continue to contact Accessibility Services to receive accommodations and supports (Accommodated Testing Services). 

Your instructors understand this situation is stressful for you. When proposing modifications to marking schemes, instructors are carefully considering potential impacts on you, their students. Instructors know that you have multiple courses being modified at the end of term, are often transitioning to online learning and assessment for the first time, and may no longer have regular access to in-person academic supports and advising. If you have questions about your course, please contact your instructor directly.

Please refer to our COVID19 – Student FAQs, which are updated throughout the day.

With care and concern for your well-being and in support of your academic studies,

Melanie A. Woodin
Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science
Professor, Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto