The University of York confirmed its approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in emails to students.
In an email from the Pro Vice Chancellor John Robinson, endsored by Samara Jones and Giang Nguyen, the University of York have released their plan to “adapt our usual ways of working to recognise how extraordinary the times are and to support all students”.
The primary result of this is to confirm the University’s adoption of a ‘safety net’ system, akin to that of the University of Exeter. After the cancellation of first year exams, this will apply to students in second year and above. It will amount to “a peg in place”, that will not fall below the student’s year average prior to the 13 March . Students can also improve this if their summer term assessment mark exceeds and raises their average – “in short, we will take whichever overall score is the higher – your end of year score or your safety net score.”
For degrees which depend on Autumn and Spring terms for less than 60 credits, the missing credits will be assigned a value of the student’s previous year average – a worrying note for second year students who adhered to the cliché “first year doesn’t count”.
However, this will not apply to HYMS and MBBS students, and students will “still have to pass your [remaining] modules” to qualify. It will also not be eligible for degrees that “are externally accredited, or overseen by Professional Standards Bodies” – a worrying note for nursing students, many of whom have recently seen colleagues and lecturers enter the COVID-19 frontline and must now await further information from their department.
It will also not apply to postgraduate taught students, who will instead have to “demonstrate your ability despite the context of the pandemic, in ways that reflect the nature of your degree, as well as the flexibility that comes from the independence of your study.” This comes after judging that “there isn’t sufficient information to do [an equivalent safety net] for postgraduates”, due to the shorter span of postgraduate degrees.
However, they will still be “able to ask for extensions on coursework and ‘sits as if for the first time’” of exams at a later date’ without providing evidence of exceptional circumstances, and additional support will be provided by departments.