SRJC Board expands ‘pass or no-pass’ grading throughout pandemic

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Luke Morrow

Santa Rosa Junior College’s Board of Trustees held its first ever virtual board meeting where it voted to allow “pass or no pass” grading for up to 12 credits in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Luke Morrow and Marilyn Santos

In its first ever virtual board meeting, the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to allow students to switch from letter grades to “pass or no pass” at any time during the semester and until the Covid-19 emergency is resolved. 

SRJC students can take up to 12 units as “pass or no pass.” 

“The student can choose retroactively to switch it from a grade to pass-no pass or vice versa as they have need down the road, and it’s embedded in the system, so they don’t require to fill out any forms or go to a faculty member,” said Academic Senate President Eric Thompson. 

In addition to the historic change in the grading procedure, the Board of Trustees also voted to put on hold multiple building projects at both the Petaluma and Santa Rosa campuses, according to Serafin Fernandez, interim senior director of capital projects. 

“We suspended all construction at the District,” Fernandez said, “except three that we identified as essential projects to move forward: Bussman Hall Center upgrade, Shone Farm and Petaluma roofing projects.”

As for the remainder of the semester, it is possible the Board of Trustees will  extend the Spring semester until June 30, according to Vice President of Academic Affairs Jane Saldaña-Talley. 

Remote learning has presented extra challenges for students in the public safety and public health programs, theatre arts and industrial tech, including auto and welding, because they heavily rely on hands-on activities. 

“Some programs believe if we have a little bit longer in the spring semester, we can get some students across the finish line,” Saldaña-Talley said. 

President Frank Chong told the Board he had two goals in mind when the pandemic hit: to keep everyone safe and to transition to remote learning so students could complete their coursework. 

“No college has endured what we have endured in the last four to five years: fires, smoke, floods, power outages and now COVID-19,” Chong said. ”We have a very resilient community.”