Student Union leaders have raised their concerns about the consistency of extensions being granted to students during the pandemic.
The issue was raised at the Student Union’s most recent General Meeting where Vice President Education, Lexi Ehressman, highlighted that the number of extensions had increased this semester, and that while most students were having their extension requests granted, some were not.
Ehressman spoke about the additional pressures faced by students as a result of the pandemic and remote learning, and how university staff have been flexible and understanding throughout Covid-19, but that without any “Covid specific” guidance, students would still face consistency issues.
“With all the challenges facing students during the pandemic, the University has relied on extensions to help mitigate some of the impacts of Covid. We have seen a lot of flexibility and empathy from some staff members this semester in regards to this and it is greatly appreciated, however, this is not always consistent.
“Without any Covid specific policy and guidelines regarding extensions and extenuating circumstances being communicated to both students and staff, there are and will continue to be issues in the application of these mitigation measures. I will be working before the start of spring semester to establish this for everyone’s sake.”
The university worked with students and staff to review its guidance on extensions and extenuating circumstances at the start of this semester, and the updated guides were posted to the university’s website.
A university spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created unique challenges, and we have worked with the Students’ Union throughout this year to support students through the virus’ impact. This includes taking a flexible approach in respect to assessments and exams for students experiencing personal difficulties.
“We have recently developed and published a refreshed set of guidance around extenuating circumstances and the options available to students when they experience personal difficulties, whether these are Covid-19 related or otherwise. The new guidance was developed in partnership with students, Chief Examiners, and Associate Deans for Learning and Teaching.
“The guidance has been introduced so that students and staff can clearly understand the options available. It has been communicated to staff in all Faculties and is available to view on the University’s website.”
Following her call for more guidance, Ehressman has said that she plans to work with the university next semester on any areas of the guidance that may need updated.