Campus update 3/27/20

Dear Virginia Western community,

As we wrap up the first fully online/remote week of classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to update you on several important issues related to this change. First, I want to thank all of our outstanding faculty, staff and students for their flexibility and positivity as we make the best-informed decisions we can. These variations to our normal operations are going to have a positive impact upon our community’s health and will likely save lives. Please continue to support one another, help those in need and practice safe distancing routines.

Withdrawal Period: Given the unknown negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, VCCS Chancellor DuBois has extended the deadline to withdraw without a grade penalty for the spring semester. For Virginia Western, that date is May 8, 2020. Effective immediately, a student who withdraws or is withdrawn after the add/drop period but before the last day of classes shall be assigned a grade of “W.” We will send information on the process for a student to withdraw after the currently published deadline in the near future.

Grading Policy: To ensure that students’ academic progress is not adversely impacted at this time, Chancellor DuBois is instituting a Pass/Fail/Withdraw/Incomplete grading scale

for spring semester. Students will have the option to request that their earned letter grades be recorded in lieu of the pass/withdraw/incomplete option. This is compliant with federal and state financial aid guidelines. Public four-year institutions in Virginia have agreed to accept a Pass+ in transfer.

Under this policy, courses that have ended, such as 1st 8 week and 1st/2nd 4-week courses will follow the existing grading scale.

Courses that have not reached the course end date as of April 6, 2020 will use the following grading scale:

P+ Pass with a grade of “C” or higher Applies to college transfer and technical education. A grade of P+ will not impact a student’s GPA.  
P- Pass with a grade of “D” Applies to college transfer and technical education. A grade of P- will not impact a student’s GPA.  
W Withdraw A student may withdraw or be withdrawn up until the last day of classes without penalty. See COVID-19 Guidance Message 11.  
I Incomplete The faculty member and student may agree to a plan to complete remaining course requirements in the following semester. See VCCS Policy 5.6.0.

Virginia Western will develop a process to allow a student to request his/her earned letter grade/s (A, B, C, D, F). Requests must be submitted by not later than the last day of classes on May 8, 2020. A student may submit only one grade request per course, and the request is not revocable. Specifics on this process will be announced in the near future.

Campus Timeline: We have received multiple questions following the announcement that we would remain in online/remote capacity until further notice and not reopen campus on April 6, 2020, as originally planned. Our goal from the beginning of this health crisis has been to return this semester to a normal delivery of courses on campus. That said, we must acknowledge it is increasingly unlikely to happen. With Governor Northam’s restrictions on gatherings in place for at least 30 days (through April 24), faculty and students should plan for those weeks to remain in online/remote instruction with the likelihood we will have to remain online/remote for the rest of the semester.

I know this is challenging for everyone, as the environment can shift during the course of a day. I appreciate everything that you are doing to make this first week successful, and promise that we are sifting through information and options as quickly as possible. We remain mindful of the courses and students that are most impacted by a decision to remain fully online/remote. We will provide additional guidance as soon as it becomes available.

Thank you again for your patience and support.


Dr. Robert H. Sandel


Virginia Western Community College

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