With the transition to online classes, the Los Rios Community College District has decided to partially-refund student fees, give students the option of excused withdrawals from classes and offer students a pass/no grading option for all their classes.
Associate Vice Chancellor Gabe Ross said he understands that this is a difficult time for students, and that led the district to make these decisions to add some flexibility.
“We’re doing everything we can to support our students, be as flexible as possible so that students don’t have to put their academics on hold because of COVID-19, so we’ll keep working around the clock to support our students,” said Ross.
LRCCD has refunded 56% of student fees, including for parking passes and the health service fee, and those refunds have been sent out through mail, said Ross.
In regards to excused withdrawals, the first scenario where a student could receive one is due to their class being canceled or that it did not transition to online.
“If a student’s class was canceled those students will receive an excused withdrawal automatically, they don’t have to do anything,” said Ross.
The other scenario where a student can receive an excused withdrawal is when a student is unable to participate in the class due to complications like not having a computer at home or struggling to engage in this new online environment, said Ross.
Although this can help a student, it can also bring some negatives as well, said Ross.
“The pros of an excused withdrawal is the refund element, which is nice for students and there wouldn’t be an impact on future financial aid,” said Ross. “A regular withdrawal would harm a student’s academic progress and would show up on future financial aid applications, while an excused withdrawal will not and will be as if the student never took the class.”
As far as the negatives of an excused withdrawal, students will not receive credit for that class.
“A student who is near to graduation or transferring and they need those units, then they would have to re-take that class or another class that meets that requirement,” said Ross.
Despite this, Ross said he believes it’s important to have this option for students now that class has moved to an online format.
“Certainly we want all our students to reach their academic goals, so not getting credit for classes they enrolled in is far from ideal, but we also know that there are extraordinary circumstances that we want to provide as much flexibility as possible,” said Ross.
As for the pass/no pass option, this used to be an option that could only be used for one class a semester and also had an earlier deadline, but now it has been modified to be used for as many classes as a student would like and also has a deadline of Wednesday, May 20, which is the last day of the spring semester, said Ross.
“If you’re struggling in a class, you should definitely consider the pass/no pass option rather than dropping a class,” said Athletic Counselor Matthew Wohl. “If you get a no pass for a class then it doesn’t affect your GPA.”
The negative effects that could come with choosing a pass/no pass option for a class, is running the risk that transfer schools will not accept the pass option credits.
“The huge caveat with pass/no pass is that for major courses a lot of our transfer partners like CSU and UC don’t accept pass/no pass classes,” said Ross. “We strongly encourage anyone taking a pass/no pass class to talk to their counselor before they do that because we wouldn’t want them to do that, thinking it would be easier to complete, only to find out later that they can’t transfer those units.”
For 22-year-old construction management major Manuel Godinez, the district’s decision to implement excused withdrawals was a relief.
“It’s a big relief that they are going to convert the withdrawals into excused withdrawals,” said Godinez. “That way it doesn’t affect our transcripts negatively.”
Godinez said he had dropped one of his construction classes due to the course not being the same online.
“The fact that the school is doing their part and allowing us to get an excused withdrawal is good,” said Godinez. “Some people don’t have access to the internet and that affects them.”