Academic Affairs COVID-19 Information
As the COVID-19 outbreak grew, SUNY Plattsburgh shifted its academic approach to remote
instruction. We are fortunate to have skilled faculty and staff who are committed
to helping students successfully complete courses and programs despite this challenge.
We strive to assure that students are assisted through this time.
Communication about these changes began with messages from the Provost to students and faculty. Below is a summary of important information about how Academic Affairs is working to support student success during the Spring 2020 semester. This includes details about how the courses will be provided, as well as modifications we have made in our policies and procedures.
Policies & Procedures
Course structure has changed as we have moved to remote instruction. Faculty approaches will vary and will be modified as faculty and students gain experience with this new type of instruction. Faculty have been encouraged to ensure that changes in the course assignments and requirements are equivalent to those of the face-to-face course. Information about how students will complete experiential learning can be found on the “Labs, Internships, Visual & Performing Arts and Clinical” webpage.
Course material is available on our learning management system Moodle. Course instructors are the best source of information about how the course will proceed. For further guidance, students can request help on Cardinal Star by raising the “I have a question about remote instruction due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak” flag. Cardinal Star is accessed through the MyPlattsburgh portal or requests for help can be emailed to [email protected].
The college has modified several grading policies in order to hold students harmless for the disruption caused by COVID-19, including the Pass/Fail grading policy. For Spring 2020 only, students will have the option to select pass/fail instead of standard letter grading in all undergraduate courses up until one day after final grades have been submitted. The pass/fail option is not available for graduate courses.
A pass (P) grade may be selected for letter grades equivalent to a D or better. A pass grade is not calculated in semester or cumulative GPAs, however a fail grade is equivalent to an E and is counted in the GPA. A pass grade will be considered as meeting the requirement for progression in programs and course prerequisites that require a grade of a C or better and will be accepted in Advanced Writing Courses and ENG101 as meeting graduation requirements. Pass grades in repeated courses will be allowed to replace previously earned grades and will remove the previous grade from GPA calculations.
Faculty will calculate and submit grades as usual. Students may select pass/fail grading from Monday, April 13, 2020 at 8 a.m. until Thursday, May 21, 2020 at noon, which is 24 hours after final grades have been submitted. Each course is selected separately and can be changed back and forth throughout the selection period. Students can access the selection form on the MyPlattsburgh portal “Home” tab in the Campus Announcement section or on the “Students” tab in the Registrar section. After the May 21 noon deadline, the grade mode cannot be changed in subsequent semesters. If no selection is made by the student, the grade assigned by the instructor will be used.
While pass/fail grading can be helpful to students during this challenging time, there are implications related to professional or accredited programs, transfer or graduate school credit acceptance, graduation honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude), and GPA calculations. Students should consult the COVID-19 Grading Advisement Guide and seek guidance from their academic advisors prior to selecting pass/fail grading. Exceptions will be made related to the impact the number of credits of pass grades have on eligibility for graduation honors. For additional questions about this process, students should contact their department chairperson, the dean’s office, or the provost’s office ([email protected]).
The Course Withdrawal Policy is temporarily modified to allow course withdrawals until the end of the semester without an extenuating circumstance, beyond the current extenuating circumstance. Course withdrawal is available for students who wish to preserve their academic record and avoid a failing grade. Course withdrawal fees are waived.
Prior to April 10, 2020 students should send an email to the course instructor indicating their intention to withdraw from the course. The instructor will forward the email to the registrar’s office at [email protected]. All emails must be sent from each individual’s Plattsburgh email account. It is highly recommended that the student consult with the academic advisor prior to initiating a request for course withdrawal.
After April 10, 2020 there is an additional step for course withdrawal. To ensure that students receive the best guidance regarding course withdrawal, all requests must also be reviewed by the academic dean’s office. Students should initiate the request to the course instructor from their Plattsburgh email account; the instructor must then forward the request to the associate dean in each school. The requests will be sent to the registrar’s office following consultation with the student if necessary.
For more information about the course withdrawal procedure, visit the registrar’s office “Course Withdrawal Schedule and Procedures” web page.
The Incomplete Grade Policy, which requires that the student have completed more than 75 percent of coursework to be eligible for an incomplete (I) grade may be applied with greater flexibility. On a case-by-case basis a student who has completed less than 75 percent of the coursework may be offered the option to receive an incomplete grade. There must be a clear understanding of what is left to be completed and the faculty member must have a strong sense that the student is able to complete the remaining work by the end of the Fall 2020 semester. In accordance with the policy, students who do not complete the coursework by the end of the subsequent semester will receive a grade of E.
Repeated Course Grades
For Spring 2020 only, the campus has modified the Repeated Course Grading Policy. For this semester only, the policy has been modified to count the highest grade rather than the most recently earned grade, or the grade selected by the student. By default the grade will be recorded as follows:
- Standard (A-E) grade previously and standard (A-E) grade now: the higher or same grade counts.
- Pass/Fail grade previously and Pass/Fail grade now: the higher or same grade counts.
- Standard (A-E) previously and Pass/Fail grade now: the grade from this semester counts (P/F).
- Pass/Fail grade previously and standard (A-E) grade now: the grade from this semester counts (A-E).
In specific situations however, students may benefit from an alternative selection. Therefore, students who are repeating a course will be directed to an online form to override the default choices if desired. Selections will be made between May 21, 2020 at 7 a.m. and May 22, 2020 at 7 a.m. Students who are repeating courses this semester will be sent specific information about access to the form
The Spring 2020 end-of-semester academic progress review process will be suspended. Students whose cumulative GPAs fall below a 2.0 will automatically be offered reinstatement on academic probation rather than dismissal. If a student opts to not accept the offer to return on probation, they will be allowed to withdraw from college rather than be dismissed. Students on academic probation will be provided intensive support in the fall.
Academic advising for course selection will proceed as scheduled, although it will be done remotely. Information can be found on the Remote Course Advising website.
Students with questions or concerns, should contact their faculty advisor, program advisor, staff in the academic advising office, or other faculty or staff member. We also encourage you to request assistance or seek services using Cardinal Star.
COVID-19 Grading Advisement Guide
The COVID-19 Grading Advisement Guide has been created to explain the implications of different grading options now available. For example, in some cases, withdrawing from a course or opting for a pass/fail grade can prevent a student from being harmed by uncharacteristically poor performance in a course. In other cases, however, it can create significant problems down the road, such as for scholarship eligibility or when applying for certain graduate programs.
During spring advisement, students should consult with academic advisors to work through the possible scenarios and implications for the program of study. Below is a set of questions and grading checklist to help organize your discussion with your advisor.
- Do I have plans to attend graduate school?
If yes, recognize that in some cases, graduate programs will not accept pass/fail grades for courses relevant to the program. In others, pass grades are calculated in ways that will not be beneficial to the student’s GPA. Note too that fail grades are calculated into the GPA. In such cases, a pass/fail option might significantly impact admission to a graduate program.
- Do I need to improve my GPA to qualify for particular scholarships, graduate programs,
If yes, recognize that pass grades are not included in GPA calculations but fail grades are, so changing to pass/fail prevents an improvement in GPA that could make meeting GPA requirements for scholarships, graduate programs or certifications more difficult.
- Am I in a program that involves professional accreditation or certification? (e.g.,
CPA for accounting, education, nursing, clinical mental health counseling, speech-language
pathology, registered dietitian).
If yes, be aware that some programs require letter grades in specific courses associated with professional certification. If a student were to convert one of these courses to pass/fail, this might make qualification difficult.
- Do I plan to transfer to another college next semester?
If yes, note that in some cases, pass/fail grades are not accepted for transfer credit if students move between colleges.
- Are you anticipating graduating with commencement honors (cum laude, magna cum laude,
summa cum laude)?
If yes, be aware that pass/fail courses do not count toward the 45 credit hours earned in courses graded A-E needed to be eligible. Exceptions will be made to this policy on a case-by-case basis.
- Do I need to maintain a certain number of credits per term/academic year for particular
scholarships, graduate programs, or certifications?
If yes, carefully consider what withdrawing from a course or courses will do to your eligibility before making a final determination (e.g., Excelsior scholarship recipients need to complete 30-credits per year).
- Do you feel that a grade is necessary to maintain your motivation in this course(s)?
If yes, consider not opting in for pass/fail and instead create a good plan of study for helping you be successful in the course.
- Are you currently in a graduate program at SUNY Plattsburgh?
If yes, modifications to the pass/fail grading policy do not apply to graduate courses. Consult with your advisor if you are considering course withdrawal.
- Do I have plans to attend graduate school?