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Northwest will implement a “safety net” grading system for the rest of the spring semester in an effort to help students in the midst of a “tremendous disruption” to academic life caused by the continued spread and University response to COVID-19, Provost Jamie Hooyman announced in an email March 20.

The newly-enacted grading system requires each instructor at Northwest to assign students a grade for all work submitted before March 7, which the University is referring to as the “COVID-19 grade,” Hooyman said in the email.

Final course grades cannot be more than one letter grade lower than COVID-19 grades, which will be assigned to students by March 23. COVID-19 grades of “A” or “B” cannot drop more than one letter grade. COVID-19 grades of “C” and “D” cannot go down for final course grades. Grades of “B”, “C”, “D” or “F” can increase over the second half of the semester with the continued completion of coursework, Hooyman said in the email.

“Northwest’s goal is to provide students with an opportunity to learn and move forward in their academic programs, while acknowledging the extraordinary disruption we all are facing,” Hooyman said in the email. “Stay closely attuned to all communication from the University and your instructors, and ask questions if you are confused or need more information.”

The shift in grading comes after the University announced its decision March 20 to move in-person and blended classes to an online-only setting for the remainder of the spring term starting March 23 after all classes were originally suspended for one week.

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