An excused withdrawal option would help lower student stress during the pandemic

A semester-long excused withdrawal would help students who have any unexpected issues pop up during the semester


Unexpected issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic can pop up at any time, and having an excused withdrawal can help students who experience unexpected issues during the semester. (Photo Illustration by Heather Amberson)

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing most college campuses to close and transition to online learning, some students may be struggling in classes, or even falling behind with the graduation timeline they had set. If students were allowed to drop classes at any date with an excused withdrawal, like what was offered at American River College during the spring 2020 semester when things first moved online, students would be able to keep their grades up and not stress as much over not doing well. This is especially important during a pandemic, when things are already stressful enough.

The excused withdrawal was an option last semester when things moved online in March and students who didn’t originally sign up for online classes were now stuck taking them.

Even though students now know that all classes will fully be online, some don’t have an option to stop and wait for things to return back to normal. The pandemic has been going on for about 10 months now, and no one knows when it will end, so students who don’t want to take a year or more off of school are stuck with one option; taking online classes.

As of right now, online classes are the only option for students to take. Yes, it is technically a choice to take the online classes, but there isn’t really any other alternative, other than taking time off. When the excused withdrawal was introduced for the spring 2020 semester, it was because students were thrown into taking online classes. Students are still in that same position now, even though they already know things will be online, because it’s either take classes online, or don’t take any classes at all. The excused withdrawal would also be helpful to students who end up taking more classes than they can handle.

I have taken fewer classes now that things are online, because I know that I don’t perform as well while taking online classes. The line between home life and school life often becomes blurred, which makes focusing on school hard. With things staying online for the foreseeable future, I will have to start taking more classes online, and I have no idea how things will go. If I had that option for an excused withdrawal, I might have a little less pressure on choosing which classes to take, and I would feel more comfortable taking the classes.

Things could be going fine during the first half of the semester, but then something could come up after, and without an excused withdrawal, students GPAs will be affected and could prevent them from getting to the next step in their education or career. Students could also have to retake classes that they have failed, which can make them fall behind schedule.

Most students are probably already dealing with the stress of living in a pandemic, which can affect the quality of work that is done. If the quality of work isn’t as good, grades won’t be as good, which can make each assignment mean more. If grades aren’t as good, one big assignment or a final can make or break a student’s grade. Without an excused withdrawal, those grades would affect students’ GPAs.

Dealing with living during a pandemic is already hard enough, but if something unpredictable happened to students or their family, the excused withdrawal would be there to help, no matter what time of the semester it is.