Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Students walk back to collegetown on March 13, 2020. Since President Martha E. Pollack's Friday announcement, the University has updated what the remainder of the semester will look like.

March 19, 2020

Cornell Extends Semester by Week, Allows Pass/Fail in All Classes

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Less than a week after Cornell unexpectedly cancelled all instruction until April 6, the University has finished ironing out details for how the academic calendar will be structured following spring break.

According to an email sent by Provost Michael Kotlikoff and other academic leadership to faculty on Thursday afternoon, the last day of undergraduate classes has been extended by a week to May 12 to “accommodate for lost instruction time.” The final exam period, which was previously set to conclude by May 16, will now end on May 23.

While a number of other colleges, such as Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania, have opted to either cancel or hold a virtual commencement ceremony, Cornell has not yet decided if the May 24 graduation event will go on as scheduled. Ithaca College announced earlier this week that it would hold its commencement ceremony on Aug. 2.

The deadline to drop or change the grading basis of a course has also been pushed back over a month, from March 17 to April 21. In a notable change, all classes may now be taken as “S/U” — a grading option in which a student receives full credit for a course if their final grade is at least a C-, but does not factor into GPA calculations.

Before the revised plans, only some courses allowed for that option. According to the email, there will be “additional flexibility” on how courses graded pass-fail “will count towards major, minor and academic good standing requirements.”

The deadline to add second seven-week courses has also been extended from March 18 to April 14.

In light of major academic changes, Cornell announced that it would also consider accommodations for faculty seeking reappointment, promotion or tenure. Acknowledging the “disruptive impact” of COVID-19 on “faculty productivity and performance,” the email said that the University would make adjustments to how it typically conducts its faculty advancement process.