By Zachary Flynn
The drop deadline for the Winter 2021 semester will not be extended as it was for the Fall 2020 semester.
The deadline remains at 12% of the completion of a class in which a student is enrolled. Students who drop a course before this deadline will have it removed from their record, whereas students who withdraw from a class after this date will have the withdrawal permanently on their record.
NAIT extended the drop deadline in the fall semester due to new COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province. Debbie Little, director of enrolment management at NAIT, said the extension is currently not needed this semester.
“The extension aimed to support students facing difficult decisions about whether continuing their studies was feasible given the new restrictions. As these same health measures continue to be in place, we are not currently planning to extend the withdrawal deadline for [the] winter 2021 term,” said Little.
Little said NAIT would continue to monitor the current situation and may make any necessary changes if needed.
Jerilyn Kotelniski, NAITSA president, said that she wishes NAIT would have been more open to proactively extending the drop deadline this semester rather than taking a reactive approach similar to fall 2020.
“Knowing everything that we went through last semester, we had big discussions with them and explained that we know some students were frustrated because they wanted to hear about the policy beforehand so they could make a better decision,” said Kotelniski.
She said that while some students were frustrated, others were simply grateful that they could drop courses later in the semester when personal circumstances changed.
“Some of them are still quarantining, they’ve missed classes, they were trying to find childcare, and there were so many other concerns. It’s hard to even put them all down to tell you in a huge list because there are so many different [circumstances],” said Kotelniski.
Kotelniski said that two of the most significant negative impacts of COVID-19 on students are mental health and GPA.
“Normally, no student wants to do a degree during a pandemic. We don’t wish super difficult things upon ourselves. So by having this [drop deadline extension], it would give students the flexibility and the freedom to make the best decision possible for them without it having a direct impact on their GPA,” she said.
Kotelniski urged students to learn about their class’ drop deadlines, as the dates may vary from course to course.
If students are considering withdrawing from their program, she said that they should speak with their instructors or program chair first. Kotelniski also wants to point students towards online resources such as the Nimbus tutoring app or learning advisors. She added that if students are voicing their concerns to their professors and are not having them addressed, they should contact NAITSA’s VP academic at email@example.com.