In-person exams at Exeter University will go ahead despite petition against them receiving over 2900 signatures
The University of Exeter has maintained that some students will undertake in-person exams this January despite a student petition calling for all exams to be done online reaching 2974 signatures.
In the wake of rising concerns regarding the Omicron variant, the University has made most exams online. However, almost 500 in-person exams will take place because there are a few ‘teaching or accreditation methods’ which require this, according to the University.
Exeter student, Jess Tregoning, said she created the petition, “after being tired of hearing all the students get the same generic reply from the University in response to a large amount of worries and concerns on taking in-person exams. I thought it was time to let the students have their say.”
The petition lists a number of student concerns, including: the risk of catching Covid, the negative impact on the mental and physical health of students, and discrimination against those forced to defer. There is also concern for international students who may not be able to return due to both international and domestic travel restrictions.
it was time to let the students have their sayJess Tregoning
According to University guidance, students unable to attend in-person exams must apply for mitigation, and/or provide a positive PCR test as evidence. Jess questions the manner in which the University responds to mitigation requests, claiming they lack empathy and leave questions unanswered. She says, “Why should a student put their degree and personal health at stake?” She claims students forced to defer for mental and physical wellbeing reasons “are being treated as collateral damage.”
Jess spoke to a Business Management student who claims the University are reluctant to bring exams online due to the burden of increased workload. He received an email which stated it would be “too much effort to change them to online” although it is uncertain from which department at the University this was sent.
A Registrar email released on Thursday 6 January states that steps have been taken to reduce the risk of catching Covid as ‘exam halls have been risk-assessed and have distanced desks, good ventilation and enhanced cleaning measures in place’. The email also advises all students to wear face coverings unless exempt, and to produce a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFD) before arrival.
The email also says that students ‘will receive a temporary graduation certificate and transcript in July’ with a full transcript and certificate released in September upon completion of all modules. It confirmed that students will be able to attend their graduations in the summer.
We take our responsibility for the health of the university and wider community extremely seriouslyIan Blenkharn
Ian Blenkharn, Director of Education and Student Support has said, “All preparations for on-campus exams have taken place in consultation and agreement with Public Health Devon, and in accordance with latest Government guidance for universities.
“We take our responsibility for the health of the university and wider community extremely seriously, and as such, we have moved exams online wherever possible, with only a minority of exams taking place on campus.”
Editor: Emily Im