Now, more than ever, students have been struggling with their mental health due to the ongoing pandemic. There is evidence showing that the pandemic is linked to increased anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Among this, inconsistent late penalty policies exacerbate the problems that students are already dealing with.
The current — sometimes unforgiving — late policies do not allow students to take time for themselves. The format of online learning is such that there is very little separation between home life and school life. This makes it much harder to find time for self-care when it feels like you’re always at school. However, due to the increased stress people are facing in all facets of life, self-care is now more important than ever.
The structure of online classes, in particular asynchronous ones, also makes it much harder to manage time, since they’re done when it’s most convenient for you. To make time management easier and, in turn, relieve some stress, faculties should coordinate a consistent late policy.
Currently, courses have varying late policies. For example, HMB472 — Exercise Physiology has a late policy that deducts 10 per cent on the first day and one per cent per additional day. Another human biology course, HMB474 — Dental Sciences, has different late penalties for each assignment: a one per cent deduction per day for the midterm and a two per cent deduction per day for the final assignment. A more standardized approach would make it much simpler for students to not only organize their time but also advocate for themselves.
I firmly believe that given the circumstances of this year’s pandemic and the university’s history with mental health, we should have a standard and more lenient late policy to give students grace during this strange time. A standardized late policy would allow for students to properly organize their time to allow them to tend to their mental health.
Michelle Fornasier is a fourth-year physiology and human geography student at Trinity College.