Keep the no-detriment policy in place for the new academic year at Sussex University
When lockdown started, Sussex University implemented a no detriment policy ensuring no students would be negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. They have now opted to remove this safety net, saying that the situation is no longer “unforeseen and unusual”.
There are several reasons why this is untrue
• when signing up for university, students did not foresee teaching being predominantly online
• online teaching has a disproportionate effect on students without access to required technology and students with access issues (eg. deaf/blind students)
• the little teaching that is in person is not accessible to all students, for example, international students, students with medical conditions requiring them to shield, and students living in areas of local lockdown. In addition to this, with winter approaching, it’s inevitable that people will fall ill. Where students are living with friends this will mean that the entire household needs to isolate if one person has Covid symptoms until a test result is obtained. If this test is positive then the whole house will need to isolate for 2 weeks as well as caring for a, potentially very unwell, friend. Meaning that none of the house can attend university
• there is huge disparity across courses in the amount of access to in-person teaching, with some students having none and others having a majority of their teaching in person.
This is in no way a normal time and students are still likely to be negatively impacted by the ever-changing situation and the move to online teaching. Considering that implementing the no-detriment policy costs the university nothing and ensures their students are in the best possible position to succeed, there is no reasonable argument against this.