Editorial: The add/drop deadline should have been extended

Editorial Board

By the time this editorial is published, it will be the final day of the add/drop period for the spring 2022 semester at Case Western Reserve University. Most of us will already have our schedule set for the semester, with the work for classes we just started already picking up. However, with the first two weeks of the semester having been remote and classes set to resume in-person on Jan. 24, our courses during the add/drop period weren’t indicative of how they would be the rest of the semester or even next week. Due to the switches in the learning environment, the add/drop period should have been extended slightly.

While students do have the option to withdraw from classes later in the semester, such changes will be shown on their transcript. Extending the add/drop period to the third week of this semester would have allowed students to properly make a decision on their course schedule; we would have been able to gauge—not just how a class is like online—but also how our schedule plays out in-person when the workload starts to increase. By extending the period by a week, CWRU students would have been able to experience a full week of in-person learning, and all that comes with that experience. Attending online classes does not provide the same experience as leaving 15 to 30 minutes early to walk to class, having a break between classes that isn’t long enough to go back to your dorm or physically going to extracurriculars or work between/after classes. So by lengthening that add/drop period, students could have decided if their schedule was actually manageable when they are physically on campus.

However, extending the deadline for add/drop this semester could have been tough on professors if they are holding out on assigning more substantial homework because there is a possibility more students could join the class. On the other hand, students typically don’t tend to add classes, but instead, switch sections or drop classes. Even if a student adds a course in the third week, they likely know that they are a bit behind and will try to make up for the gap in learning. In addition, because professors don’t normally make major assignments—such as papers, quizzes or tests—due until the third week, extending the add/drop period would allow CWRU students to experience those harder assignments and be sure about their decision to remain in a class.

At the very least, the drop (not add) period should be extended an additional week beyond this remote-to-in-person learning transition. All the reasons mentioned above are also applicable to other semesters—students get a better feel for classes and are able to determine if they can actually handle their course load without consequence. This compromise also wouldn’t really affect professors since they wouldn’t have to worry about new students coming into their class and having to hold off on any larger assignments. Extending the drop period to the third week for all semesters would be beneficial to students in any semester, let alone one where we haven’t actually experienced how our classes will be for the remainder of the academic year. 

We already know that CWRU will not make the remote-to-in-person transition any easier, and that they probably expect most students to be perfectly fine with the adjustment. However, we are just starting to get used to online classes after doing them in-person last semester, and now, we have to deal with adapting back to in-person. Extending the add/drop period would have aided in the switch, but alas, the administration doesn’t seem to be keen on taking all necessary measures to guide our community through these uncertain times.