The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Contributed: Covid-19 Responsibility Action Plan Report

The following piece is an excerpt from a survey and report created and written by Alexi Canzoneri-Vanture and Akshat Tiwari, both ’23, to gauge student response to possible plans for Grinnell College’s Fall 2020 semester. This report does not reflect the views of The S&B staff, and no part of the report was commissioned or overseen by the staff of The S&B.

You can read the full report here:

Covid-19 Responsibility Action Plan Report

Report Summary

By Alexi Canzoneri-Vanture and Akshat Tiwari and

Our survey/petition gathered almost 400 responses. The respondents were predominantly students, but a smaller number of parents and alumni also responded. These members of our community supported us in requesting three things from the College administration: normal access to leaves of absence and deferrals, a petition process for on-campus residence for vulnerable students, and greater transparency and clarity in communication from administration, as well as increased inclusion of student voices in the decision-making process.

Based on our results, we have several main findings. First, large amounts of students are considering taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from the College. However, from our data we can predict that the majority of students will not withdraw if the option to take a leave of absence is given.

Second, our data suggests that students are most concerned with potential degradation of academic quality and the absence of a normally-interactive student community in the next semester, as well as lack of student voices in the decision making process.

Finally, overall student opinion is that the school is being too conservative in their approach, and that students would prefer a plan where all students are on campus, or at least where students are not forced to shuffle on and off of campus.

Student expectations for the following semester appear high (in many cases, they expect more time on campus than the school appears ready to afford them), and many students, especially the ones who are paying more money per semester at Grinnell, are willing to take time off. As a result of this survey, we believe the school can expect a significant drop in enrollment next semester, and a more significant drop in tuition money paid to the college. However, many students feel that they could be persuaded to take online classes if tuition was significantly decreased.

Overall, many students seem to feel that rotating on and off campus would be too disruptive to their stability during this time, and many also seem to be convinced that online classes are incompatible with Grinnell’s pedagogy (a problem made worse by student experience with online classes this past semester, although I am sure we all know that a sudden and unplanned shift to distance learning was bound to bring sub-optimal results). Based on our own personal convictions and our data, we believe that an increase in quantity and quality of communication and collaboration between the College administration and students will help regain student trust, boost enrollment, and assist in the development of a more efficient and enhanced plan for our fall semester.


The respective counts of respondents for nine possible responses to the question: “At what point would the format of the following semester become less than acceptable for you?” Multiple responses were allowed.

63% of respondents indicated that they would consider still enrolling in Grinnell College given the current plans for Fall, 54.25% indicated that they would consider taking a leave of absence, 26.2% indicated they would consider withdrawing with intent to come back and 13.3% indicated that they would consider withdrawing with intent to transfer. Multiple responses were allowed.

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