A petition set-up asking for the government to automatically progress first-years into the second year of their course has gathered nearly 500 signatures.
Set-up by a user under the name of ‘Nottingham Trent University Student’, the petition has been directed to Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Nottingham Trent Business School and the NTU Academic Board.
It is also addressed to Vice-Chancellor Edward Peck and the Dean of Nottingham Bushiness School, Baback Yazdani.
Since being started earlier today, the petition reached 100 supporters within seven hours and is on course to reach 500.
Posted on the petition, it says: “With the stress that COVID-19 has brought, it makes no sense for first-year students at Nottingham Trent University to have to still do exams and assignments.
“Too much is happening right now to put academic stress on Nottingham Trent University students, the uncertainty and danger of Coronavirus has made many students anxious and paranoid which will continue to have an impact on our mental health during the revision period.”
The post continues: “A lot of students have also gone back to their home countries and hometowns and will not have access to computers and books which will be needed for us to revise from.
“Many students will also be in self-isolation suffering from symptoms of the Coronavirus or living with others who are self-isolating.
“We will not be able to concentrate at home due to the stress Coronavirus has caused.
“Our local hometown libraries and coffee shops have closed down as well, forcing us to stay at home and try to revise under these conditions.”
A number of universities have already opted to cancel exams for first-years, including Leeds University, University of Leicester, University of Liverpool, Brunel University and the University of Nottingham.
The petition has, however, divided opinion among students at NTU.
Ewan Champion, 19, a first-year Business Management and HR student, however, believes the exams should be scrapped.
“I just feel there is no point for us, those on my course and those in similar situations, being told they have to do exams at home, a place where it would be tempting and easy to cheat.
“All of our coursework has been submitted and received grades, the only thing missing was just to do exams – just pass us onto second year.”
Katie Green, 19, a first-year studying Journalism believes that exams should go ahead as scheduled.
She said: “I think exams should be put online because considering the way the world is at the moment, I think it is best to not go to do the exams at university, but do them online so it ensures we’re prepared for next year.”
Masimba Mumvanga, 18, a Politics and International Relations student, believes exams should be cancelled.
He said: “I think exams should be completely cancelled now.
“The Covid-19 situation has definitely disrupted the ability of students to focus solely on the upcoming exams.”
As of 7pm today (Monday, 23 March), the petition had collected more than 450 signatures.
This article was initially published on Platform Magazine, on March 23, 2020.