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I tested positive for Covid-19 at the beginning of the week. Bad timing? Much more than I ever thought it would be

Iben Berndt, CBS student. (Private photo)

Opinion |   06. Dec 2021

Written by Iben Berndt, CBS student

While I had accepted to miss out on my first forthcoming exam, I began preparing for the ones to come in my quarantine. Until it struck me how I would need a valid Corona Passport to get into the remaining. One that would not be valid again until 14 days after my positive test – which happens to be exactly one day after my last exam.

Despite government guidelines of 10 days isolation or 48 hours of being symptom free for positive Covid-19 cases, I am forced to postpone all my exams to January and February during the remake period. CBS follows the guideline of the Danish Health Authority, as they should. The current measures are in place to best protect each one of us. Which is great. A necessity. Though, I will argue that CBS are failing their students in the meantime.

While this is not about pitying the ones falling sick nor an appeal to bathe them in privileges, it is about an institution unworthy of its proclaimed values. Let me tell you why.

A well-known issue and at best, a mediocre solution

Upon calling the Student Hub, they kindly informed me; it was an issue of “great frustration” to many students this year. That they were not allowed to participate in the exams which they have spent the semester preparing for. Nonetheless, there was nothing they could do but have us attend the remake exam without using one of our three exam attempts (modern day chivalry, am I right?). Transforming written sit-ins to home ones for everyone would simply be “too much work” and most importantly, an exemption was impossible due to the “unfairness” it would pose to other students. From this, I derive three main points.

1) Covid-infected students unable to attend exams are not only a known issue, but alarmingly, a widespread one. If this does not speak volumes to the subject’s actuality and pressing nature, it’s hard to see what will. 2) The difficulty of reconstructing an exam, is a reasonable cause to sympathise with. Alerting professors and students. Drafting a new exam. Changing the ground-rules. It is a big machinery. Yet, during the winter exams 2020 and spring 2021, CBS was ready to modify exams to home ones, if necessary, which indeed ended up being the case for several. Excuse a critical student for wondering – what happened to your risk management, CBS? 3) What is fair? And who gets to decide?

Allow me to elaborate. Fairness, or lack thereof, is a cruciality. Not only for educational institutions, but for society, our democracy. It poses interesting philosophical questions of definition and extent. Does it mean equality of opportunity? Can life be fair? Do we want life to be fair? The truth be told, most of us advance due to the unfairness of life. Also, is my individual sense of fairness less worthy of validation than that of collective fairness? One must wonder, how many Covid-infected students it would take to shift the balance of the weight. The key takeaway here is that it depends. Consequently, it seems absurd to determine a singular truth of what is fair and what is not.

They did it before – why not again?

In the whirlwinds of a second wave of Covid-19, a national lockdown was initiated during winter 2020, in effect up til spring 2021. In a swift day-to-day manner, CBS managed to transform exams into home ones during the winter. How? They were prepared. In the spring, they remained prepared to act if need be. What does this tell us? CBS holds both the necessary knowledge and resources, yet for some reason, is now unwilling to utilize it.

Now, a pandemic is hard to identify as a risk before its arrival. When Covid-19 began its world-tour in November 2019, no one knew what to expect. A virus, both unknown and unpredictable. While a pandemic is an extraordinary situation calling for extraordinary measures and most often, sacrifices, the current one may hardly be considered new anymore. Covid-19, for better or worse (while I think we can all agree on worse here), is a part of our everyday lives and has been for what’s soon to be two years. How is it that more than a year and half after the first national lockdown in the spring of 2020, CBS does not have integrated backups plans to ensure that everyone has equal access to some of its most important operating activities; the exams?

What I wish to question is not whether my positive test is fair or not; that’s simply the name of the game. What I will question is how an internationally accredited university, priding themselves on world-class programmes, and a strong commitment to the ideas of tomorrow (CBS, 2018) is not prepared to handle the most pressing risk which today faces every part of society?

Simple solutions to difficult problems do exist. Zoom and open book home exams are but two examples of previous solutions. In today’s dynamic and often, uncertain society, thinking ahead, preparing thoroughly and the willingness to adapt, are demands. Not options.

A role model?

In its recent strategy renewal, CBS defines its mission by being, “…curious, critical and innovative in our approach to major opportunities and dilemmas facing business and society” (CBS, 2020). The entirety of the written strategy is a beautiful testament to strong values. Nevertheless, the handling of Covid-19 cases in relation to exam activities strongly contradicts these. A shame, they now fail to live into the very values they themselves decided on.

CBS aims to produce students with the ability to be both critical and innovative in their thinking while understanding ethical dilemmas and recognizing humanity’s challenges. That I am capable of. Not thanks to CBS but due to CBS.

 

Bibliography

CBS. (2020, June 21). Strategy

CBS. (2018, July 11). Profile .

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