The IBO has introduced exceptional measures for IB Diploma Programme students in more than 20 countries affected by school closures due to COVID-19. These include mainland China, Hong Kong SAR China, Macau, Mongolia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy, South Korea, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Madrid, Azerbaijan, Albania and Sindh Province in Pakistan.
IBDP students are among those most affected by the ongoing closures as they are due to sit their final exams in April, May and June, and have coursework deadlines from March onwards.
To help manage the situation, the IBO has extended the deadline for IB e-coursework, which was due to be uploaded on March 15, to the later date of April 12. The Internal Assessment deadline and the MYP Personal Project and ePortfolio deadlines of April 20 have both been extended to May 20.
However, the IBO has no plans to change the May 2020 exam schedule.
"The IB is unable to change the May 2020 exam schedule. The IB examination schedule is a global schedule and therefore it would be unreasonable to change it for students who are not affected.
"Schools can opt to defer to a future session, transfer to an alternative school or organise an alternative venue where appropriate. The IB is continuing to review deadlines and support options it can provide for schools."
IB students may also be affected by the cancellation of their mock exams, restrictions on their ability to complete the Community Action and Service (CAS) element of the IBDP, and the cancellation of Visual Arts exhibitions.
For CAS, the IBO has extended the deadline from June 1 to July 3. It adds, "Candidates who are unable to complete the CAS programme by 3 July 2020 are allowed one further year in which to complete it. This further year expires on 1 June 2021."
The IBO has also responded by allowing Visual Arts students who are "unable to set up a formal exhibition due to quarantine issues can instead photograph the artworks they have selected for their exhibition all together as a collection".
Other extensions include:
The IBO says: "It is important to note that while the IB will make every effort to ensure that student work is marked for issue of results, with the evolving nature of this situation and increasing number of students impacted, there may be a situation where students will receive a pending grade for subjects where coursework was received too close to issue of results."
The IBO will continue to respond to the evolving situation, and we wait to see how UK boards for GCSEs and A Levels are going to respond. Also, if the UAE's school closures extend beyond April 5, could the UAE reopen schools to IB students as we've seen in Hong Kong? Last month, Hong Kong's Education Bureau allowed international schools to reopen their campuses to graduating students only – those studying GCSEs, A Levels and the IBDP – for tutorials and assessments.