This semester I taught an optional course for undergraduate students. While I find it normal that fewer students attend optional classes, presence in class itself was low even for the enrolled students, and now the only requirements for evaluation have not been met by most of the students. Only 7 out of a total of 21 students have turned in their final written essays until the deadline.
The problem is, the university grading system allows for students who have not passed the exams during the semester to take a "recovery" exam/written assignment. Through this loophole, students who have not even written their essays may pass if they get good grades in this "recovery" exam. While I think it is somehow unfair for the other students, because it allows procrastination and delays of over a week, and gives a second chance for students who did poorly during the whole semester no matter what the reason, it is not clear if I am supposed to apply this "recovery" exam or if this is optional.
The question is, if I do not do this (accept procrastination and delays), most students will not pass.
Should I just accept it or be strict with rules and deadlines?