I am an MS student in machine learning just finished my first semester at a U.S. university, and I plan to apply to PhD programs in computer science in electrical engineering or operations research for next year (also for machine learning and optimization).
I took three STEM advanced graduate courses this semester (two EE, one math course), did well on the engineering courses but only got a B on the math course (measure theory) because of a bad final. Even though B is not exactly a disastrous grade, but it is not good at our school because the graduate courses are heavily curved. My school offers an option this year to get a special Pass/Fail grade, where they will mention something like "pass/fail because of the global pandemic". This past semester was indeed hard for me as I was living in a different time zone because of travel restrictions and the classes usually took place at 1-3 a.m.
I am still thinking whether I should use this option. On one hand, I have heard multiple times that graduate schools frown upon P/F grades, but on the other hand, this course is not directly related to my research area (may be useful one day, though). I would appreciate any advice!