On July 8th, Deputy President and Registrar of University College Dublin (UCD) Mark Rogers announced to current students via email the plan for the upcoming academic year, stating that “your education remains our top priority.”
The communication is the first of its kind to be sent to current students. Notably, UCD have announced that “most undergraduate students will be in classrooms around 40-60% of the normal schedule, with most graduate students having between 75 and 100% of normal classroom time.” This is in compliance with public health guidelines, which may change by the beginning of the Trimester.
This follows on from the University’s previous announcement that students will under-go “hybrid” learning, which means students will have a mix of online, blended, and face-to-face classes and tutorials with variations depending on subjects and stages. This hybrid style of learning will feature live stream and pre-recorded lectures.
The changes are expected to be “minimal” for graduate students and each of the six colleges within UCD are devising a schedule that bests suits the subjects in each respective school.
Contrary to an earlier document circulated to UCD staff which claims social distancing will “significantly impact” on the number and type of activities this year, Rogers has prompted students to “spend as much time as possible on campus” in order to experience the benefits of social engagement with other students and staff. The college will use markings around campus, student pods, and one way systems on top of cleaning regimes to ensure distancing.
Exchange students are being told they can arrive 14 days before the beginning of their studies if they are required to self-isolate. The university will be providing this two- week period rent free to students in campus residence. The university will also be reducing annual rent to all students down to 36 weeks.
UCD remain on course to continue with the 9am-6pm timetable. However, this may be revised and could schedule students outside of these hours, meaning students may have to attend classes late at night or early in the morning.
This plan comes into contrast with other Dublin-based colleges. Dublin City University (DCU) stated they won’t be returning to the academic year until October 5th, and most recently stated that they “will bring students and staff physically onto campus only when, and in a manner, that is safe to do so and we will continue to be guided by the HSE and the Department of Health on this matter. They also admitted in their recent website statement they “are unlikely to be able to run any large-group, campus-based activities in Semester 1 at the very least.”
Trinity College Dublin will begin academic classes a week after UCD, on September 28th, and they are also implementing a hybrid leaning system. “The University remains open and fully operational” according to their website.
Luke Murphy, Co-Editor.