University College Dublin (UCD) are unlikely to relax existing restrictions on in-person lectures at a level-3 lockdown and above. UCD will allow each school to determine whether learning will continue online for semester 1, or if students will be reintroduced to blended learning, but only when these restrictions are reduced. A number of UCD schools have released the plans for how their school intends to proceed after the current three-week period of online-learning.
In a statement made to The Tribune, a spokesperson for University College Dublin said: “The message is for the duration of Level 3, if it can be done online, don’t bring students onto campus.”
The statement continued; “UMT [University Management Team] has delegated the decision as to which other small group teaching activities (such as tutorials) can take place on campus in accordance with this direction to the relevant module coordinator in consultation with their Head of School.”
“Once the restriction level for Dublin reduces to Level 2, we will revert to the plans made previously for our return to on-campus teaching and learning, unless we are given other specific directions by the Government. If the restriction level increases to Level 4, we are not anticipating any further changes to our educational activities.”
The College Tribune has gained access to an email sent to economics students from a member of faculty. The lecturer told students that, per a communication from University President Andrew Deeks, “as long as Dublin stays at level 3 restrictions, this module will be delivered completely online.” The email further states that when restrictions are moved to a lower level “the plan is to have online lectures and face-to-face tutorials.”
The School of Social Policy, Social Work, and Social Justice (SPSWSJ) confirmed with The College Tribune, that they will be running classes remotely for the first five weeks of semester 1. Associate Professor Dr. Ernesto Vasquez Del Aguila stated “we took this decision in our social justice unit entirely for precaution.” Prof. Jim Campbell, Head of School of SPSWSJ stated that individual schools are expecting an official communication from the University this week and that his school “will then be able to inform students accordingly”.
A member of faculty of the UCD School of Sociology stated that sociology lectures would continue online for the full first semester. This information comes from a statement made to students during online-teaching. The College Tribune reached out to the school regarding this statement, at time of publication we have not received confirmation of this announcement
The School of History has changed the timetables of students taking history modules to state “online-only” for upcoming classes and lectures which were previously stated to be in-person or blended learning.
The School of Engineering has told students to expect a return to on-campus learning as soon as government guidelines allow for such a return. The School of Law has stated that they are also following the guidelines closely for a return to on-campus learning.
On the 22nd of September, UCD announced that, in-line with the Irish Universities Association recommendations, they would remain shut for the first three weeks of term at least following Dublin’s lockdown restrictions, which will be reviewed on October 5th. UCD told students and staff it would continue operating at a level 4 restriction.
Luke Murphy – Co-Editor
Hugh Dooley – News Editor