Packed lecture theatres like this are a thing of the past for the foreseeable future
RETURNING to third level college in the autumn is going to be “exceptionally challenging” says Limerick TD Niall Collins.
The newly appointed Minister of State at the Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science with responsibility for Skills and Further Education was speaking following the announcement by the University of Limerick of their plans for the new academic semester.
Students were informed this Wednesday of the details of the university’s Academic Calendar Model for Autumn 2020 which is based on a “blended learning approach” in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
First year undergraduate students will spend four of the 12 weeks of the coming semester on campus. All other students on taught programmes will spend three weeks on campus.
The announcement has been met with much criticism by students and parents especially those who have spent, or are planning to spend, big sums of money on accommodation.
However, according to the university “all decisions have been taken in line with the government’s public health guidelines and the requirement for social distancing to prevent the spread of infection and to keep our campus community safe."
It is likely that other third level colleges will also be announcing a similar approach based on a blended learning model, in the coming weeks.
“Returning to college at third level education is going to be exceptionally challenging for all - both students and the college authorities,” said Deputy Collins this Thursday.
“The college authorities will have to adhere to best public health advice and guidelines. It’s in all our interest to do so. Unfortunately, college life as we knew it or as we know it is going to be radically changed for the foreseeable future,” he added.
The autumn semester at UL will commence on September 28 for the majority of students.
The email from UL which was sent to students detailing the plan for the coming semester states that in order to minimise the risk of virus transmission, "priority will be given to students accessing educational facilities during their scheduled on-campus weeks including the library and other study areas".
Access to buildings and sport facilities for extra-curricular activities will be managed by the respective clubs and societies. "This will likely be on a pre-booked basis and further information will be published closer to the start of the new semester."