Trinity’s next academic year will start on September 28th, Provost Patrick Prendergast confirmed today, as part of a radically altered academic calendar that will see first-term exams starting in January 2021 and a two-week Christmas break introduced.
Prendergast announced next year’s academic calendar – reported last week by The University Times – on Twitter today, after a meeting of University Council today.
First-year students will start College – which will run a mixture of online and blended learning – with an orientation week on September 21st.
Staff and students will soon receive an email from Vice-Provost Jurgen Barkhoff with the details of next year’s academic calendar, Prendergast said on Twitter, as part of a return to teaching that will combine face-to-face teaching with online learning.
Students will enjoy a far shorter Christmas break as part of an academic calendar revised as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The holidays will start on December 21st, with term starting again with a revision week on January 4th, 2021. Exams will commence on January 11th, and run over two weeks.
Summer exams will take place between May 10th and May 24th, 2021, according to the calendar, resulting in shorter summer holidays for next year.
Reading week will start on November 9th in the first term, and March 15th in the second semester.
In a press statement this afternoon, Prendergast said Trinity is “delighted to be able to offer our students the certainty of a start date, the promise of a rewarding and absorbing learning experience and our full commitment to making their Trinity education as distinctive, varied and intellectually stimulating as they expect and deserve it to be”.
Prendergast said College is “committed to continuing with face-to-face education as a core element of the experience of attending Trinity and our intention is to facilitate seminars, laboratory classes and tutorials as far as possible for all students, while at all times following Government guidelines on social distancing”.
Last week, this newspaper revealed College was likely to start on September 28th, among a raft of proposals Trinity is considering for how to return to teaching.
Classes of up to 25 students could be taught in person next year, with groups bigger than that taught online, according to unpublished minutes seen by The University Times.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s current two-metre social distancing protocols could mean Trinity is able to accommodate just 20 per cent of students for lectures on campus when it re-opens, Barkhoff warned members of Council at the body’s last meeting on May 13th.
And Trinity is likely to re-open its accommodation “on a phased basis”, the minutes reveal, with the living behaviour of student residents crucial to the process.
At Council in May, Prendergast warned of the “need for students in College accommodation to do things differently by ensuring that kitchens and shared spaces are kept clean and tidy of all times”.
On the question of international students, Prendergast said they’ll “need to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival into Ireland”, and told Council members that Trinity “will need to support these students’ needs during this time”.