Incoming University of Limerick (UL) freshers will next year spend one week in three on campus, while all other years will be on campus one week in four, the university has announced.
In an email to students, Vice President for Academic Affairs & Student Engagement Kerstin Mey said that all lectures would move online, even if a student is meant to be on campus that week.
Online at-home learning weeks will resemble regular teaching weeks “as much as possible”, with teaching and learning delivered remotely, while on-campus weeks will consist of a maximum of three hours per module for laboratory and tutorial classes.
“This approach, including on-campus and online learning, minimises the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak by using social bubbles (keeping year groups together) and a circuit breaker (periods off campus) based on scientific insight into the spread of the virus”, Mey said.
The new timetabling structure will only apply to the first semester, with the plans drawn up to comply with public health advice. UL is currently due to re-open on 28th September.
Mey told students: “As a nation, we have done well to suppress Covid-19, however, as we have seen in other countries, the virus can re-emerge very quickly and there are numerous examples where restrictions that had been relaxed, were reintroduced after further outbreaks.”
“The lesson from this is that we must remain vigilant and take all practical steps to minimise risk of transmission for the foreseeable future”, she added.
UL is still drafting plans for accommodation, in particular for a mechanism by which students could rent more short-term accommodation, instead of year-long rentals.
Mey said that “where practicable and in line with government guidelines”, the university will allow students to participate in sports clubs, societies and events.
Regarding assessments, Mey said that at the beginning of the year “module leaders will outline the assessments for each module, but that in general “there will not be formal exams during examination weeks”.
Meanwhile in Dublin, most undergraduates in University College Dublin (UCD) will spend between 40 to 60 per cent of their normal schedule in classrooms next year, while postgraduate students will spend between 75 and 100 per cent of their learning time in classrooms, the college announced yesterday.
In an email to students, UCD Registrar and Deputy President Mark Rogers outlined the plans for next year, saying that the university had prepared “a number of teaching scenarios for the autumn trimester, designed to maximise face-to-face engagement between students and lecturers”.
Rogers said that changes would be “minimal” for most postgraduate students, while undergraduate students in normally large lectures may be limited in attendance or else take place remotely.
The college is going to supply a “hybrid model of real-time streaming and recorded lectures and classes in many programmes for students who are not able to attend campus in the autumn trimester.”