UCC to return to on-campus teaching at 80% capacity

Room occupancy is to be capped at 200

University College Cork (UCC) is to return to on-campus teaching at 80% capacity in September. 

The university plans to permit face-to-face teaching at 80% of normal room capacity, subject to a maximum of 200.

In an email to students, UCC interim president Professor John O’Halloran announced the university’s plans for the return to campus.

Laboratories and campus libraries will also operate at 80% capacity.

Face coverings will be mandatory for all students on campus in lectures, laboratories and libraries, and lecture durations are to be reduced to prevent congestion during entrance and exit.

Standard lectures are to be 45 minutes in length with a further 10 minutes allowed at the end for students to vacate the area in order to prevent crowding in hallways and rooms during changeovers.

UCC’s libraries are to extend their opening hours and additional reading rooms are being introduced across the campus.

Restaurants and cafes operating on campus are likely to offer takeaway services only until the government restrictions on indoor dining are updated.

O’Halloran also announced that clubs and societies will be permitted to operate within the current government guidelines. There will be a review process by the Office of the Director of Student Experience and the Student Activity Safety Committee for all planned events.

O’Halloran also urged students to get vaccinated before returning to campus in September.

This week Minister for Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Research Simon Harris said that individual universities would be able to “use discretion” on maximum lecture sizes.

Harris was speaking during a visit to Kickham Barracks in Clonmel, which is being redeveloped to include part of the Technological University being created from Limerick Institute of Technology (IT) and Athlone IT.

“When it comes to lecture halls, each of the universities will have to look at the facilities they have and how do they make those facilities safe,” Harris said. “There isn’t a one-size fits all option, because universities and colleges aren’t all the same shapes and sizes.”

“Each university and college has an obligation to put a plan together to keep their own students and staff safe.”

Trinity has communicated plans for in-person lectures no larger than 150 students, with many schools setting their limits much lower. University College Dublin (UCD) plans for no size limits or social distancing requirements whatsoever.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Deptuty Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister Sociology and Social Policy student. She previously served as News Editor and Assistant News Editor.