Students return to lectures and classes today after 550 days

Most students have not had on campus activity since 12 March 2020

Trinity students will return to in-person learning today, over 550 days after they last sat in a classroom. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, Trinity postponed large-scale in-person lectures due to the nature of the pandemic on March 12, with government announcing all colleges and schools were to close on 13 March 2020.

While students were originally told they would return to classes after two weeks, many have not been in face-to-face classes since. 

Since then, many students have not had any campus activity, which is due to change this morning. For the first time in over a year and a half, students will have in-person, socially distanced and small classes and lectures. 

While College has previously said lectures between 50-150 students can take place in person at individual schools’ discretion, many schools are unable to provide this due to room allocations.

Students were told last September that a “blended learning” experience would be in place for some. However, due to the escalating Covid-19 cases and waves throughout last year, students did not get to return to in-person classes, and teaching remained largely online, with a few tutorials taking place in person. Again at the beginning of Hilary term 2021, promises of an in-person return never came to pass.

Universities never returned in the 2020/21 academic year, despite students being repeatedly promised throughout the year that they would get some level of in-person learning. While international students did move to Ireland under the promise of some on-campus activity, many were left with online learning in their rented accommodation.

However, the unpredictability of Covid-19 alongside the refusal of government and College to admit they were moving entirely online for the year kept students hopeful.

Students are resuming in-person learning today for the 2021/22 academic year. This is a record 550 days without any on campus activity for many returning students, and no on campus activity for incoming senior fresher students. While not all lectures will resume today, smaller lectures and tutorials will be taking place face-to-face.

College is adopting a two-phase approach to this semester, with restrictions such as social distancing requirements and lecture sizes to be loosened an unspecified amount after Reading Week which begins October 25. 

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.