A spokesperson for College has told Trinity News that the period after Reading Week “may involve some use of hybrid teaching”.
A final decision on all of College’s plans for the second half of the semester “will be taken on Wednesday this week” (October 20). This will be “following the government announcement on its own plans after October 22”.
College noted that “Schools are planning their timetabling as best suits their own room allocations and class sizes”. They are doing so “with support from College with a view to maximising in-person teaching for students”.
However, the spokesperson said “the outcomes will differ by school and may involve some use of hybrid teaching in certain cases”. This will depend on “class size and availability of rooms”.
They also plan to “remove the requirement for social distancing in academic contexts” which will “enable more teaching to be face to face”.
The combination of fixed room allocations to schools within Trinity and social distancing requirements made many schools unable to hold classes in person even below College’s specified minimum size in the first half of term.
The government is due to remove almost all of the remaining public health restrictions this Friday October 22. A final decision on whether this will proceed will be taken by cabinet tomorrow (October 19).
On October 7 it was announced that all Trinity libraries will return to full capacity and no longer require students to make bookings starting on Friday October 22, just before the beginning of Reading Week.
All 3,000 library seats can be used from October 22.
On October 1 Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) called on the heads of schools to maximise in-person teaching available to students after reading week, and to re-timetable to that end.
In the open letter, the union expressed “deep concern” regarding timetables for the second half of the semester, saying: “there is no plan to re-timetable… and little will change in the way of students’ current experience.”
“We strongly believe that by November 1, only classes over 500 and those that have always been taught online for pedagogical reasons should be online”, the letter continued.
The following Wednesday, Vice Provost Orla Shieils sent a letter asking Schools to “flag obstacles getting in the way of a full return to campus”.
Reading Week for second, third and fourth years is due to begin on October 25 with a full return proposed for November 1.