Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has issued a statement calling for College to move all exams scheduled for next week online, in light of the current public health situation.
The union said that the current plans for the assessment period are “not reflective of the current public health advice”.
It noted that College requires students seeking to defer exams to provide evidence of a positive PCR result, having been listed as a close contact, or an inability to book a PCR test.
However, new government guidelines have been issued since Trinity adopted that policy, de-emphasising the role of PCR tests for people aged four to 39 in favour of antigen tests, as the PCR testing system remains overloaded.
TCDSU Education Officer Bev Genockey said: “TCDSU and its representatives spent a large portion of last semester advocating for the automatic right to defer exams, and if ever there was a time to implement this – especially in the context of junior fresh exams – it would be now.”
College did not offer an automatic right to deferral in exams for continuing years, held in December.
Genockey continued: “Moreover, when the impact on invigilators, students and families is considered, it becomes increasingly apparent that the safest approach for college to take is to move exams online entirely.”
Foundation scholarship (Schols) exams, which are open to second year students, and Michaelmas term exams for first year students are due to begin next Monday (January 10). Schols exams are to be held in-person, while first year assessments will be a mixture of in-person and online.
Yesterday, January 5, Ireland reported the seventh-worst rate of new Covid cases of all countries worldwide, according to Our World in Data.
Speaking of Schols, Genockey added: “Last year, scholarship exams ran online, smoothly, and maintained the integrity of the exam to as high a standard as possible in the midst of the public health crisis that we are still experiencing.”
“What reason should we have to believe that this year would be any different, and for what reason should individuals’ health be put at risk unnecessarily?”
Earlier today, Trinity announced that it will be operating a walk-in vaccine clinic from Monday for students and staff to receive booster or initial vaccination shots.