College plans for “increase” in face-to-face teaching in semester two

The Provost says that students should expect more on-campus activities even if Level 5 restrictions return in 2021

College aims to “increase the amount of face-to-face teaching in small group seminars and tutorials” in Hilary term, the Provost has announced.

In an email sent to all staff and students yesterday, Patrick Prendergast explained the “likely outlook” for how Trinity will operate when teaching and research restart after the Christmas break. He cited the nationwide move out of Level 5 restrictions planned for the start of December as well as the government’s encouragement of third level institutions to attempt more in-person activities in the new year as reasons for the effort.

Courses “that under level 5 have been entirely online” will be a priority for the increase in face-to-face learning, according to the email. Measures will be put in place to ensure full adherence to public health guidelines, and large lectures will remain online for the entirety of the semester. “Hybrid teaching” will also be used more frequently in the coming semester, “to facilitate students who cannot attend face-to-face teaching” for various reasons.

The Provost also promised that College would announce the details of all new arrangements at least two weeks in advance of their implementation.

Prendergast went on to caution that wider public health circumstances were subject to change, and that Ireland may move back to Level 5 restrictions for a time again in early 2021. However, he said that College has “a greater understanding of the risks involved and how to mitigate those risks”, and that there would be more on-campus activity even under Level 5 in future.

The email also said that researchers should “continue to follow the guidelines” that have been in place for them up to now, but that their situation will be “closer to normal” in the new year.

The Provost also detailed the arrangements for Trinity’s operation during the holiday period. Study spaces will be available on-campus throughout the break in classes, with the exception of December 25. Further details about how those spaces will operate and the situation for students living on campus over the Christmas break is to be published on College’s Coronavirus portal next week.

International students who return home during the holidays may have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return. The email said that “programmes will facilitate them to take their classes fully remotely” during this time, including for mandatory onsite classes.

The Student Counselling Service, College Health Service, and a number of other student services will also continue to operate throughout the break. College also plans to organise a number of social activities for all students over the holidays, including the “12 walks of Christmas”. Details of these are to be announced soon.

The Michaelmas teaching term ends on Friday December 18, followed by a two week break for Christmas and the New Year. A one week revision period begins on 4 January 2021, followed by two weeks of assessments beginning January 11. The Foundation Scholarship exams will also take place during this time. The Hilary teaching term begins on Monday February 1.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.