Individual schools to be left to determine restrictions, College clarifies

School of physics restrictions on face-to-face teaching do not represent a College-wide policy

Update: College has since announced university-wide policies which confirm many of the school of physics’ announcements, despite the claims of the spokesperson in this article.

Decisions conveyed to students in the school of physics will not be a College-wide policy, College confirmed this morning.

Speaking to Trinity News this morning, a College spokesperson confirmed that details from the school of physics email would not be Trinity or “nationwide”.

Last night, it was reported that College-wide restrictions on large lectures were to last at least until November 1, according to an email from the school of physics seen by Trinity News.

A College spokesperson stated this morning: “Trinity is engaged in a detailed consultation process with all relevant parts of the university to map out the plan for a return to college next month.” 

“That process is not yet complete so it is premature to talk of social distancing rules or the size of lectures in November.”

In the email sent to students in the school of physics, it claimed that from the beginning of November, “all lectures will be on campus and face-to-face”.

The email did not say if the resumption of large lectures on this date would happen College-wide, but did say that social distancing requirements specifically would be relaxed then and claimed that this was a national-level decision.

Speaking to Trinity News today, College continued: “The consultations will finish by the end of month and will then be communicated to students and staff.”

“Each school within Trinity has been asked to make all lectures for more than 150 students online and to make all lectures for fewer than 50 students in-person,” the College spokesperson confirmed. “There is discretion for schools regarding lectures for between 50 and 150 students.”

The school of physics in their email explained that the postponement of large scale lectures until November 1 is to allow all students in the 18-24 age cohort to receive both their first and second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The email claimed that “this is the situation for all the Irish universities”.

The email also stated that the school will be required to enforce social distancing of one metre from the first week of term, which will make lectures with more than 50 people in the school impossible to hold.

However, speaking to Trinity News, a College spokesperson added: “Government, which has always been respectful of university autonomy,  is encouraging each university to make its own rules based on the situation on the ground.”

“Each university is making its own provisions for the return to College.”

This is in line with what was reported yesterday in the College Tribune, stating University College Dublin (UCD) plans to return to face-to-face teaching across the board from the beginning of the semester, with no lecture size limits and no social distancing requirements.

The school of physics plans to, until November 1, which is halfway through term and marks the beginning of Reading Week, hold all lectures over 50 students as pre-recorded videos online. All physics students will be in laboratories and tutorials, the email claimed, from the first week of term on September 13.

A timeline for Trinity’s eventual lifting of the 150 person cap on lectures has not been announced.

Additional reporting by Jack Kennedy.

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.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Editor-in-Chief of Trinity News, and a graduate of Sociology and Social Policy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.