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Colleges and universities told to move most lectures online for next two weeks

The move comes as efforts step up to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris
Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris
Image: Julien Behal Photography

THE MINISTER FOR Higher Education Simon Harris has said that all higher education institutions have been asked to deliver lectures remotely where possible for the next two weeks. 

Students will be asked to visit campus for classes only when they cannot be done online. This will include practicals and labs

Already under the Level 3 restrictions in Dublin, third level institutions are asked to limit congregation as much as possible.

The news comes as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in the major urban centres including Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick, as well as Dublin.

Minister Harris confirmed the measure at a press conference this afternoon. 

He said: “This is disappointing, I know, but absolutely necessary if we are to stop the spread of this virus.

“We are also asking students to minimise travel and to minimise the number of social contacts on and off campus.

“We must do everything possible over the next few weeks to stop its spread and give students the best chance of resuming on site activity. Please stay safe and hold firm.”

He said that he doesn’t believe these measures point the finger at young people, and referenced the infamous Golfgate dinner saying “there were no young people at Clifden”. 

This decision came from advice provided by the acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn, as well as Harris’ own view, he said. 

“[It's] grounded in two things: international experience and where we are with the virus in this country,” the minister added. 

In a statement, the Irish Universities Association said all its members agreed to introduce enhanced measures over the next two-three weeks.

It said that universities will use discretion when deciding between onside and remote for the scheduling of particular activities and “favour remote delivery if feasible during the period”. 

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“On-campus provision will be minimised with priority given to teaching and learning that can only take place on-site,” it said.

Each university will communicate revised plans to student and staff, and added it was anticipated these measures would be reviewed after an initial period. 

With reporting from Adam Daly

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Sean Murray

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