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Minister Simon Harris arrives for a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Sam Boal
Higher Education

Over €100 million in Covid-19 support funds sought for third-level sector

The two-metre social distancing rule is also expected to apply on university campuses that reopen in the autumn.

MINISTER FOR FURTHER and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris is expected to seek Government approval for additional funding to assist the third-level sector with costs related to Covid-19 measures.

It is understood that funds in excess of €100 million are being sought for the third-level sector and that the two-metre social distancing rule will apply on campuses that open back up in the coming academic year. 

Additional money for student support will also be sought, including for devices, such as laptops, and for additional mental health supports for students.

The new Higher Education department is also expected to receive additional funds for further and higher education to get people back to work as part of the July Stimulus, the details of which are to be announced this week.

Minister Harris is to bring public-health advice to Cabinet to guide universities and colleges on how they can safely operate in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This framework will assist institutions in finalising their own reopening plans – many universities have indicated that they will open on a hybrid basis of both online and in-person classes.

Harris is to publish legislation to establish his Department, which will be debated in the Dáil and Seanad this week.

Cabinet was due to meet this afternoon to discuss the latest measures in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, but this will now be rescheduled as Taoiseach Micheál Martin is still in Brussels discussing the details of the EU’s recovery package with other heads of state.

- with reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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