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Dublin universities cancel on-campus activities, move most classes online

The universities agreed to implement enhanced measures in response to a request from government.

UCD college campus in Dublin.
UCD college campus in Dublin.
Image: Shutterstock/4H4 Photography

DUBLIN’S FOUR UNIVERSITIES have suspended the majority of on-campus activities and moved classes online as tighter Covid-19 restrictions look set to be implemented in the capital.

UCD, Trinity College, DCU and TU Dublin announced that all teaching and learning will be online except for practical workshop and lab-based tuition that cannot be done remotely. The third-level institutions have also suspended all on-campus student social and club activity.

It comes after the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advised the government that Dublin should move into Level 3 restrictions.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) said the institutions agreed to introduce a set of enhanced measures in response to a request from the government and NPHET to deal with the rising incidence of Covid-19 in the county.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris commended the universities for their “engagement, initiative and their willingness to adapt to the situation.”

“The introduction of heightened restrictions for Dublin at the exact time when most students are commencing their academic year has created a unique set of circumstances. Earlier this week, in light of the deterioration in the Covid-19 situation in Dublin, and following NPHET’s request, government asked that higher and further education institutions consider enhanced protective measures,” he said. 

UCD emailed students this afternoon to inform them that it is moving to Level 4 because the government has instructed higher education institutions in Dublin to take additional precautions to limit groups congregating.

The message, which was sent by UCD Registrar Professor Mark Rogers, announced that no campus activity will take place in the coming week “unless you are specifically informed that it will occur.”

The move means that first year orientation will take place online and scheduled face to face lectures, tutorials and labs will take place online or be deferred.

The on-campus libraries and study areas will remain open and campus-based research will continue. The UCD gym will also continue to operate and on-campus catering and residences will also remain open.

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Professor Rogers urged students to observe public health guidelines and said that he will write to them again next week to provide another update on the university’s plans.

“I want to assure you that whether your classes take place at distance for the next few weeks or on campus, you will still experience the best education we can offer,” he added.

The reopening of institutions outside Dublin will proceed as planned with a “blended” model of on-campus and online learning.

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Ceimin Burke

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