DCU announce reopening plans as college presidents urge students to get vaccinated

Muiris O'Cearbhaill

This week Dublin City University announced their reopening plans to incoming and continuing undergraduate and master students.

Continuing undergraduate students and master programmes will begin on the 20th of September, while incoming first year undergraduates will begin on the 27th of September. All students are expected to complete semester one on the 18th of December.

The reopening plan places a significant emphasis on getting students back on campus as much as possible over the next academic year. This includes face-to-face classes, lab work, workshops, and other academic activities.

Catering, sporting, libraries, and other student services are also planned to be fully operational on campus however, DCU plans to avoid very large gatherings of students.

Therefore, capacity restrictions are to be placed in certain classrooms, depending on the room layout and ventilation. Classes are to be delivered online in cases where the room cannot fit to the guidelines.

DCU said they will be following the third-level reopening plan which was published in June by Minister Simon Harris and reminded returning students that they may have to adapt at short notice to any updates depending on certain circumstances.

DCU said that the university is “committed” to adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines which will include the wearing of face coverings while indoors, sanitisation units in buildings, and enhanced ventilation within classrooms.

Guidelines on social distancing are not mentioned within DCU’s reopening plan however the third-level reopening plan does outline that canteens, sporting facilities, bars and other official recreational student activities must be in accordance with the current public health advice.

The university’s reopening plan was announced following a joint statement from college presidents, urging students to register for a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

According to the joint statement from IUA, THEA and HECA, 57% of the 16 to 29 age group are fully vaccinated, with 82% of the group already registered for a vaccine.

Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said “It is gratifying to see the enthusiastic take-up of vaccines by university students for the public good.”

Ó hÓgartaigh added that getting vaccinated is a “key ingredient for the safe reopening of third-level institutions.”

DCU are offering to provide for high-risk students where vaccination is “contra-indicated” through working with the HSE and the vaccination programmes. As the vaccination programme continues, the university will also be able to bring clarity to final year students towards their upcoming graduation arrangements.

Executive Director of HECA, Patricia O’Sullivan, closed the joint statement by strongly encouraging students to take up offers for vaccination before returning to campus next month.

Muiris O’Cearbhaill

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