UCC announces plans to deliver large amount of teaching online for next semester

UCC announces plans to deliver large amount of teaching online for next semester

Interim president John O’Halloran and Professor Stephen Byrne said in a message to students that they made the decision to provide some degree of certainty for the new yea

UCC has announced plans to operate its second semester in a similar manner to the first, where a significant proportion of teaching has been delivered online.

For their first semester, the university remained open with restrictions in place. A large percentage of lectures were delivered online, while research, laboratory, and practical work was carried out on campus where possible.

Interim president John O’Halloran and Professor Stephen Byrne said in a message to students that they made the decision to provide some degree of certainty for the new year.

“We regard the needs and welfare of our students and staff as central to everything we do in UCC. We have made the decision that the next semester will operate in a similar way to semester 1. 

"Our ambition is to increase in-person teaching and face-to-face activities on campus, should evolving public health guidelines permit it. If this is the case, we will make every effort to do so."

They acknowledged the acute disappointment students will feel with this latest announcement and they reserved great praise for the role students have played to date. 

“We appreciate the news will come as a potential disappointment. Unfortunately, the virus is still in our community. We all need to remain vigilant in the weeks and months ahead. I would like to thank everyone for their efforts. The Student Union has also shown great leadership. We all need to work together to keep each other safe," the message said. 

UCC Students Union President Naoise Crowley reacted positively to the plans to increase on-campus hours for students depending on public health guidelines.

“UCC has decided to continue with predominantly online learning for the Second Semester. However, they have also committed to doing all possible to increase on-campus hours for students, subject to public health guidelines. We will be continuing to advocate for the continuation of those supports in Semester 2, and working with public health officials to increase hours on campus where possible, " he said.

Mr Crowley said that students however continue to have a hard time adjusting to the ‘new normal’, with lots of financial worries affecting students at present. 

“The pandemic has been very challenging for students and young people, especially with regards to mental health. The move to online lectures along with all the usual issues students face, including financial hardship and accommodation difficulties has been hard on everyone.” 

Reforms to the SUSI grants which have been promised by Minister Harris represent a great boost to students acknowledged Mr Crowley. “Things have been hard for students, but I think things are looking up. The Third Level Sector will be pivotal to the economy's recovery post-Covid, and swift action needs to be taken to ensure the accessibility and quality of higher education. The promise of SUSI grant reform by Minister Harris is welcomed, and much needed at a time where many families around the country are struggling. Increasing grant amounts and very importantly thresholds are needed now more than ever,” he added.

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