THIRD level institutions in Cork are currently scheduled to reopen for students in September in line with the current guidelines.
Third-level students are due to return to their respective institutions and campuses after they were given approval as part of the Government’s wider Covid-19 reopening plan which was published in June.
The various Cork institutions have planned accordingly on the basis that everything will return, but all will be subject to public health guidelines in operation in relation to distancing, maximum numbers and social protocols.
The facilities that are scheduled to reopen are laboratory teaching and learning, tutorials, workshops, smaller lectures, research, workplaces, libraries, canteens, sports facilities, societies and bars.
UCC is looking forward to welcoming its students back onto campus in September. A spokesperson for UCC told The Echo: “University College Cork looks forward to welcoming students back onto campus. On-campus attendance will vary by discipline but every effort is being made to maximise on-campus attendance within public health guidelines.
“Lecture numbers will be subject to a number of variable factors, such as the capacities of any given lecture hall and the prevailing guidelines from health authorities and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science.”
MTU is also endeavouring to ensure its students will have an on-campus experience during the first semester.
A spokesperson for MTU told The Echo: “MTU will be endeavouring to ensure that all students have an on-campus experience through Semester 1. Our plans are obviously all contingent on prevailing Public Health advice.
“The health and safety of our entire community remain our highest priority. Well developed and tested protocols are in place on all campuses, the national vaccination programme is very advanced, and we are all familiar with Covid-19 hygiene requirements.
We are aiming to adopt a similar approach as we did last year for Semester 1 but with the expectation that more students will be able to attend campus.
“We continue to assist staff and students with a safe return to campus.”
The spokesperson acknowledged there are two key factors in play when students return: “There are two key factors in planning for this semester.
The first is the physical distancing requirement which dictates capacity especially in our lecture halls and the second is the likelihood that we will have Covid-19 on campus.
To date, we are not aware of any Covid-19 transmission related to on-campus activity. We have contingency plans in place to respond to changes in the former and we have an experienced Sickness Management Unit to manage Covid-19 amongst our community.”
FURTHER EDUCATION COLLEGES
The Cork ETB operates many Further Education colleges, and a range of adult and further education centres delivering education and training programmes throughout Cork city and county.
John Fitzgibbon, Director of Further Education and Training at Cork Education and Training Board said they are working on arrangements for safe and sustainable operations this year.
“Cork Education and Training Board’s Further Education and Training centres and colleges including Cork College of Commerce, St John’s College, CSN College of Further Education, Mallow College of Further Education and Cork Training Centre are working on arrangements for safe and sustainable operations in the coming academic year,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.