In the first part of this report of the current state of student life and Covid 19 I spoke very briefly about the governments ‘’roadmap’’ to reopening the countries pubs, events and nightclubs but let’s take a closer look at how the University might open back up in September.
Sources from other universities are looking to propose introducing lectures online and labs on campus, so how will this work while maintaining the 2 mtr social distancing?
Lectures will be delivered through zoom and google hangouts with the lecturer modifying their approach to how they can communicate the module while students who are required to attend on campus labs will need to be informed on the required social distancing measures such as whether a face mask will be made mandatory to be worn while a student is on campus. Any issue with students having to attend on campus classes would be the necessary travel they would need to take to attend classes which really depends on if a student has access to a car which will make limiting social interaction with other students and social distancing easier but for students who do not own a car or do not drive will have to take public transport which could be an issue if a bus is at full capacity or it is impossible to maintain social distancing if the bus is crowded and the space between the seats is not being a heard to by other people on the bus.
Sorcha Ni Chonghaile who is currently studying a Bachelors in Education in DCU speaks to me about the challenges they will face in the new semester.
‘’My fellow students and I have been keeping everyone connected with each other on an informal level using social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp and the DCU Student union were good at keeping us in loop on the situation ongoing as it unfolded with regards to starting back in September and the rest of the year ahead. It was difficult to keep informed with my academic school in the university with the upcoming work placement, understandably which has been difficult for the university and lecturers to provide us with the clarity of information to us when they didn’t have any idea to when the school would be reopening in September or not. My lecturers were much more accommodating than what I expected and were fantastic at responding to queries from us quite readily if we needed either academic support online or personal queries’’.
If DCU was to reopen in September would you feel comfortable going back if you needed to attend a class or lecture in person with your lecturers and other classmates?
‘’For me, it would a challenge to go back to into college for lectures or classes because as I am immunocompromised and I am nervous to return to a setting where I could be at risk however having had been kept updated on their plans to date, I am confident that DCU won’t put us at harm needlessly. There are certain classes which cannot be delivered over Zoom but these could be delivered distanced with staggered or altered schedules’’.
Do you think the university should provide the students who have to attend classes on the DCU campus with face masks?
‘’To a certain extent, I do. I have a steady supply of masks myself due to being immune compromised and wanting to stay on safe side in case I cannot source them, but these do come at a cost. I think a provision of subsidised masks for those who don’t already have them would probably be more effective.
Has the university been keeping their students up to date with what is happening?
‘’The university have kept us well informed to date, it has been a comfort to us as students to know that even if the update isn’t fantastic news, they will keep us in loop. Especially with accommodation on campus, the announcement of flexible short term lets was a relief to many who don’t need to be on campus for full academic term with hybrid learning. I do think DCU have handled it better than some other institutions, making decisions with the SU and student voice at table from beginning of pandemic and I hope they continue that way going forward’’.
As everything is unfolding and the government continues to update the country on the next steps to ensure we don’t have a 2nd wave of the virus please keep up to date the best you can as news from the Student union and the Government is announced.
Protect yourself and others from coronavirus – HSE