With just one month until students are set to return, and registration set to commence on September 1st, the majority of UCD students have still received no specific communication about their education for the coming year.
During the past week The University Observer has contacted Professor Mark Rogers, UCD Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Heads of Schools and Deans of Colleges about the recommencement of education in UCD. The paper received no reply to any of the questions outlined below:
1. When are the timetables for all students expected to be released?
2. Why have the timetables not been released to date, despite the circulation of expected time on-campus by another faculty?
3. Will international students be expected to pay the same fees as quoted on the UCD website irregardless of the number of classes held online?
4. Will it be obligatory for students to attend classes on-campus without a formal excuse?
5. Will the online alternative offered to students with difficulty attending be offered to all students regardless of their circumstances?
6. What plans has the college put in place for its classes should;
- A single student become diagnosed with Covid19?
- A cluster form in a learning environment?
- A cluster form in the UCD accommodation?
While students of Architecture and Radiography have received some formal communication of their education for the coming year, the majority of UCD students still have no idea how much in-person tuition they will be offered. It is impossible for students to predict how much time they will be scheduled on-campus, as it is said to range anywhere from 30% to 70% for undergraduate students, and 20% to 86% of the ‘normal schedule’ of postgraduate classes, according to an email circulated by Prof. Rogers on August 7th.
On July 15th UCDSU President Conor Anderson called on UCD to be transparent about their plans for on-campus learning in the coming academic year and clarify how much time students will spend on campus, rather than focussing on “attracting international students and filling on campus accommodation.” Over one month later, it would appear that UCDSUs concerns are still as relevant.
As of August 20th, the Teaching and Assessment FAQs for Students published on the UCD website states that students may not come into UCD, even those enrolled in the Summer Trimester: “The university while operational is not accessible to students in line with national guidelines”. With a sustained increase in the number of Covid-19 cases confirmed across the country, it is difficult to imagine the university recommencing any significant number of tuition on campus.