In a motion that was brought to the floor in UCDSU Council on Monday February 21, council voted to pass a motion which would see the body support teaching staff ahead of a maintenance vote to ensure the wearing of masks is continued in teaching settings.
This vote of support comes ahead of today, where masks have now become non-mandatory for the Irish public, including in most educational settings. Dr. Kelly Fitzgerald, who is a Lecturer, Assistant Professor and Head of the School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore is also the head of the UCD branch of IFUT (Irish Federation of University Teachers).
In council on Monday evening, Ruairí Power asked members to support the motion, speaking of the “pressure from management to get back into teaching.” He was aware that this issue might garner “a bit of pushback”, but that “mask wearing is [still] highly encouraged.” A discussion followed about mask accessibility for students, with the concern being that if students do not have to incur the financial burden of purchasing masks, they will forgo wearing them, but council was reminded that masks are freely available to students via a Google form request.
The motion passed, and Lennon Ó’Náraigh, IFUT’s UCD branch secretary and Associate Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, provided a response, stating that they were “delighted for the show of support on display in the SU Council meeting for the faculty and staff. The safe return to campus which has taken place this academic year could not have happened without such great co-operation between faculty, staff, and students and for that we are most appreciative.”