A Dundalk TD called for further clarity on the reopening of third-level institutions, as colleges like Dundalk IT gear up to bring students back onto campuses.
Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú, in a question session with Higher Education Minister Simon Harris, asked if the Minister could provide more clarity on the reopening of colleges and universities, alongside plans to ensure students get the college experience they deserve.
Minister Harris says that under current plans they will be treating college campuses as if they are villages or small towns.
“What is safe to do in a town or village needs to be safe to do on a college campus,” said Minister Harris.
The Minister also said that they are seeking to get large-scale lectures back, but that call will be made based on the public health situation in a few weeks time.
Currently, the government is planning for every adult to be vaccinated by the end of August, which Minister Harris says will provide additional safety to college students returning to education.
“We need to try everything possible to get people's lives back on track,” said Minister Harris.
DKIT Student Union President Christopher O’Neill has welcomed commitments by Minister Harris to get students back on campuses this September, saying that he wants all students on campus to feel safe.
“I would be happy enough for students who feel safe to return to campus do return to campus. At the end of the day it’s all about putting out students health before everything else,” said Mr O’Neill.
“I think students are crying out to return to normality.”
Mr O’Neill says that as the pandemic appears to be receding, he hopes that students will see a return to normality and that they will be prioritized after a year of Zoom lectures.
“I would hope that third-level students this time would be put first. It feels like we’ve been left behind in the last year,” said Mr O’Neill.
“It’s good to see Minister Harris come out and say students will be back on campus and that’s what we’re all hoping for.”
According to Minister Harris, he will be reporting to the cabinet on July 19th with an update on colleges, saying that it will provide further clarity to allow colleges to create individual timetables for returning students.
There are currently four colleges participating in an antigen test pilot: University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway and University College Cork.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.