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Statement from Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) on face-to-face teaching and return to campus.

Tuesday, 14th September, 2021 (14/09/21)

Face to Face Teaching Press Release: 

Statement from Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) on face-to-face  teaching and return to campus.  

Dear students, we hear you loud and clear.

Your Union has and continues to sit on a number of covid related committees throughout the  past year, between the President, Education Officer & their predecessors. At these commit tees we have consistently reiterated students’ desire for maximised in person teaching, and  the return of student life on campus(es).

We worked to get a number of concessions from the college added into the Return to Cam pus document; unrestricted student access to campus, in-person graduations, & outdoor  student spaces. We have successfully lobbied the college to increase the number of residents  permitted in each apartment building to double the number residing in that apartment.  

As student representatives, we have consistently been balancing students’ desire for in-per son teaching, with other students’ covid-related anxieties. While many students wished for a  full return like that of other Universities, there were also many students who were anxious  about returning to campus in a safe manner.  

Our priority is making sure that your voices are heard:

  • We are lobbying for library capacity and opening hours to be increased
  • We are advocating for lectures to continue be recorded and the accommodating of  students with extenuating circumstances that stop them from fully returning to campus
  • We are reopening our 11 student spaces for both social activity and to accommodate  students with back-to-back in person and online classes
  • We are asking that College fulfill their promise by affording all students an element of  in-person teaching

Trinity’s Return to Campus plan was not just the product of student’s desires, but rather the  balance of desires from different stakeholders such as public health experts and IFUT Reps.  This document was justified to us based on public health guidelines in society at large, the  predicted peak in cases over the first weeks of semester, and the fact that education provid ers are legally unable to ask for vaccine status.

Although the original plan was conservative, every student was promised an element of  in-person teaching, along with constant review of restrictions as the weeks went on. With the  release of timetables in recent days, it has become apparent that this plan is not being carried out as promised. Students were told that classes of less than 50 people would take place  in-person, however, various schools have since announced that this term will be entirely  online. This directly contradicts the College’s commitment to constant revision of guidelines.  Additionally, there have been very few attempts made to rotate in-person attendance to facilitate on-campus learning, as was specified in this document.  

These constant contradictions and lack of communication are not simply good enough. Stu dents were told that it would be necessary for them to be in Dublin this term for in-person  teaching, many have signed leases only to learn that all of their classes will be taking place  online. This is not the dream we were sold.

As your Union, we will continue to lobby for student interests and push for clarity from the  college. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. We’ll be holding a Return to Campus  Town Hall this Friday at 1p.m, you can find the link in the linktree in our social media bios.

Le Meas,  
Trinity College Dublin Student’s Union (TCDSU)

Leah Keogh, President  
Bev Genockey, Education Officer
Sierra Müller-Owens, Welfare & Equality  
Aoife Cronin, Communications & Marketing Officer
Greg Arrowsmith, Entertainments Officer