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Update from Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer and College Secretary to staff and students

22 December 2020

Dear Staff and Students,

As first semester teaching finishes and College is preparing to close for the Christmas break, we want to thank you all for your strong spirit, tremendous work and great discipline that enabled us to make a success of this semester under uniquely challenging circumstances. We dealt with many difficulties together and had to make many sacrifices. As a community and individually we can be very proud of how we got through the first half of this pandemic academic year.

We had hoped and planned to confirm to you at this point our definite plans for teaching in semester 2 which begins on 1st February 2021, following on from the communication we sent at the end of November when the country exited level 5 restrictions. The rapid increase in cases over the last few days and the increased uncertainty about the impact the new strain of the virus might have on public health guidelines and restrictions unfortunately has made this impossible and we have to ask you for a little more patience. We are absolutely committed to enabling the best possible educational experience that conditions allow while prioritising the health and safety of students and staff. With this goal in mind we will carefully monitor the evolving situation and the government responses to it. We now plan to communicate our decisions on the format of semester 2 teaching in the week starting Monday 4th January 2021 based on public health guidelines.

We would again like to recognise the tremendous dedication and efforts of staff and students over the past year, which has been truly inspirational. Next semester will still be challenging, but with the roll out of the vaccine in Ireland and internationally there is every reason to hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight. In the meantime, we wish you and your families the very best for a safe and peaceful holiday period.

Professor Jürgen Barkhoff, Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer
An tOllamh Jürgen Barkhoff, An Leas-Phropast/Príomhoifigeach Acadúil/Agus An Leas-Uachtharán

John Coman, Secretary to the College
Seán Ó Comáin, Rúnaí an Choláiste