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Update from Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer & Deputy President to staff

3 June 2020

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you that at today's University Council meeting dates for the 2020/21 academic year were approved. Teaching for the first semester will start for all undergraduate and postgraduate students on Monday 28 September; this is two weeks later than originally planned. Study Week will run from 9 - 13 November and the semester will finish on Friday 18 December. Very few professional courses will have different start dates and students on these courses will be advised separately.

Semester 1 assessment will now take place during the week starting 11 January 2021 instead of before Christmas. There is a possibility that these assessments may run for a second week in parallel to the Scholarship examinations. Semester 1 assessments will predominately be online apart from a very small number of exceptions determined by the Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies or Dean of Graduate Studies.

Orientation Week for all new entrants, both undergraduate and postgraduate, will take place in the week before teaching resumes, i.e. in the week beginning 21 September. It will include some online introductory sessions on the use of the digital/online teaching and some elements of face-to-face activity dependent on government social distancing protocols at the time.

I very much look forward to welcoming students back on campus. Tuition in Semester 1 will follow a hybrid model which combines online and face to face elements such as offering online lectures for larger class groupings and face-to-face seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes for smaller groups. As much face-to-face teaching and learning as possible will be provided under prevailing health and safety requirements reflecting our belief that personal interaction between both students, and between students and lecturers, is a vital component of a Trinity education.

A Resumption of Teaching Working Group is currently working out different scenarios of how to deliver this hybrid teaching format depending on what social distancing protocols will be in force at the time. This will include scenarios for fully online delivery in the case of a second wave of COVID-19 resulting in another lockdown. Decisions on modes of teaching in Semester 2 will be taken closer to the time based on the public health situation.

Semester 2 will start one week later as originally planned from 1 February to 23 April 2021 with Study Week running from 15 March. End of Semester 2 assessment will take place from 10 May.

I would like to sincerely thank the many staff who have been engaged in the very detailed work that has been necessary, and will be necessary over the summer, to re-open Trinity and make our campus as safe and as welcoming an environment as possible for our college community.

Information continues to be added to the COVID-19 FAQs website and I encourage you to visit it as a useful place to find out updates on what is planned in the months ahead. 

Please join us for a staff Zoom webinar tomorrow, Thursday 4 June from 11.30am – 12.30pm during which the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Prof Áine Kelly, Chair of the Resumption of Teaching Working Group, and Mike Clarke, Director of Campus Infrastructure will discuss some of the practicalities of the return to teaching on 28 September.

You are invited to send questions through in advance to for a Q&A session moderated by Tom Molloy, Director of Public Affairs and Communications. Members of the Phased Resumption of Activities Group will also be available to answer questions. 

Kind regards

Prof. Jürgen Barkhoff
Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer & Deputy President