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Update from Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer & Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer to undergraduate students

19 November 2021

Dear undergraduate students,

As we head towards the assessment period that marks the end of the teaching semester, we know that many of you are concerned about the scheduled examinations, and we wish to now address those concerns. In this email we want to re-state the current plans and reassure you that we are working in the background to ensure everyone’s safety and to minimise the impact on any students who are unable to take an in-person exam for Covid-related reasons.

We also want to assure you that we are working on contingency plans in case the public health guidelines change and we are not permitted to deliver in-person exams. However, our information at present suggests the advice to universities is unlikely to change. In other words, in line with most other universities we still expect to carry out exams using a mix of in-person and online assessments outlined below.

Current Plans 

  • The Semester 1 2021/22 Examination Session is currently scheduled to be a hybrid session with both online and in-person assessments. The venues for the in-person examinations are RDS Simmonscourt and campus venues for small groups and individuals. 
  • The Semester 1 assessment period is set to run from 8th December 2021 – 17th December 2021 (this includes three contingency days) and for Junior Fresh Exams from 10th January 2022- 14th January 2022. 
  • At present, the assessment session has 25,959 exam sittings in December 2021 and 4,180 exam sittings scheduled in January 2022. Of these exam sittings 17,443 are online exam sittings and 12,696 are in-person exam sittings. 
  • At present the RDS Simmonscourt is timetabled at approx. 60% capacity with a maximum of 1,600 students per session for two (2) sessions per day. 
  • Your exam timetable was released to you on Friday, 12th November 2021. 

The rising Covid numbers are a concern for us all here at Trinity. We are closely monitoring public health advice and are in contact with the other universities to explore all options to try to minimise the impact on individual students. 

We will send more details next week on how the impact will be minimised to ensure that anybody who is affected by Covid, and is therefore unable to take exams, can take those exams quickly later in December or early in the new year. We will also be looking at capacity on campus for students who are experiencing problems with wifi at home and are being asked to do exams online.

We have been here before, and we all hoped we would not face the same challenges again. However, past experience has shown us that flexible and creative solutions are possible and that we can work together to overcome the current uncertainties. Each solution brings its own challenges. We are currently working through those issues to make sure that any decision we make is carefully thought through. We are grateful that your representatives in the SU have ensured that the student voice is strong and clear throughout this process, and that they will continue to do so.

Our aim is to work through final issues over the coming days and we will be in touch early next week with specific information about plans for in-person exams.

Yours sincerely,

Orla Sheils, Vice Provost and Chief Academic Officer

David Shepherd, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer