Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Email Archive

Update from Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer, Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Dean of Graduate Studies

3 August 2022

Issued to DUTLs, DTLPGs and School Managers

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for the start of the new academic year, we are all conscious of the worrying levels of circulation of the Covid-19 virus. It is important that we continue to encourage students and staff to follow all those familiar guidelines relating to hand hygiene, wearing of face masks and individual responsibility for managing symptoms or illness of any kind. As ever, module coordinators will play a pivotal role in offering such encouragements, including supporting students to stay away from class where necessary. While mask wearing is not ​currently mandatory, it would be helpful were module co-ordinators to strongly recommend wearing them in lecture settings, library and other venues where people may be in close quarters. We know this mitigation is effective in limiting transmission.

Access to Learning Resources and Opportunities when Students Cannot Attend In-Person
One crucial way to support students to stay away from class where necessary is for module coordinators to reassure them that, when they do have to stay away, they will be offered access to the learning resources and opportunities necessary to fulfil the learning outcomes. This means offering hybrid lectures (in-person with streaming) and/or recorded lectures, where possible.

We recognise that offering a combination of in-person teaching and live streaming is not possible in all situations, even if teaching staff wish to offer this option. The specific resources that can be made available to students in such situations will likely differ across modules and learning situations (e.g., lectures vs. seminars, tutorials, and labs). In some instances, live streaming may be a reasonable possibility. In others, classes may be recorded and uploaded to Blackboard later, or recorded lectures from last year may be released to students who cannot physically attend. For other modules, some supplementary reading resources or information may be helpful, while in still other modules, detailed notes may already be available. 

Module coordinators are best placed to determine how best to support students to fulfil the specific learning outcomes from their own module. We therefore request that you liaise with module coordinators within your course to ensure that there is a clear plan in place that will be shared with students in the module so that they feel assured that taking a responsible decision to stay away from the campus will not unduly affect their ability to achieve the target learning outcomes for that module. As was the case last year, it will be sufficient for students to self-certify that they have Covid-19 through provision of a screen shot of a positive PCR or Antigen test.

Access to Learning Resources and Opportunities when Staff Cannot Attend In-Person
Recognising that staff too may need to self-isolate, it is important to have contingencies in place to ensure adequate provision of teaching materials to students. Where a class cannot proceed as scheduled due to illness of a staff member, it may be possible to reschedule the teaching session.  If this is not possible provision should be made to provide access to ​necessary teaching and learning materials, including through provision of a previously recorded substitute. 

We anticipate that Covid-19 will continue to interrupt our plans for normal functioning in the coming months. Bearing that in mind, it would be helpful to consider the forms of assessment planned and work to make them as flexible as possible as a mitigation.  We plan for normal assessment sessions to be adhered to, with students who cannot sit an exam due to Covid-19 deferring to the next assessment session.  For the avoidance of doubt, we do not anticipate ‘super supplemental’ sessions to be provided.

We anticipate that Courts of Examiners will be allowed a degree of latitude ​in considering students' overall performance and standing as a pragmatic measure, and that they may need to exercise flexibility where students have missed lectures/labs/practicals due to Covid-19. 

We are relying on you to disseminate this message to staff and students prior to the start of the year so they will be prepared.   We are conscious that some of the DUTLs and DTLPGs have changed and we would ask that you please redirect this email as appropriate.   We are grateful to you for your assistance in this regard. ​

Kind regards,

Orla Sheils
Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer

David Shepherd
Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Martine Smith
Dean of Graduate Studies