College has yet to make a decision on when and how it will re-open its accommodation next year, with questions unanswered about the logistics of moving students back into communal living arrangements.
After the government’s announcement on Friday that students starting college next year will get their marks based off calculated grades, it now seems likely that incoming freshers will start at the same time as current students.
But College hasn’t made final decisions yet on the details of how it will re-open Trinity Hall and its on-campus accommodation, Catherine O’Mahony, a Trinity media relations officer, told The University Times.
In an email, she wrote: “All of these matters remain under consideration in light of the ongoing challenges related to Covid-19. We will follow Government guidelines at all times.”
Trinity did not respond directly to questions about when Trinity hopes to re-open its accommodation, and about the nature of discussions on how it will do so, given the risks associated with moving students from all over the world into shared apartments.
On Friday, Provost Patrick Prendergast confirmed that online teaching will continue into next year, along with a return to real-life contact “in a responsible way”.
In a video released on Twitter, Prendergast said large lectures will be delivered online, while smaller lectures, seminars and tutorials will return to campus. Groups will, however, be moved into larger lecture theatres to allow for social distancing.
Last month, this newspaper reported that Trinity was considering moving large lectures online until January 2021.
Elsewhere, the fate of next year’s freshers’ week remains uncertain, with social distancing likely for College’s annual week-long fair in Front Square, but no date in place for when it will take place.
Accommodation has been a contentious issue in Trinity in recent months. In March, Trinity instructed its residents to vacate their accommodation and stay home “until notified otherwise”, giving Irish students 24 hours’ notice and international students just 48 hours to leave.
The move prompted widespread backlash among students, with many international students left scrambling to find a way home – a situation that caused “stress and anxiety” for many.
Many international students hit out at the College in interviews with The University Times, with one labelling the decision “unprofessional” and another asking: “What the hell were they thinking?”
In April, residents in Trinity Hall condemned the College’s move to charge them rent over the extended exam period, as well as for its decision to move all residents staying longer than May 17th into the same apartment block.