May 7, 2020

Uncertainty Over Fate of Freshers’ Fair, With Social Distancing Likely

TCDSU president Laura Beston said that ‘any event on campus must comply with all regulations including social distancing’.

Emer MoreauNews Editor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Trinity’s freshers’ fair – the centrepiece of students’ first taste of College life – is likely to take place with social distancing measures, but it’s not clear when it will happen amid ongoing uncertainty about when students in different years will return next year.

The postponement of the leaving certificate to late July means that incoming first-year students are unlikely to start college on time – and when they do start, they could be attending some of their lectures online.

In an email statement to The University Times, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union President Laura Beston said: “There is uncertainty about the leaving cert and when CAO offers are to be made. Regardless of when this happens any event on campus must comply with all regulations including social distancing and that is what we will do for all activities including Freshers Week 2020.”


“Student representative bodies SU, CSC, DUCAC, GSU and Pubs will put on the best Freshers possible”, Beston added.

All teaching in Trinity has been taking place online since March, when the government instructed Ireland’s universities to close their doors. College had previously moved lectures online for the rest of the semester, while tutorials, seminars and labs were still taking place in person.

Last month, The University Times reported that College is considering moving large lectures online for the first semester of next year, with the return of some face-to-face teaching potentially pushed back until as late as January 2021.

In an email statement to The University Times Lee Campbell, the chair of the Central Societies Committee, said: “Given the current ambiguity around plans for the Leaving Certificate and the reopening of the College more generally we’re not in a position to speculate as to what form Freshers Fair might take next term. As members of the COVID-19 working-group, we have been working with College and will continue to work with them to develop a roadmap for society activity which adheres to Government and Public Health advice.”

“For now”, Campbell said, “I think the College community can take solace in how our societies have already dealt with the situation to date. Despite mounting challenges, it has been inspiring to watch our societies rise to the task and surmount these challenges, excelling despite the obstacles”.

Yesterday, The University Times reported that the Pavilion Bar is currently exploring social distancing measures as a result of the coronavirus, but has not set a definitive date for when it will re-open.

Ireland’s pubs have been closed for almost two months now, with plans for their opening under discussion amid debate over whether they can return to business before August 10th if social distancing protocols are in place.

Pav Chair Cyril Smyth wrote in an email to The University Times that the bar is “already thinking through issues that will be involved such as the social distancing in the new ‘normal’ and how this can be managed”.

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