Dec 3, 2021

RDS to Hold Exams at Less Than 50% Capacity

The reduced capacity will allow for social distancing of 1.5 metres between students.

Jody Druce News Editor

In-person exams will be held in the RDS at under 50 per cent capacity, after more exams have been moved online.

The space will allow for social distancing of 1.5 metres between students.

In-person examinations taking place in the RDS from Monday, December 13th to Friday, December 17th will hold between 390 and 1,268 students, corresponding to between 13 and 44 per cent of the venue’s total capacity.


In an email statement to The University Times, Trinity Media Relations Officer Thomas Deane said: “Exams fall into the education category and as such have been deemed essential activity.”

“That being said”, he added, “the decision to move more of our exams online than originally planned has meant that we’ve been able to increase distancing further”.

In an email to students last Friday, Senior Lecturer David Shepherd said that in-person exams will go ahead unless government regulations change in the interim.

Shepherd said that “current plans are in keeping with government guidance and with the plans of other universities”.

If government guidelines change, “we will contact you as soon as possible and where possible examinations will be switched online”, he added.

Since then, the Department of French has moved all written exams online “in light of the worsening public health situations”.

Head of the department James Hanrahan told students in an email: “While we were keen to hold in-person exams this term because of our belief that this is the best way to assess the learning outcomes of the modules which are assessed by formal examination, we are concerned about the risks posed by in-person exams for staff and students, and the practical difficulties for students posed by the most recent public health restrictions.”

“The best way to accommodate as many students as possible in this exam session is therefore to hold exams online.”

Speaking in the Seanad this week, Senator Alice Mary Higgins said: “I have been contacted by students from National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin and UCD. It is vital they be given the option of remote exams. We know it is possible because we did it last year.”

“Insisting on in-person exams in crowded exam halls is unnecessary and we should not take any unnecessary risks.”

In the Dáil on Wednesday, Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív asked whether the Department of Higher Education and Skills plans to introduce health regulations in relation to holding in-person exams, “in view of the risk that they might become super-spreader events”.

In a written response, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said that his department has “no intention” of doing so as a “one size fits all approach would not be appropriate”.

Instead, the government will allow individual institutions to decide whether to hold exams in person or not.

University College Dublin has said it will allow module coordinators to decide the format of exams.

University College Cork (UCC) will have the vast majority of this semester’s exams online.

A small number of exams in UCC will still be held in person for courses that need to meet certain accreditation or professional body requirements.

Sign Up to Our Weekly Newsletters

Get The University Times into your inbox twice a week.