UCD Students’ Union welcomed the announcement by University College Dublin (UCD) on the 11th of November that online learning will continue for the remainder of the academic year. Students currently learning online will be permitted to continue to do so even if on-campus classes return. 

UCDSU president Conor Anderson commented: “We welcome the announcement that classes will remain online for the remainder of the academic year. Not because students want to learn online. We want to be back on campus and to have full access to the social aspects of college life as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we know that the likelihood of it being safe to do so in the next six months is not realistic”. 

He noted the implications of the announcement for students from outside of Dublin and that students can stop waiting in hope of the return of in-person classes. “International students can return home to be with their families and stop paying high rent in Ireland.” He stated, “we can look forward and make informed financial decisions about where we will live and how we will study”.

Anderson also recognised the negative implications of yet another semester online saying “many students do feel disappointed, further isolated and lonely at the prospect of another semester online”. However, he advises students of the wide range of supports across the university for those struggling and that “the best starting point is to reach out to your Student Advisor or your Welfare Officer in your Students’ Union.” On behalf of UCDSU, he encouraged the family and friends of students to reach out to the college students in their lives and show them support. 

If government advice changes and on-campus classes do return in the spring semester the university has provided clarity on how such classes will operate. Schools will be supported in providing face-to-face activities where they consider it educationally appropriate to do so in compliance with health and safety guidelines. Students will have the option to remain online and residences will continue to remain fully open.

Adam O’Sullivan – Reporter