Trinity Provost Professor Patrick Prendergast has reassured Leaving Cert students that they will be starting college in the autumn.
“It might be slightly later than in previous years. It might be under slightly-adjusted criteria. But we will be welcoming you,” he said.
His comments reflect the ongoing uncertainty over the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis on the education system, with schools already not due to re-open until April 20 at the earliest.
The Government is still hoping to run the State exams on schedule, starting on June 3, although that will depend on the evolving situation.
If June 3 is not feasible, the start date would have to be delayed but there remains a commitment to enabling students to start college in the autumn.
Prof Prendergast did not elaborate on what he meant by “slightly adjusted criteria”, but already Covid-19 has caused the cancellation of the orals and practicals.
The Provost’s comments came in a video address to the Trinity community which went out on social media this evening.
And addressing any concerns being felt by Trinity’s own students, he said they should “be assured that we’re working tirelessly, to make sure that the exam system this year will be fair, and will reflect the hard work that you’ve put in.”
Almost all exams will be online, and April’s graduations will be live-streamed, and students conferred with their degrees in absentia.
Prof Prendergast acknowledged that the Covid-19 crisis would hit the university’s finances but said that it was in a good position to “weather the storm.”
“For the medium and long-term, after this crisis has peaked – as it will – we know that there will be consequences and after-effects, some of them severe.
“Like almost all institutions, businesses and individuals, we will take a financial hit from this – all our revenue streams will be affected and extra costs will be incurred.
“On the plus side, there are no immediate financial issues. In the last five or six years, we’ve worked tremendously hard to secure the college finances which means we can weather this storm, at least for the moment. We have time to plan. We won’t let our mission in education, research and innovation be derailed.
“I’m not saying there won’t be challenges, seen and unforeseen. But we are fortunate in our remarkable global community - we know that you will work with us to secure the future of our great university.”
He said an eerie silence had fallen over Trinity and with teaching now entirely online, almost all staff are working remotely from home, conferences, exhibitions and sporting events cancelled, or postponed.
“It’s sobering to realise that throughout Trinity’s long history, our campus has never been this silent,” he said.