The University of Limerick will hold on-campus lectures for one week a month for most students, the university confirmed today.
First year undergraduates will attend on-campus lectures every three weeks, while all other students, including postgraduates, will attend lectures in person every four weeks.
In an email to students today, Vice President Professor Kerstin Mey, on behalf of the Academic Planning Group at UL, said that on-campus weeks are altered to ensure a minimum number of people on campus at any time to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
“This approach, including on-campus and online learning, minimises the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak by using social bubbles (keeping year groups together) and a circuit breaker (periods off campus) based on scientific insight into the spread of the virus,” she wrote.
It is understood that it has been “well flagged” in advance that only a certain percentage of students will be able to be on campus at any one time and decisions were made with public health guidance in mind.
The campus will reopen on September 28 and apart from lectures taking place during the designated on campus weeks, all other lectures will take place remotely.
The on-campus weeks are designed to resemble “a regular teaching week as much as possible”.
Lectures will be delivered online and face-to-face teaching for laboratory classes and tutorials will be facilitated, with up to three contact hours per week in each module.
Courses that are offered online only will continue to operate online during all weeks.
On-campus weeks will see students also able to use their laptops to access online learning, and use the library, computer labs and other spaces, as long as social distancing is ensured.
For online learning weeks, courses will vary between “synchronous and asynchronous activities” cross modules “to maximise opportunities for students to engage”.
Synchronous activities will include broadcast lecture or tutorial sessions, while asynchronous activities will be those that students can complete at any time, such as pre-recorded lectures and activities or tasks online.
The email also recommended students to have access to a laptop and a stable internet connection in order to be able to study remotely.
Access to buildings and sport facilities will be managed by respective clubs and societies, which will likely operate on a pre-booked basis.
All Erasmus programmes are cancelled for the autumn semester, with alternatives put in place.
UL is the first university to release a detailed breakdown of how it will operate in the upcoming academic year.