Update from President of Institute of Technology Carlow on Academic Year 2021-2022
Institute of Technology Carlow is preparing for a safe return to campuses this September with maximum on-site presence for all full-time students in the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science and Health, Faculty of Business and Humanities and Wexford Campus in keeping with A Safe Return. Plan for a Safe Return to On-site Further and Higher Education and Research in 2021/22 (Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, June 2021) and Implementing A Safe Return to Campus (IUA/THEA/RCSI, August 2021). The clear intention of these frameworks and plans is for a predominately on-site learning experience for students for the year 2021/22. This has been made possible by the impressive roll-out of the national vaccination programme which will see 90% of the adult population fully vaccinated by mid-September 2021.
- Third- and fourth-year fulltime students will return to campus on Thursday the 16th of September 2021 to complete registration and orientation activities. Classes will commence directly thereafter.
- Second-year fulltime students will return to campus on Monday the 20th of September 2021 to complete registration and undertake orientation activities. Classes will commence directly thereafter.
- First-year fulltime students will arrive on campus from Wednesday the 22nd of September 2021 to complete registration and undertake orientation activities. Classes will commence on the 27th of September 2021.
Institute of Technology Carlow’s part-time lifelong learning, Extended Campus and flexible programmes provided through the Faculty for Lifelong Learning and Institute’s Extended Campus will operate a mixture of blended, hybrid, HyFlex, online and classroom on-campus learning for the coming academic year. The details vary from programme to programme in line with the different and varied needs of our lifelong learners and this will be communicated to our part-time lifelong learning students directly by the Faculty for Lifelong Learning and the Extended Campus Office.
- First-year, new and returning part-time lifelong learning students will have inductions in the week commencing the 13th September 2021, with classes commencing on the week beginning 20th September 2021.
As we embark on the coming academic year together, I continue to emphasise the need for personal responsibility and shared collective responsibility by all in our community to facilitate the safe operation of campus life. This will necessitate keeping up to date with, and practicing, all the control measures put in place to deal with COVID-19.
Information that you should familiarise yourself before returning to on-site activities is available on our website at https://www.itcarlow.ie/return-to-campus-2021.htm This includes our overarching Covid-19 Response Plan and Declaration Forms that must be completed by staff before coming on campus and by students at registration.
From our Covid-19 Response Plan you will see that the control measures are ones you will be familiar with already. These include mask wearing in indoor settings; good hygiene and respiratory etiquette; adherence to prescribed ventilation strategies in various settings; avoiding unnecessary congregation in general circulation areas; the use of screens; not coming on campus if symptomatic; one-way entry and exit schemes in certain spaces; other measures detailed in the COVID -19 Response Plan. These measures will be elaborated on at start-of-term faculty meetings and student orientation sessions. They will be adapted as necessary throughout the year as public health advice evolves. New information will be added to our return-to-campus website on a regular basis so stay connected to avail of these updates.
Notwithstanding the above, the most effective control measure for COVID-19 is the protection afforded to individuals and our community by vaccination. I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet availed of the vaccine to do so without delay. As a country we can be very proud of the vaccine rollout and high uptake rates. This will undoubtedly help us in achieving our shared objective for a fuller and richer higher education experience in the coming academic year. For those who are high-risk and cannot avail of vaccines, measures are in place. You will be directed to the relevant contact points and resources through completion and return of the Declaration Forms. Furthermore, our Policy and Procedures for Learners in Covid 19 High Risk Groups is published at the following link: https://www.itcarlow.ie/return-to-campus-2021.htm
After a highly unique and challenging 18 months, we all look forward to better times. The higher education experience is more than the knowledge gained in a particular discipline area, it is also about the opportunity to learn collaboratively, develop life skills and build friendships with new people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. It is our hope and determination to achieve this once again in the coming year.
My best wishes to you and your families.
Dr Patricia Mulcahy