Due to COVID19 Ireland’s 2020 College term may be delayed from September to November

5 May 2020
By Elaine Murphy

As things stand the 2020 Leaving Cert exams will take place from July 29th. Given that it will then take time for corrections, and CAO offers it seems that College/University commencement will move from September to November. Third level institutions have been considering how this will affect their operations.

Dr Barry O’Connor, President, Cork Institute of Technology today said

“These last number of weeks, covering most of Cork Institute of Technology’s (CIT) second semester, has seen a tremendous combined effort by CIT students and staff in ensuring that the prescribed Teaching & Learning activities were fulfilled to allow CIT students to prepare fully for Semester 2 examinations. This will allow students to either progress to the next year of their studies or to graduate as the Class of 2020. Major effort is now on-going in facilitating on-line and continuous assessment with the objective of ensuring that the vast bulk of assessment will be completed in a timely manner to allow students close off their academic year in line with the normal calendar.”

There are a number of uncertainties still facing CIT, and indeed society as a whole, looking to September, the normal starting time for the 2020/2021 Academic Year. Social/physical distancing rules as are and will continue to be mandated by Public Health authorities may impact on the design of timetables and modes of delivery.

An immediate issue will be the intake of First Year students for 2020/2021. Clarification is still awaited from the State Examinations Commission as to when Leaving Certificate results may be available to allow the CAO mechanisms to start up in order to facilitate offers of places being made to students. Right now it looks like November is the most likely date for First Years to enter Third Level. While this will necessitate a redesign of Semester 1, it will be more important than ever that the Student Experience, the transition into Third Level and all that entails, is prioritised. The CIT Good Start programme (Tús Maith, Leath na hOibre) will be key to integrating these late-starting First Year students into the CIT community from personal, academic, and social perspectives. Given the great student-focused efforts made by all staff since this pandemic hit, the incoming First Years will be well looked after at CIT.

Dr Barry O’Connor, President, Cork Institute of Technology concluded

“The Institute [CIT] will monitor the developing pandemic situation over the coming weeks, specifically Public Health advices and national decisions from the Department of Education & Skills and clarifications will be issued at the earliest opportunity.”

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