Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) Statement on safe return to campus
The Institutes of Technology welcome the priority that government is attaching to higher education and research. This sector is critical to the recovery that all desire as we work our way through the current global pandemic. Over recent months our institutions have worked inclusively and with appreciable support from public health authorities and our Department of Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation, & Science to prepare for the safe return to campus in the academic year 2020/21.
A number of our institutions have already opened and the remainder are opening in the coming two weeks. To this end they have worked inclusively to fashion a roadmap, guidance document, and implementation guidelines. All have calibrated their health and safety measures flexibly to allow for delivery consistent with these and with the government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19.
At the request of government, we have been asked to ensure that measures are in place should a region face into restrictions at Level 3. The Institute of Art Design & Technology in Dun Laoghaire (IADT) is the one THEA network member institution in the Dublin metropolitan region and it has taken considerable care to ensure continuity of safe provision while actively reducing the movement of staff and students and especially in the critical coming weeks. IADT is delivering through a blended approach. A range of additional measures have been introduced, including the use of on-campus face coverings, to protect the learning community. Discretionary social activity has ceased in order to limit occasions for congregation. The institute library will remain open but with advised control on capacity and appropriate physical distancing.
All our institutions have put in place the necessary health protection measures and are working collegiately with the Department of Further & Higher Education Research Science and Innovation and health authorities to realize a consistent response and management system should any institution experience a Covid incident.
The CEO of THEA, Dr Joseph Ryan, stated: “we look forward to welcoming new first year students over the coming weeks. Our priority is your wellbeing and that of all our community and the determination is to provide a positive student experience while ensuring a safe and secure delivery of academic programmes”. The reopening of facilities outside Dublin is proceeding as planned, based upon the model of blended learning and with full adherence to public health advice.