Irish students may have to wear face coverings in lectures if social distancing in lecture halls cannot be ensured.
These updated guidelines have also stated that the maximum number of people in one lecture will be 50, as per government guidelines.
College lectures are treated the same as any indoor event, although the capacities are liable to change given the nature of the coronavirus.
These guidelines have been documented by Minister for Further Education Simon Harris in the Implementation Guidelines for Public Health Measures in Higher Education Institutions document. This was put forward following consultations with a variety of stakeholders in third-level education.
The guidelines and measures were also drawn up by senior health experts from within the higher education sector.
It is felt in certain quarters that these measures do not go far enough to ensure the safety of students and lectures in the college environment.
Dr Mary McAuliffe of UCD believes that they're merely a "disaster waiting to happen".
Students to wear face coverings in lectures where two metre distance not possible - this is a huge disaster waiting to happen! Who is going to make sure masks are worn, who is going to sanitize between classes, will we lecture now in full PPE? https://t.co/jzjrRq4FC3
— Dr Mary McAuliffe (@MaryMcAuliffe4) August 6, 2020
John Greally, Director at the Centre for Epigenomics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, believes that Ireland's approach to mask-wearing is baffling already, and that these guidelines are indicative of this approach.
I *really* do not understand Ireland’s ‘mask as last resort’ approach.@Education_Ire @SimonHarrisTD @nuigalway Please consider masks for everyone teaching/learning indoors.
Students to wear face coverings in lectures where 2 metre distance not possiblehttps://t.co/EAxLsJahCa
— John Greally (@EpgntxEinstein) August 6, 2020
One thing is for sure, life on campus for Irish students is going to be a whole lot different.