Irish third-level teachers are seeking clarity on the reopening processes of institutions before they return to work.
The Irish Federation of University Teachers referenced an official document received last week about the reaction to a post-COVID landscape. The document said there would be "a rapid move to emergency remote teaching and assessment of programmes, without impacting on the integrity of qualifications".
However, the IFUT have said that it is impossible to continue these processes throughout a full academic year.
Certainty required urgently on re-opening of higher education based on health and safety clarity, says @IFUT
— IFUT (@ifut) July 28, 2020
This week, Minister for Further Education Simon Harris met with IFUT general secretary Joan Donegan in order to gain some clarity on the reopening of third-level institutions in around two months time.
Donegan has outlined a number of key issues that need to be ironed out before a return occurs:
- Clarification on a one metre or two metre rule for classroom attendance
- Guidance, required from NPHET, on how staff and students with health vulnerabilities, will be accommodated in any new arrangements
- Clear protocols for online class delivery, including student contact and mentoring, tutorial participation, etc.
- Timely agreement on college physical attendance and expectations for lecturers and students
- Impact of cancellation of temporary and short-term lecturing contracts on education delivery and standards
- A range of issues related to working from home arrangements, irregular hours, ‘always available’ demands, provision of appropriate equipment and overall threat to work-life balance.
- The need for next October’s Budget to reverse a decade of underfunding as a separate measure to the recent stimulus package, which itself addressed only a portion of the loss in colleges’ income due to the impact of Covid-19.