Covid and teaching at third-level

 

Sir, – When the history of the pandemic in Ireland is written, the universities will undoubtedly be singled out, along with schools, for their apparent stoicism in keeping their doors open amid rising infection rates amongst staff and students.

This business as usual approach is particularly noteworthy as we draw to the end of term and prepare for in-person examinations. For weeks now staff and students have been meeting together in small, often windowless rooms which are dependent upon mechanical air conditioning, with students literally elbow to elbow with each other.

There is, of course, no knowledge of who in the class is vaccinated/unvaccinated, has been a close contact of an infected person, or has Covid. As staff and students fall ill, some despite being fully-vaccinated, and tracing a somewhat random exercise, it should come as no surprise that Covid cases are rising.

The Government provides the universities with little alternative to the current inflexible modus operandi. The unions seem strangely silent. And arguably beyond the walls of academia the public enjoy greater protection and reassurance than those within.

– Yours, etc,

Dr SARAH ALYN STACEY,

Department of French,

Trinity College Dublin.