Multi-million euro supports confirmed for college students during Covid-19

ireland
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Digital Desk staff

A support package of €168 million is to be given to students and third level institutions to help them adjust to remote learning and Covid-19 restrictions.

Around 10,000 students will get help buying laptops, tablets and internet access with a grant of €15 million, while €41 million is being spent on health protection measures to allow colleges reopen safely.

€3 million will be spent on mental health support and €16 million to double the student assistance fund.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris says while many students will learn online, it is important first years are on campus as much as possible:

We want to maximise the on-site experience, and I’m particularly eager for first year students – I’m not sure you can introduce somebody to college through zoom – so I think for first year students, there needs to be a particular focus on them being able to attend on-site as much as possible.

He said the two-metre-rule will apply on college campuses:

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“That may require face coverings, it may require shorter lecture times, it may require fewer people in a lecture hall at a time – a variety of things. So, the two metres is the public health advice, Ireland’s position on that has not changed.”

University of Limerick is one third level institution that has welcomed the funding.

Incoming Interim President Professor Kerstin Mey said: “Over the past five months our university has faced extraordinary challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic... like all Irish universities we are facing a funding deficit so it is very welcome news today.”

The university’s new term will commence for students on September 28th of this year, with teaching delivered through blending learning – both online and face-to-face on campus.

The university recently came under fire from parents paying for student accommodation following the announcement that most students will be allowed on campus for just one week each month.

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