THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick has defended its decision that students paying up to 6,000 in fees for accommodation along with fees for their course will be only allowed on campus one week a month.
Parents and students angered by the decision to put much of the course content online have complained directly to the university and through the media about the situation.
Students coming from abroad for the Autumn semester will, however, not be charged extra accommodation fees for having to arrive early in order to self isolate before the term begins.
Less expensive twin room options will not be available but those who have booked that option will be guaranteed a single room at the normal single room rate.
A spokesman for UL said that they are working with a “blended learning” module – a combination of on-campus lectures and online lectures – to allow for control of the Covid virus.
“While we have done well as a nation to suppress Covid-19, the virus can re-emerge very quickly and we must remain vigilant and take all practical steps to minimise risk of transmission for the foreseeable future,” the spokesman explained.
However, the university is not considering a reduction in course fees which can be up to €3,500 in addition to accommodation costs.
“UL is planning to allow as many students as possible back on campus, while also protecting the health of the campus and wider community.
“This approach, including on-campus and online learning, minimises the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak by using social bubbles (keeping year groups together) and a circuit breaker (periods off campus) based on scientific insight into the spread of the virus,” the spokesman added.
A new term start date of September 28 has been announced and the college has said it will adjust on-campus accommodation fees to reflect this.
Use of buildings for clubs and societies will have to be rebooked and numbers controlled.