Our 2020/21 academic year commenced on the 14th September with fully online learning for the first semester, until the 18th December 2020. However, I wanted to update you on the progress that DIFC Ireland has made towards ensuring a safe return to campus for our students and staff.
We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to DIFC’s campus come January and DIFC staff have been working hard to ensure a safe and positive experience for students when they arrive. The start date for our January intake has been revised to 11th January 2021. This is to allow for a potential restricted movement period of 14 days on arrival, which will mean students need to arrive in Ireland by the 28th December.
DIFC will continue to offer all courses in January, and the structure and content of the courses will not change unless it is absolutely necessary due to COVID-19. With the current restrictions, it is likely that a blended learning model will be required which involves a mixture of face-to-face and online learning.
Therefore, we are putting the following measures in place to ensure our the safety of our students and staff, whilst also supporting students to achieve their desired university placement. These measures include:
- We will aim to deliver a minimum of 70% face-to-face teaching supported by online teaching and support, however should this not be possible due to restrictions we commit to a minimum of 50% face-to-face contact.
- Students’ timetabled face-to-face classes will be scheduled in a block session and based in the same classroom, thus minimizing the need for students to move around the campus.
- All classroom desks and classrooms will be set-up to ensure the minimum required social distancing (as required in the last government protocols).
- Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings in the classroom and while moving around indoors on campus.
- In-class handouts will be emailed to students prior to class, rather than distributing in-class.
- Additional online support classes and feedback sessions will be arranged for students to receive one-to-one support from academic staff.
- Extra cleaning of teaching, study and social spaces.
- Student Support services will be offering a combination of face-to-face and online activities, including online drop-in wellbeing sessions, city excursions and social activities.
- COVID-19 informational signage provided on entry to and in each classroom and around the internal and external areas of the college.
- Rooms will be ventilated.
- Corridors to classrooms will be divided for pedestrian traffic where possible.
In addition, in advance of students’ arrival in January 2021, we are working with our recommended accommodation provider, Uninest New Mill, who will be offering free 14-day self-isolation for students who are required to restrict movements on arrival to Ireland currently.
We recognize that your study abroad experience may be a little different to what you expected, however we will continue to review the Government advice in relation to this and amend our safety procedures as necessary.
I look forward to welcoming you to DIFC in the near future.
President & CEO