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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Christmas magic begins as Santa arrives in Killarney

Yes, that’s right – Santa Claus took some time out of his very busy schedule and arrived to town for the annual switching on of the Christmas lights and magic […]

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Yes, that’s right – Santa Claus took some time out of his very busy schedule and arrived to town for the annual switching on of the Christmas lights and magic parade.

The streets were lined with children and their families and they’d huge smiles on their faces when they spotted the man in the red coat making his way around the town on the colourful float.

Grace O’Hare was pictured with her dad Conor – she had the best seat in the town to watch Santa Claus as she was perched high on her dad’s shoulders.

It was the same for the Patterson family, Alex, Irene, Catherine and Robert, while Parade safety steward, Marie Brosnan-Leahy, was on hand to make sure everything went off OK.

Killarney Municipal District Councillors, Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan, Cllr Donal Grady, Cathaoirleach Killarney Municipal District Cllr John O’Donoghue, Cllr Brendan Cronin, Cllr Marie Moloney, also enjoyed the occasion while the Sam Maguire took pride of place and centre stage in Killarney for the annual fun filled event.

And while he was in town Santa took some time off to have a chat with Killarney Advertiser columnist Marie Carroll-O’Sullivan – check it out on page 14 of this week’s edition. 

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Women’s health the focus of HeartBeat meeting

By Sean Moriarty HeartBeat Killarney will present a special meeting dedicated to women’s health next week. Hosted by HeartBeat nurse Anna O’Donoghue, the meeting tomorrow evening (Tuesday) will feature specific […]

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By Sean Moriarty

HeartBeat Killarney will present a special meeting dedicated to women’s health next week.

Hosted by HeartBeat nurse Anna O’Donoghue, the meeting tomorrow evening (Tuesday) will feature specific discussions on every decade of women’s lives.

Special guest on the evening will be Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Mary McCaffrey.

“Topics will include hormones and how they affect health from puberty, the importance of bone health, a cameo on female cardiac symptoms, heart health and mid-life, as well as common health symptoms specific to women’s well-being,” said HeartBeat chairman Billy O’Sullivan.

“We welcome women of all ages to this important meeting which is an opportunity not to be missed, especially if you have health worries.”

The meeting will take place at 8pm at the Parish Centre on Park Road.

It will be followed by a Q&A session and there is an optional blood pressure and pulse clinic from 7.30pm.

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