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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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Massive increase in numbers using local bus services

Passenger numbers on local link buses across Kerry have increased by 1727% from 2020 to 2023 according to local Green Party Candidate for Killarney Diarmaid Griffin. This is the highest […]

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Passenger numbers on local link buses across Kerry have increased by 1727% from 2020 to 2023 according to local Green Party Candidate for Killarney Diarmaid Griffin.

This is the highest increase nationally and is due to the investment by the Department of Transport during this government term.

“This service was lacking in former times, especially in rural areas and is a welcome addition to the countryside and villages of Kerry.’ says Green Party Candidate for Killarney,” said Griffin.

“While in the past, a taxi was the only option for those not cycling or driving. Now a service to Killarney is available every Friday morning from my townland of Barleymount. This is just one example of the network of bus routes criss-crossing the county thanks to local link.”

“This project is a notable success as the figures show. Investment in public transport helps alleviate congestion, increases community cohesion and reduces rural isolation. This is all welcome news for the locality,”

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Two weeks to go to Killarney Musical Society’s production of ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’There is less than two weeks to show time for the cast of Killarney Musical Society’s production of ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’

Killarney Musical Society held its official launch on Sunday where cast members appeared in full costume ahead of the March 5 – 7 performance at the INEC Arena. The launch was […]

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Killarney Musical Society held its official launch on Sunday where cast members appeared in full costume ahead of the March 5 – 7 performance at the INEC Arena.

The launch was followed by a full rehearsal and director Oliver Hurley was also there to lend a hand.

“We were delighted to introduce our lead characters to you. We had Abbey Theatre players Brigid Delia and Michael, who are the narrators throughout the musical drama. Eamonn De Valera , Harry Boland, Joe Emmett, Arthur Griffith, Cathal Brugha, volunteers and of course the beautiful Kitty Kieran were in full costume,” said KMS PRO Linda O’Donoghue.

“Mother Ireland and her five graceful dancers were fabulous. Our director and choreographer Oliver, our musical director Michael Young and the full cast of 64 were there. The singing was powerful. The music in ‘Michael Collins – A Musical Drama’ is distinctly Irish. People will definitely enjoy it.”

TICKETS
Get your tickets in the INEC box office, online at universe.com or at the pop-up ticket office in the Laurel’s Pub, Market Cross from 12 pm to 4 pm between February 29 and March 2.

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