Three Weeks In…

Today marks the end of the third week of the Autumn Semester in Maynooth, which is also the end of the third week of teaching for returning students and the end of the second week of teaching for new arrivals. I was talking to some friends from Cardiff yesterday and expressed relief that the daily number of new cases seemed to be falling despite the return of students to campus.

Today, however, the number of positive test results reported was 2002, which is a big increase on recent days. Last Friday’s figure was 1059 and the intervening numbers have been hovering around the 1000 mark. I was quite shocked when I saw the latest number.

The latest data for students testing positive in Maynooth are for the week ending October 3rd, during which there were only 7 cases. I’d be interested to see whether those numbers have risen significantly.

The latest increase doesn’t look much on the 7-day average, and it might just be a blip. After all, we’ve had plenty of those over the last 18 months! I was just starting to relax because of the falling curve but now I am very worried.

I have to say that the students have behaved impeccably in my classes. If there has been an increase in transmission associated with the return to campus it seems more likely to me that it is associated with social activities, or travelling on crowded public transport.

The reason I am so concerned is partly that I really don’t want to have to switch everything back online again like we did last year, but more immediately that we are so short-staffed this year that if any lecturer or tutor falls ill we have no spare effort available to provide cover. We still have one lecturer without a visa having to give lectures remotely. Our increased student numbers this year make this an especially bad time to be short of teaching staff.

Well just have to wait and see how things develop over the next few days and weeks, but I could do without this stress!

One Response to “Three Weeks In…”

  1. Our experience so far is that the vaccination rate among students (surveys suggest 90%) is high enough to avoid high infection rates. It seems students are sensible. I also was worried about public transport, as mask wearing there is below 50%, but cases I have seen now mainly come from transmission by school children. The UK was perhaps late with offering vaccines to those age groups.

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