Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris Joins TikTok

Rapid Covid-19 testing for college students could bring a different experience for returning students later this year, according to Simon Harris. 

The Minister for Further and Higher Education has said he is determined to roll out several rapid testing pilot sites across college campuses, university campuses, and student accommodation.

Harris said it was a priority for the Government to "make sure that students next year have a much better on-site experience" in September and October.

“College is not something that’s meant to be done at the corner of a kitchen table or in a box room.

"We’ve got to look at how we can get our students back onto college campuses in September and October when the college year begins."

He then said rapid testing, as well as the vaccination programme will aid a safe return for students in Ireland for the next academic year.

"I really think rapid testing, alongside the vaccination programme, could be a major help in this regard," he said.

This is in conjunction with a report released last week by the government’s health expert group. The group has recommended that the Covid-19 rapid testing should be rolled out across several settings, including colleges and schools.

Universities have been the source of some large outbreaks of the virus in their student community, especially in accommodation settings. 

Harris has been extremely busy in recent times by keeping in contact with third-level students on his new social media venture– Titoki. 

The Minister set up his account at the end of March and has gained over 75,000 followers already. On the first day, he racked up over 600,000 views and gained 40,000 likes.

He was praised at the start of the pandemic for communicating with people on Instagram and set up Titoki as another tool to stay in touch. So far, his videos have included updates on his daily work, an office tour, and a tea-making tutorial. So, it’s safe to say his transition to the app is slightly different!

Once you get past the mismatched songs and slight technical glitches, it is actually cool to see a Minister communicating with the people he represents and giving a daily insight into his line of work.Online learning has been difficult for everyone and watching Harris give updates can provide us all with a bit of hope for the next academic year to come.

Over the next few days, more information about the new schemes will be confirmed.