We have been discussing the required funding for the safe return to college, not just for the institutions but also for the students, and the great work that has been done by the student well-being engagement group that I asked the Union of Students in Ireland to chair. The short answer to the Deputy's question is that I expect to receive approval for additional funding from Cabinet on 19 July. We will have clarity on that then. My officials are engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as we speak, on that matter.
I thank the Deputy for her support on this issue and for attending the webinar we hosted when we invited Opposition spokespersons, students' unions, university presidents and staff representatives to attend to be briefed on our document entitled A Safe Return: Plan for a safe return to on-site Further and Higher Education and Research in 2021/22, which has been endorsed with the Chief Medical Officer and is in line with public health guidance. Our students and staff are going back to campuses, but it has to be done in a safe way.
The plan reflects the essential nature of higher and further education and training and research activities, and in that context it provides for comprehensive on-site activity for the next academic year, with almost full scale on-site activities. Institutions and providers in the sector have committed to ensuring all learners across all areas have significant scheduled on-site learning in the forthcoming year. Indeed, Government has now deemed on-site education to be essential.
Under the plan, larger scale lectures will take place on site if the public health situation allows. To be honest, that is the outstanding question and we said we would return to Cabinet, probably on 19 July, to make a determination on larger scale lectures. Obviously, if they do go ahead, safety measures will need to be in place, including rules around social distancing, face masks and ventilation, in accordance with prevailing public health advice.
Contingency planning in the event of a more restrictive public health environment is also being prepared by the sector. I know we have been through this in other forums, but we are saying that, at a minimum, a student can expect to come back to campus for everything other than large-scale lectures. At a maximum, we will manage to bring back such lectures. We are telling our students that, a minimum, no matter what happens with Covid-19, we are getting them back to campus for certain activities. That is the difference between this year and last year. We are able to do it on the basis of the success of our vaccination programme and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer.