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Update from Provost, Warden of Trinity Hall, Head of Accommodation, Registrar of Chambers to staff and students

16 March 2020

Dear Students and Staff,

The situation with COVID-19 in Trinity continues to worsen. We are aware of at least eight cases in Trinity who have tested positive for the virus. Many more students and staff are self-isolating. As the news about COVID-19 changes, we continue to take tough decisions. 

We are writing to you now with one of the most difficult decisions to date. Based on medical advice regarding the health and safety of students, all students must now leave their rooms on campus, in Trinity Hall, the Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court unless they meet specific criteria outlined below.

We ask that you read this message closely and then take action. From 8pm tomorrow (March 17), all students living in Ireland must return home within Ireland and stay at home until notified otherwise. Students with a home overseas should aim to have left their Trinity accommodation by 5pm Wednesday on March 18.

You must take all your belongings with you. If you have already vacated, on a temporary basis and not removed all your belongings, you will need to organise to collect your belongings by 6pm on Friday (March 20). 

You must take all your belongings with you. If you have already vacated, on a temporary basis and not removed all your belongings please contact your residence by email to make arrangements for removal/collection at a later date.

Students in Trinity Hall and on campus will be refunded on a pro rata basis. Trinity will offer full support to students staying at Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court if they seek refunds from the owners.

This decision has been taken because large, highly concentrated numbers of students living on campus will increase the chance of rapid transmission of the coronavirus. Our capacity to quarantine those who are sick and those who have been exposed is extremely limited.

The more students who leave campus, the more we can decrease the potential health risk to the larger community. The more students who leave, the easier it will be to care for those who may become ill and to manage the eventual impact of this virus.  

Guidelines for remaining in accommodation 

We know that, for a variety of reasons, some students cannot return home.  As always, we will work with these students to ensure they can remain on campus with our support.  

Unless you meet one of the criteria listed below, you must leave campus and stay home until notified If you are currently off campus participating in University-sponsored study abroad programmes such as Erasmus, you may not return to campus unless you meet one of these stated criteria.

You are permitted to remain living on campus until the semester ends only if you meet one or more of these criteria. You are:

  • A student who faces homelessness;
  • A student who has the virus or is currently self-isolating; 
  • Your family at home has the virus;
  • Students who have immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions;
  • Students whose home is in an area with extremely limited internet connectivity:
  • A PhD student who must conduct lab or other research on campus that’s required for their thesis.

If you meet one of these criteria, you must register in the following way:
In order to stay on campus you will need to register with the Head of Accommodation in Trinity: residences@tcd.ie  
In order to stay at Trinity Hall you will need to register with the Warden of Trinity Hall: trinity.hall@tcd.ie

E-mails should have the subject title “Extenuating Circumstances”. You must not phone or attend either reception or the accommodation office in person.

This is to ensure that we know where you are and that you have the necessary support during this period. If you are not registered, your access will be deactivated by March 19.  We’re taking these steps so that we have a clear picture of who remains in campus accommodation.

Staff members who live permanently on campus may remain.

Leaving campus

We realize that for those of you leaving campus, tomorrow will be distressing.  As you make your arrangements, try to pack in ways that will allow you to leave campus yourself, rather than requiring family members to assist. As you pack and say goodbye you should also carefully observe the social distancing protocols which have been widely circulated by HSE. Public transport will be based on the Sunday schedule because tomorrow is a bank holiday.

We have updated the website and urge you to check this and the Frequently Asked Questions section. Of course, not every question can be answered there and the college has now set up a helpline email address for all questions relating to the corona virus – the helpline address is coronavirus@tcd.iePlease make sure to refer to the website before emailing the helpline.

We are very sorry to have to take this action. We know it will be difficult for some of you but the situation is serious and it is vital to take drastic action now for your own safety and well-being and also to minimize the transmission rate of the virus as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Patrick Prendergast – Provost
Roja Fazaeli – Warden of Trinity Hall
Neal Murphy – Head of Accommodation 
Philip Coleman – Registrar of Chambers