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Update from Provost to staff

16 July 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Monday will mark a milestone in our plans to gradually and safely reopen the college to staff and students. Thank you to everybody who has been involved in the planning. As the weeks progress, we will be introducing small practical changes such as extra bike parking facilities, showers and grab-and-go meals in the Buttery but today I want to tell you about several significant developments.

Academic Staff

Schools are in the process of submitting their reopening plans. These plans will ensure that buildings are safe for staff to access. As soon as these are approved, academic staff who wish to access their offices to prepare for the start of teaching term on 28th September may do so. Please note that, under the government guidelines, teaching is considered an essential activity so you are not required to work from home if your preparation work is better done from your office in college. We are expecting School re-opening plans to be in place from next week; you can check at https://www.tcd.ie/about/coronavirus/phased-reopening-plans/ to see if your School’s plan has been approved. This page will be updated regularly.

If academic staff need to access the Library (Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton Libraries), they may do so from Monday 20th July. The opening hours will be limited – see here for further information.

Professional Staff

In the phase from 20th July to 10th August, and once School and Unit reopening plans have been approved, only professional staff whose work requires it will return to the campus. This would include Managers in Schools and Units who need to return to prepare for the return of staff from 10th August. Otherwise, professional staff will continue to work from home. From 10th August, all professional staff required to work on campus will return in accordance with their School/Unit’s reopening plans. We are expecting plans to be in place from next week; you can check at https://www.tcd.ie/about/coronavirus/phased-reopening-plans/ to see if your School or Unit’s plan has been approved. This page will be updated regularly.

Re-opening our University has been a collective effort but special thanks go to the fantastic team in Estates and Facilities who have been working tirelessly across the campus to ensure that our plans will come to fruition.

Students

Postgraduate and Undergraduate students will be able to access the campus from 20th July if they have a reason for doing so, e.g., accessing the Library to write up their dissertations, or to study for reassessment. As facilities and services on campus will be limited, you should not come into college to socialise or for no specific purpose. The numbers of students on campus will be closely monitored to ensure there is no crowding.

Controlled Access to Campus

To gain access to the campus, staff and students must present a valid ID card to swipe in on arrival and swipe out on departure. Access will be via the Lincoln Place Gate, the Nassau Street Entrance and the Science Gallery Entrance on Pearse Street. Front Gate will be used for out of hours access only. If your ID card is out of date, you will need to apply to HR for a replacement and it may be collected from Goldsmith Hall. See here for further details.

The campus will remain closed to the general public until at least the 28th September. It will reopen when the public health regulations allow but until then, the college will remain closed to the public with the aim of ensuring the potential for overcrowding is minimized and that as many students and staff as possible can safely return to college. Access to the campus for tourists will be limited to those who have pre-booked tickets for the Book of Kells exhibition and they will be escorted from a specified entrance to and from the Old Library in small controlled groups. Access to Science Gallery Dublin and the Douglas Hyde Gallery will most likely be managed in a similar way; we are awaiting the submission of their reopening plans before this is approved. Tourists will not have access to other parts of the campus or to other buildings, including café and toilet facilities. They will be advised of this when booking.

Facilities/Services on Campus

Facilities on campus will be limited from the period from 20th July to 31st August. The Buttery will reopen from 10th August with a limited service. Other outlets will remain closed. Lunchtime Commons will recommence from 31st August to 25th September for Fellows and Scholars, on a pre-booked basis.

Events

There will be no events held on campus before 28th September except in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Phased Resumption of Activities Group. Proposals should be submitted to Central Events at enquiries@tcd.ie in the first instance.

I know that the past few months have been very challenging for many of you and that some of you are suffering as a result. I would encourage any of you who feel their health and wellbeing is affected to reach out to seek support. Human Resources lists a range of supports for those working from home here. I want to reassure you that the health and safety of our staff and students is our top priority as we begin to reopen the college. We are putting measures in place to safeguard this and the Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer and Professor Áine Kelly will be communicating with Schools tomorrow about the measures that will be put in place to ensure that the resumption of teaching from September takes place in line with the public health advice.

I hope that many of you are planning to take some well-deserved annual leave in the coming weeks. I will keep in touch over the summer with updated information. Please also go to www.tcd.ie/about/coronavirus for regular updates.

After the near silence of the last few months, the campus and the surrounding city are slowly coming back to life. Those who have returned already have sometimes felt some trepidation but they tell me they are happy to be back. Soon more of us will share the same experience of returning to a familiar place that is also somewhat different post-Covid.

Stay safe and stay well.

Best wishes,

Patrick Prendergast
PROVOST