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Update from Provost, Chair of Resumption of Teaching Working Group to students

20 August 2020

Dear students,

We hope you and your families are keeping safe and well.

On Tuesday evening the Government announced a number of new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. On Wednesday evening we received confirmation from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science that “the reduction in the permitted size of indoor gatherings (i.e. from 50 to 6) is not intended to apply in the case of the re-opening of higher education”. Therefore we are continuing to plan for as much face-to-face small group teaching and learning as possible, while adhering to the public health measures contained in the Government’s document “Implementation Guidelines for Public Health Measures in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)”. If this situation changes, we will let you know but you should continue to assume that you will have an element of face-to-face teaching as part of your programme in Semesters 1 and 2.

Travelling from abroad

For those of you currently on the island of Ireland, we remind you of the Government’s advice that all non-essential overseas travel should be avoided. If you do travel outside of the island of Ireland* on vacation or for other reasons, you are expected to restrict your movements for 14 days immediately following your return, during which time you will not be permitted to come into the Trinity campus. Therefore, as you are required to be available to attend College from the beginning of the new teaching year on 28 September, please ensure you do not return from travel overseas any later than 13 September. If you do travel you are not permitted to come into the college or any of its associated venues, or to meet with fellow students outside your own household for 14 days. Please note that restricted movement also means:

  • do not use public transport
  • do not visit others or have visitors
  • do not meet face-to-face with anyone who is at higher risk from COVID-19
  • do not go to shops unless absolutely necessary
  • You can still go outside to exercise by yourself as long as you keep 2m distance from other people.

For the health, safety and well-being of the college community of students and staff we must insist that you adhere to these travel restrictions and, as far as the College is concerned, it is a mandatory requirement of attending teaching and learning activities in this university. It is by strict adherence to the guidelines that the safest possible opening of the College for academic activities can be ensured, and every individual member of the College community must all play their part in this.

Teaching term and timetables

The teaching term for all students except incoming first year undergraduates will start on Monday 28 September. Postgraduate and Undergraduate Visiting and Erasmus Orientation will take place from 21 September and Freshers’ Week for new first years will take place from 28 September.

Timetables for 2020/21 will be issued via my.tcd.ie in mid-September, ahead of teaching term starting on 28 September. Thank you for your patience in this regard. At this point we will have as accurate information on the health and safety requirements as possible.

While students are expected to attend their face-to-face teaching and learning activities some students with underlying medical conditions may request more or all of their course content to be provided online. Students in this position should contact their tutor and the Head of their Discipline or School. Each request will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the relevant School.

Face coverings

Face coverings are now mandatory for all teaching and learning events for all students, in the Libraries and internal public spaces of the campus. Teaching staff have been asked to wear visors where possible instead of face coverings while teaching as this will reduce the impact on communication. Exceptions for not wearing face coverings due to health reasons can be found here.

Library and Sport Centre

Access to all Library reading rooms has resumed for registered staff and students while the Trinity Sport Centre and the outdoor campus sports facilities reopened last week with reduced opening hours and facilities.

Controlled access to college

To gain access to the campus, students must present a valid ID card to swipe in on arrival and swipe out on departure. Access is 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. Bottles of free hand sanitiser are being distributed at the entrances where you can also refill them too when empty.

Support for students

Your health and safety is our top priority as we begin to reopen the campus. For details of the support and service available, please visit the Student Life page here. Should any of you feel your health and wellbeing is affected, please contact the Student Counselling Service to seek support.

Our plans are well underway for your safe return to campus. To find out more, please watch the Safe Reopening: Hybrid Learning Approach video as part of a series of videos at: https://www.tcd.ie/about/coronavirus/videos/. Further information on Trinity’s response to the Coronavirus is available at www.tcd.ie/about/coronavirus/.

We very much look forward to welcoming you back to College for Semester 1.

With best wishes,

Dr Patrick Prendergast
Provost

Professor Áine Kelly
Chair of Resumption of Teaching Working Group
Professor in Physiology
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education

* There is a small number of countries for which travel is not restricted. For up-to-date and country specific information, please refer to the government website here.