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Update from Provost, Director of HR, College Secretary to staff

20 August 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to outline Trinity’s position following the statement issued by the Government on Tuesday evening on the introduction of new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Clarity was sought from the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and it was confirmed yesterday evening that the new restrictions do not apply to universities, and that our sector is one of the sectors the Taoiseach referred to that have other protocols. In essence, this means that the indoor gathering limit of 50 continues to apply in higher education, which continues to be governed by the Implementation Guidelines for Public Health Measures in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

We are therefore going to continue with our current planning for the resumption of teaching, in line with the University Council’s approval (3 June 2020) of College’s policy of timetabling as much face-to-face small-group teaching and learning as possible for the 2020/21 academic year, using available space on campus and under physical distancing protocols mandated for the Higher Education sector by the Government following the public health advice of NPHET. Each of the university’s 24 Schools are currently working on the timetabling of teaching and learning events. For staff who have any queries about teaching, please address them to your School Office.

Returning to work

All staff who have been effectively working remotely should continue to do so until 13 September apart from essential staff rota-ed to come onto campus. The School and Unit reopening plans will be reviewed in light of the Government’s announcement. Thanks to all of you who have been involved in preparing these reopening plans as they involved a huge volume of work.

Face coverings

Face coverings are now mandatory for all teaching and learning events for all students, in all 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.

Controlled access to campus

The safety and well-being of staff and students is maximized if we ensure that the campus is open only to those who need to be here. Therefore, 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. We recognise this is somewhat inconvenient but it does give the best opportunity for a successful reopening in September. 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 when empty. The campus will remain closed to the general public apart from small numbers of visitors who have pre-booked tickets to the Book of Kells. Such visitors will follow a predetermined route and will not be allowed access to any other buildings, e.g. the Arts Block. The overall aim is to ensure the potential for overcrowding is minimized and that as many staff and students as possible can safely return to College for teaching, learning, and research, and for the carrying out professional duties in support of these activities.

Special parking permits and Travelling to Work

Staff that need to attend College to carry out their work and cannot work from home are encouraged to either walk or cycle to work, and avoid public transport if possible. We recognise that the well-being of some staff requires that they drive to work and therefore applications are invited from non-permit holders to apply for one of the new special parking permits for the main campus in use from 1 September to 31 December. Details on how to apply for a special parking permit will follow from Estates and Facilities.

Library and Sport Centre

Access to all Library reading rooms has resumed for currently registered staff and students; for full details of opening hours and new Library services see https://libguides.tcd.ie/working-from-home/resumption_of_services. The Trinity Sport Centre and the outdoor campus sports facilities reopened last week with reduced opening hours and facilities.

A reminder that further information on Trinity’s response to the Coronavirus is available at www.tcd.ie/about/coronavirus/.

We look forward to welcoming you back on campus. The health and wellbeing of our College community is of upmost importance and much planning has been taking place, and is ongoing, to ensure this remains paramount.

Best regards,

Patrick Prendergast, Provost
Antoinette Quinn, Director of HR
John Coman, Secretary to the College