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Update from Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer, College Secretary and Director, College Health Service to students and staff

26 February 2021

Dear students and colleagues

On Tuesday evening the Government announced that Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until at least 5 April 2021 when it published ‘COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 – The Path Ahead ’.

While primary and secondary schools will return on a phased basis from next week, ‘the window to return to onsite delivery is narrowing for the current academic year’ for higher education, according to the Government. This means that the current method of delivery of teaching and learning in Trinity will largely continue as is for the moment.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The good news is that with the reprioritisation of the roll out of the vaccine programme, If evidence demonstrates the vaccine(s) prevent transmission, those aged 18-34 should be prioritised due to their increased level of social contact and role in transmission and will now be vaccinated before the 35-50 year old age group, and those working in a third level institutions have moved up the list. This looks promising for a return to face to face teaching for the beginning of the 2021/22 academic year as the majority of our students and staff may be vaccinated.

Don’t risk it for a biscuit!

The data is showing that younger people currently make up a significant portion of the new cases confirmed in recent weeks. The HSE chief executive Paul Reid has stressed that visits to other households to watch sports matches or for a cup of tea, rather than large parties, were responsible for increasing COVID-19 cases among younger people. We understand that being social is an important part of college, and we want you to do it safely, both on campus and at home. Please continue to observe all public health advice.

Changes to Library Booking System

This week saw the Library implementing a revised booking system that limits readers to 1 hour 45 minutes at a specific workstation. This change will prevent back-to-back bookings on the same floor to minimise the risk of readers spending more than two hours in the same shared space and thereby potentially being considered close contacts. Readers will be limited to 1 hour 45 minutes at each seat and must then move to another floor or building if they wish to continue to study. Each seat must be pre-booked. It is strongly advised that readers take a 15 minute break for fresh air between each booking.

Multiple bookings are still possible each day, up to a limit of 40 hours over the course of a calendar week. It is important that readers check-in for each booked slot (it is not sufficient to only check-in for your first slot). Failure to check-in will result in the slot being freed up for others to book. For more information, please see our 'Overview of the Library booking system'.

Student supports

Remember that you can find support from your Tutor or Senior Tutor’s office at ST.Office@tcd.ie. Student Counselling is available at student-counselling@tcd.ie while the Chaplains are available at chaplain@tcd.ie. All first year undergraduate students can access the Healthy Trinity Online Tool by searching for it within their module list on Blackboard. This online health and wellbeing resource specifically developed for Trinity students covers a range of topics like academic life, mood, healthy eating, physical activity, sleep, relaxation, financial matters, substance use and links to resources and supports both inside and outside College. More information regarding student supports and services can be found here.

Hold firm

Help us by encouraging your friends and colleagues to continue to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance, and adhere to health and safety standards. It’s up to all of us to protect our college community and each other. Thank you for your continuing support in this regard.

Stay safe. Stay well. Bígí slán agus sábháilte.

Kind regards,

Professor Jürgen Barkhoff, Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer
An tOllamh Jürgen Barkhoff, An Leas-Phropast/Príomhoifigeach Acadúil/Agus An Leas-Uachtharán

John Coman, Secretary to the College
Seán Ó Comáin, Rúnaí an Choláiste

Dr David McGrath, Director, College Health Service
An Dr Daithi Mac Craith, Stiúrthóir, Seirbhís Sláinte an Choláiste