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Update from Chief Operating Officer and Director of College Health Service to staff and students

13 August 2021

Dear students and colleagues

This week saw Trinity’s first in-person graduation ceremonies since the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of our campus. We are the first university in Ireland to host such graduations and COVID-19 protocols were strictly adhered to. It was wonderful to see students and their families back on campus – a welcome glimpse to the return of some form of normality. 

Trinity is preparing for a return to campus with increased on-site activity and in-person teaching in line with the Discretionary Framework A Safe Return to On-Site Further and Higher Education and Research which the Higher Education sector agreed with government. The Framework’s clear intention is for a ‘predominately on-site learning experience for students and learners’ for the year 2021/22.  

New term starting dates

As previously advised, teaching for Semester 1 will begin on Monday 13 September 2021 for undergraduate and postgraduate students except for first year undergraduates who will start on 27 September. 

Here are some key dates for the next academic year: 

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Students returning to campus 

Any student events that are planned to take place on campus prior to 6 September must still seek permission from the Continuity of Learning and Student Activities Group (COLSAG).

When term starts on 13 September (or 27 September for first years), students are permitted on campus for any timetabled (in-person) events that they are involved in. Large lectures above 150 will continue to be online. For lectures between 50 and 150 Schools have discretion as to whether they should be in-person or online. Students who have no timetabled in-person events on a given day will be requested not to attend the campus to manage overall campus capacity. 

Guidance for Orientation Weeks will be finalised and issued once the Public Health Guidelines for that period have been issued by government. 

Staff returning to campus 

In line with government guidelines, and based on the current trajectory, we are planning for those staff who are engaged in in-person teaching be back on campus ready to commence lectures as timetabled.  It is important, if you are out of the country that you make the necessary arrangements to return to Ireland to be available for the commencement of your in-person lectures.

Depending on your role, professional services staff will operate a dual model where some staff who have remained on campus throughout the pandemic will continue to do so. It is important if you are required to be present to support in-person lecturing that you be available in-person for the beginning of the new term. 

If you have been working from home during the pandemic you may where feasible, through consultation with your line manager, move to a hybrid or fully back to campus working arrangement where public health restrictions permit.

At present, any such return to the workplace should be guided by our Return to Activity on Campus Plan. For more information, please see the guidelines for return to campus here guidelines-return-to-campus.pdf (

Thank you to everyone involved in planning for a safe return to campus.


It is positive to note that more than 77% of Irish adults are fully vaccinated and 89% of adults are partially vaccinated. All members of the Trinity Community are encouraged to participate in the vaccination programme to help ensure that we have a safe return to campus. For more information, please see here.

UniCoV project – safeguarding our campuses 

Students and staff are invited to participate in the UniCoV project which is up and running. This pilot surveillance study is assisting in the detection of increased levels of COVID-19 across higher education institutes with the aim of facilitating the safe and sustainable re-opening of campuses. Please see more information here

Stay safe. Stay well. Bígí slán agus sábháilte.

Kind regards,

Orla Cunningham, Chief Operating Officer
Orla Cunningham, An Príomhoifigeach Oibriúcháin

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