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Update from Vice Provost, College Secretary, Interim Chief Operating Officer and Director of College Health Service

17 September 2021

Dear students and colleagues

This week saw the beginning of teaching term for all students apart from incoming First Year undergraduates who will be on campus next week for Freshers’ Week and whose classes start on 27 September.

Please watch the Provost and Director of College Health Service’s welcome video for students here.  As the Provost outlines, we are aware that there are some issues regarding in-person teaching and learning. We are working hard on finding solutions to these issues and are working closely with the Students’ Union (SU), Graduate Students’ Union, Central Societies Committee (CSC) and Trinity Sport to ensure that the college experience is all that it can be.

Our approach to the first phase of reopening has been deliberately cautious, and is based on the best available public health advice. We are conscious of the need to strike a balance between securing the health and safety of our College community while also offering our students a more normal campus experience.

We remain on track to move to the second phase of our reopening, and following resumption of teaching after Reading/Study Week from 1 November 2021, we will resume all teaching activities with no social distancing measures in place using those rooms that have been allocated to Schools for this semester. This will increase the amount of face to face teaching for our students significantly to >75% (with a range from 40% for our very large classes to 100% for other courses).

For semester 2 after Christmas, subject of course to public health advice at that time, we will resume all teaching face to face for all teaching activities whilst operating under our normal ‘pre-pandemic’ timetabling procedures and policies. 

In the meantime, at the start of any lecture students are asked to take note of their seat number for possible contact tracing purposes, taking a photo on your mobile phone is a good idea. You are encouraged to use Government’s COVID Tracker App.

Freshers Week & Fair

There will be exciting events organised by the SU next week including live music, movie screenings, a petting zoo, yoga and a spikeball tournament. The Freshers’ Fair in Front Square, organised by the CSC, involves societies at stalls on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, showcasing the very best of student activities and running events throughout the week. Through the Societies Hub, students can search for societies that interest them, sign-up for society memberships, as well as see the events societies are running. Check out the Hub at!

Access to campus

To support teaching and research, access rights to campus are being reintroduced. Staff and postgraduate students now have 24/7 access while undergraduate students have access Monday to Friday, 7am – 10pm and weekends, 7am – 4pm. Arrangements to report issues to your local COVID Facilitators must be adopted for out of hours working. It is important that all Schools and units fully implement Trinity’s Lone Working Policy for staff and researchers while everyone - staff and students - is encouraged to use the Safe Zone App. You can download the SafeZone app from the iOS or Android App stores, enter your TCD username and password, complete the registration form and you are good to go.

Please remember that all visitors/guests must complete the COVID Visitors Questionnaire and send it to at least 24 hours in advance of coming onto campus.


We are pleased to say that an onsite HSE pop up Vaccination Clinic will run on Monday 27 and Wednesday 29 September in the Marquee at New Square for all students and staff. 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.

UniCoV project – safeguarding our campuses

Students and staff are invited to participate in the UniCoV project. This pilot surveillance study assists 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

As always, please continue to take all preventative measures on campus and at home to stop the spread of the virus to keep everyone safe. These include hand washing, cough etiquette, face coverings and physical distancing. Thank you.

Stay safe. Stay well. Bígí slán agus sábháilte.

Kind regards,

Prof Orla Sheils, Vice-Provost/CAO
An tOllamh Orla Sheils, An Leas-Phropast/Príomhoifigeach Acadúil/Agus An Leas-Uachtharán 

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

Orla Cunningham, Interim Chief Operating Officer
Orla Ní Chuinneagáin, An Príomhoifigeach Oibriúcháin Eatramhach

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