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Update from Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Interim Chief Operating Officer and Director of College Health Service to staff and students

17 December 2021

Dear College community 

As we head towards Christmas and the end of 2021, we hope everyone is looking forward to the holiday break including the College closure from 24th December to 3rd January 2022 inclusive. 

As you are probably aware there is a rising number of Covid-19 daily cases due to the new Omicron variant. This situation is forecast to become even more serious in the weeks ahead due to the increased contagiousness of this variant. We want to assure you that we are working on contingency plans should guidelines from the government change in the coming weeks and will be prepared to communicate any updates to the College community in a timely manner if needed.  With this in mind, if the Government introduce new Covid-19 interventions over the holiday period, we ask that you monitor your TCD email account for updates from College.  

Antigen tests for students 

As announced earlier this week, antigen tests are now available to all students through the University following the Government’s funding for this scheme.   Each student is entitled to five antigen tests which can be picked up from several locations across campus. We encourage every student to use these tests before travelling home and before returning to campus in the new year to protect family, friends and themselves from the spread of Covid-19.  Full details of the antigen test pick-up locations and guides on how to use these tests can be found here.


Following the Minister for Health’s announcement on Wednesday to accelerate the Covid-19 Booster Vaccine programme and in keeping with Government advice, College encourages staff and students who are in line for a booster vaccination to access this service where possible over the Christmas break from their local GPs and pharmacies. To find details of the HSE’s accelerated vaccination programme and to clarify when you are eligible for a booster vaccination please visit the HSE webpages here .

With the roll out of the accelerated vaccination programme we are pleased to inform the College community that College Health will provide a walk in, (no appointment) Covid-19 vaccination service from Monday 10th to Friday 14th January 2022, inclusive. This will be available to all ages over 16 years, although priority will be given to older age cohorts and those with pre-existing conditions, as per the HSE guidelines. Please do not telephone College Health for a vaccine appointment as the vaccines will be provided at a walk-in clinic based on the above guidelines. More details on this will be circulated when College reopens in the new year. 

Library opening hours during Christmas break 

As usual, most of the College will close during the Christmas period, providing a much-needed rest for the community. This year, as an extraordinary exception, given that some students may be unable to travel home for the holiday season due to the ongoing pandemic and some Junior Fresh and Scholar examinations are taking place in January, the Kinsella Hall Library (First Floor) and 1937 Reading Room will open 10am-6pm on 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th December 2021 and 2nd, 3rd January 2022. We wish to express our thanks again to those involved in providing the service enabling this to happen.  On 4th January 2022 libraries, the 1937 Reading Room, computer rooms and JCR spaces will reopen and follow normal term-time opening hours. As before the Christmas break, stewarding of these spaces will continue until 21st January when it will be reviewed. Please see exact dates and times of library openings here

As the festive season can be a difficult time for some, we want to remind you that crisis support is available over the holiday period on a 24/7 basis if needed through the HSE Crisis Text line. This can be reached by simply texting HELLO to 50808.  More information on this service can be found here.

Finally, it may be the case that following the possible Government announcement due later today, changes will be needed to current arrangements for third level institutions. If this does happen, we will update the college community as soon as possible with the relevant information once the effect of any changes to public health guidelines for College has been clarified. 

With best wishes for a happy Christmas and a happy new year. Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh.

Stay safe. Stay well. Bígí slán agus sábháilte.

Kind regards,

Prof Orla Sheils, Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer An tOllamh Orla Sheils, An Leas-Phropast/Príomhoifigeach Acadúil 

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