Access to Trinity’s campus is to be permitted to limited groups following the government’s decision to close schools, universities, and cultural institutions from 6pm on Thursday until March 29.
The campus is to be closed to undergraduate students with the exception of those who live on-campus. Residents are to be required to show their identity cards in order to gain access.
Access for staff is to continue, while postgraduate students who require access to the campus in order to engage in “critical research projects” are to be admitted if they show they have received permission through email from their supervisors.
In an email circulated to staff and students shortly after 5pm, Provost Patrick Prendergast confirmed that while the government’s decision is in effect until March 29, it “would be wise to allow for the possibility of a longer closure”.
The email emphasised that people with underlying health conditions should not enter the campus under any circumstances and should work remotely if possible.
“We have taken a number of major decisions today,” Prendergast said. “At the heart of all these decisions is the welfare of students and staff.”
The Front Gate entrance to campus is to be shut during the closure period. Access to the campus will only be permitted through the entrances at the Science Gallery, Nassau Street and Lincoln Gate.
“Buildings will be closed but staff will be able to gain access with identity cards (assuming the card is up to date) and security staff will be present inside many buildings,” the email outlined.
Academic and research staff have been advised that they may come into College on “an occasional basis” in order to continue academic activities, including research activities and the preparation of online lectures, tutorial, seminars and labs, but that staff should not congregate in groups and follow social distancing protocols.
“Those in leadership roles may need to attend the college on a more continuous basis and it is permitted to do so but such attendance should be minimized and remote working is the preferred mode,” the email from Prendergast stated.
College services including the call centre, payroll, some parts of academic registry, health, counselling, disability services, IT Services, support services for online teaching and learning, security, cleaning, internal post and reduced catering are to continue to operate, while sports facilities, the day nursery, and the library are set to close.
The email also states that The Buttery will be the only catering venue open on campus. “All other catering outlets and the Pavilion Bar will be closed” and “all events planned on or before March 29 on campus must be cancelled”.
Additionally, The College Health Centre will carry out “telephone consultations” in most cases.
The email reiterates that all of the Trinity’s libraries will close. “Off-campus access to licensed electronic resources (books, databases and journals) is available to registered students and staff. We are liaising with academic staff to ensure the availability of additional, online texts to meet remote learning requirements,” the statement reads.
The first case of coronavirus within Trinity was confirmed on March 5 and has since recovered. The second case, a Health Sciences student, was confirmed last night.
So far, there have been 42 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland, with a further 18 confirmed cases in Northern Ireland. Yesterday, the first death due to the coronavirus in Ireland was announced.