College bans guests from Trinity accommodation amid coronavirus concerns

The ban includes both daytime and overnight guests

Students in Trinity accommodation are now prohibited from having non-resident guests in their accommodation as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The ban includes both daytime and overnight guests. Events involving large numbers of people are also banned until further notice, according to an email statement circulated to students living in Trinity accommodation.

College suggested that “those who have underlying health issues, including problems with their immune systems or chronic respiratory conditions, or those who are elderly,” should consider staying away from Trinity accommodation if other accommodation is available until further notice.

Students with underlying health issues and students returning from high-risk areas are being advised to contact their tutors and the head of their respective disciplines in order to avail of academic support.

College has implemented a ban on all students and staff travelling from high-risk areas attending college for 14 days after the date of their return. However, College acknowledged: “Of course some people returning from high risk areas will have no other accommodation in Ireland other than their Trinity accommodation. In these cases, residents will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and should make contact with reception BEFORE returning to Trinity accommodation.”

The statement continued: “This is an essential step in ensuring that we are prepared to care for your health and the health of your fellow residents. Please be assured that you are very much part of the College community and welcome in your accommodation, but we are all best served by these precautions.”

The statement, signed by Neal Murphy, Head of Accommodation, Philip Coleman, Registrar of Chambers, and Tim Trimble, Junior Dean, urged students to maintain good hygiene in their accommodation. “Everybody needs to make sure that they keep kitchens and bathrooms clean,” the statement read. “People need to clean up after themselves in all communal areas with a renewed sense of responsibility towards the community.”

The email statement concluded: “Trinity has a strong history of welcoming students and staff from around the world to Ireland, and they are an integral part of our collegiate community. We understand that students and staff may be worried about friends and family members in affected areas around the world, and our thoughts go to all those affected by this outbreak.”

High risk areas, as defined by the HSE, include China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, Japan, and the Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont regions in Italy. An email circulated to all staff and students yesterday said: “Arrangements for working and studying remotely will be made as appropriate.”

The single case of coronavirus on campus, announced Thursday night, led Floor 4 of TBSI and the lifts to close as a precautionary measure. It is expected that these areas will reopen tomorrow. According to Trinity, the individual “appears to have made a good recovery”.

The college has also set up an expert working group to monitor the ongoing situation with the coronavirus in January. The Major Emergency Management Team has met in recent days and “decisions are being taken to reduce the risks from the virus”.

Trinity is exploring the possibility of conducting exams, assessment and course material remotely. Hand sanitisers will be provided across campus and in off campus location to try prevent a possible spread of infection. Trinity will also be placing posters across campus with information on the virus, and has established a dedicated web page to provide updates and advice.

Aisling Grace

Aisling Grace was the Editor-in-Chief of the 66th Volume of Trinity News. She was also formerly Online Editor and Deputy News Editor.