College places 14-day ban on students and staff returning from high risk areas

Students have been told to assume that classes will run as normal from Monday

Staff and students returning from areas facing a high number of coronavirus cases will be banned from coming into college for 14 days after they return to Ireland.

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 said: “Arrangements for working and studying remotely will be made as appropriate.”

The statement, signed by John Coman, College Secretary, and Dr Niamh Farrelly, Acting Director of College Health, added: “In addition, all staff and students should minimise work-related travel overseas as much as possible, and work-related travel to high-risk areas is prohibited until further notice. This is to reduce the risk of infection being brought back to the campus.”

Staff and students living in college or college accommodation will be communicated with by College separately, according to the email statement.

They asserted that there is only one confirmed case of coronavirus at Trinity. If a student or staff member is diagnosed with the coronavirus, College is requesting that the individual contact Chief Operating Officer Geraldine Ruane or Director of Public Affairs and Communications Tom Molloy “to ensure that the university can take the appropriate measures as quickly as possible”.

The single case of coronavirus on campus, announced last night, led Floor 4 of TBSI and the lifts to close as a precautionary measure. It is expected that these areas will reopen on Monday. “Students and staff planning to return to campus on Monday (March 9) should assume that classes, laboratories etc will take place as normal unless they are informed otherwise by their head of area,” the statement read.

It continued: “The situation could change over the coming days and everybody should check emails regularly over the weekend as well as the latest official advice from the HSE and other statutory bodies”.

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.