A petition calling for Trinity to use online teaching methods to allow students the option to work from home in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus has reached over 1,000 signatures as of this evening.
The petition states that Trinity should close to “avoid gatherings so that the virus will not spread”.
“We are the student[s] who wishes [sic] to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in our school and in Ireland,” the petition reads.
According to the HSE, conoronaviruses, the family of viruses to which Covid-19 belongs are spread through droplets, such as those produced when someone coughs or sneezes.
The petition was launched on the website change.org, with some signees leaving comments on the website expressing their concerns. One signatory of the petition outlined their fear of transmitting the virus to a parent with a preexisting lung condition, while another wrote that it was “reckless” for College to remain open.
The first case of coronavirus within Trinity was confirmed on Thursday. The fourth floor and lifts of the Trinity Biomedical Science Institute (TBSI) were closed as a precaution, and the rest of the university has remained open.
In an email to all staff and students on Friday night, students were told to “assume that classes, laboratories etc will take place as normal unless they are informed otherwise by their head of area”.
Staff and students returning from areas facing a high number of coronavirus cases, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, Japan or Italy’s Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont regions, face a ban from coming to college for 14 days after they return to Ireland.
College have told staff and students that “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”.
College confirmed to Trinity News that they are exploring “options for the online delivery of course content and assessments, as well as considering a range of other accommodations”, but have said that College “will not be making any decisions regarding mass gatherings and closures, as we will be guided by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre”.
Hand sanitisers are to be provided across campus and in off-campus locations in a bid to prevent a possible spread of infection. College intends to place posters across campus with information on the virus, and has established a dedicated web page to provide updates and advice.
Trinity set up an expert working group to monitor the ongoing situation with the coronavirus in January.