Trinity tells some staff to work from home amid coronavirus spread

An email to all staff and students states that “common sense suggests” there will be more cases in Trinity

Trinity has instructed some staff members to work from home on a temporary basis to “assess whether this is possible should it become necessary in future”, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

An email, sent to all staff and students, states that some staff in Trinity’s IT Services department have already begun to work from home.

The email, signed by John Coman the College Secretary and Dr Niamh Farrelly, Acting Director of College Health, also states that the launch of Trinity’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan will be conducted online and that the physical launch due to take place tomorrow has been cancelled.

The email reiterates that so far only one case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Trinity, but states that “common sense suggests that there will be more cases in the weeks ahead.”

“College is working to guard everybody’s safety and is exploring how best to ensure that students will be able to take exams as planned in a few weeks’ time. Every action taken is aimed at safe guarding the health of students and staff”, the statement reads.

The email also repeats College’s policy that students and staff returning from high-risk areas where there have been a large number of cases of the virus should not enter Trinity within 14 days of returning to Ireland.

The high-risk areas, as currently defined by the HSE are China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, Japan and certain regions of Italy.

The first case of coronavirus within Trinity was confirmed last Thursday. The fourth floor and lifts of the Trinity Biomedical Science Institute (TBSI) were closed as a precaution, while the rest of the university has remained open.

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 have been provided across campus and in off-campus locations in a bid to prevent a possible spread of infection. College has placed 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.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.