Two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed among Trinity staff and students, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases within the College community to ten.
The two additional cases were listed on Trinity’s website this evening. College said on the website: “We cannot comment on the individual cases within the Trinity student and staff body.”
The first case of the virus in Trinity was confirmed on March 6 and the individual has since recovered. One more case was announced on March 12, and an additional two confirmed on March 15.
The fifth Trinity student to test positive for Covid-19 was announced on Sunday. The student was on Trinity Surf Club’s trip to Fuerteventura last week. The club announced the news on their Instagram and said that the student will be self-isolating, adding that the other students who went on the trip must now self-quarantine.
Last night Trinity announced three more cases and took the decision to order all residents to leave their rooms on campus, in Trinity Hall, the Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court unless they fit specific criteria.
This decision was criticised by students and by the president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
Today College amended their instructions to students to say that those who have temporarily left College will no longer be required to return to collect their belongings and empty their apartment. Additionally, having an immunocompromised family member at home has now been added to the list of criteria by which some residents are exempt from having to move out.
Other exempting criteria includes students who faces homelessness, students who have the virus or are currently self-isolating, if their family at home has the virus, students who have immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions, students whose home is in an area with extremely limited internet connectivity, and PhD students who must conduct lab or other research on campus that’s required for their thesis.
College will no longer be providing email updates on the number of cases of coronavirus among Trinity students “unless there are exceptional circumstances”. Instead, a running tally will be updated on the Trinity website.
Campus is currently closed to all undergraduate students with the exception of those who live on-campus, following the government’s decision to close schools, universities, and cultural institutions.
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.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced closure of universities in response to the coronavirus in a statement to the media in Washington DC on Thursday.
In an email circulated to staff and students shortly after 5pm last Thursday, 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”.
College is also making preparations to replace exams with alternative online assessments.