In an email sent to students this afternoon, College confirmed that “not much will change for our university”.
The email, which was signed by Provost Patrick Prendergast, stated: “We know this is a difficult time for many of you who have told us that you are struggling with the restrictions. Some of you are lonely and others are facing increased workloads. We are all worrying about our families and friends as well as our own health.”
Prendergast continued that the “good news” is that, because of College’s preparations earlier in the year, “not much” will change for our university because College are already operating at a “very high level of safety”.
The email explained that colleges are deemed an essential service and physical presence is permitted for higher education “insofar as onsite presence is required and such education activities cannot be held remotely”, according to the Department of the Taoiseach’s and Minister’s websites.
The email continued: “all lectures and tutorials that can be delivered online should be delivered online.”
However, “lab and practical classes, clinical skills classes, creative practice or other formative experiential components that cannot be delivered online are to continue to be delivered face to face”.
Research may also continue under the new Government advice, the email confirmed.
The Library will remain open, to support researchers and students. The Library will maintain access to online resources; access to safe study space with good-connectivity, with some reductions, and access to as much physical material as possible.
The email explained that “details are being finalised” and will be communicated by the Librarian tomorrow.
Prendergast affirmed that “the bad news is the restrictions already in operation here in Trinity are now likely to continue for the rest of the semester”.
This means that for all students, “there is now little chance that we can increase in person teaching before Christmas”.
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) students were already engaging in entirely online classes until at least mid-November, but now Prendergast has acknowledged the unlikelihood of returning in-person at all for the remainder of term.
Students in courses that equine face-to-face teaching will operate as they have been, with students attending class in person for tutorials and laboratories. This includes students in Engineering, Maths and Science (EMS) and Health Science courses,
Accommodation services on campus and in Trinity Hall will continue to remain open under Level 5.
Prendergast urged students living in Trinity-affiliated housing to remain in residence in order “to engage in the admittedly limited amount of in person teaching that you have, using the library, and engaging in the permitted activities within your pod”.
Prendergast acknowledged the difficulties that particularly Junior Fresh students might be facing in terms of forging social bonds in the situation of online learning, but he stressed that Trinity “will endeavour to support you in every way that we can”.
Should students elect to leave Halls or campus housing, however, they were told that their requests would be processed on a case-by case basis.
Some sports may continue, but, the email added, it is “too early to know which sports exactly”.
The gym and swimming pool will be required to close. The Buttery and The Perch will remain open but will only be offering a take-away service.
The email concluded: “Additional changes may be added in the coming days but this appears to be the situation at present. If things change, we will write to you again as soon as we have more updates.”
In a tweet this afternoon, Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) called for a “concrete assurance” that residents will be allowed stay in college accommodation in the event of a campus lockdown.
The union was calling on College to provide assurance for those in college accommodation, clarity for international students and “compassion” for first year students following the introduction of Level 5 restrictions.
In an expected move last night, the government decided to implement Level 5 restrictions on the country for six weeks, starting from Wednesday night.