Extra student spaces opened on campus

College has set up nine additional student spaces on campus, adhering to social distancing guidelines

In conjunction with Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), College has created additional spaces on campus for students, in the form of “Online Class Spaces” and “Student Breakout Spaces”.

Online class spaces are available in the Exam Hall in Front Square, the Botany Bay Marquee, and the Bank in the Hamilton Building.

These spaces must be booked by students and are for use in the event that they are on campus for a face to face class and have an online class shortly before or after. Students are required to bring their own laptop and headphones. 

The online class spaces are available from 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday.

Student breakout spaces also require booking, and are available for students to use in “breaks between classes, to eat your food, have a €1 coffee and keep warm in a socially distanced way”.  

These breakout areas are available in the Dining Hall, New Square Marquees, Botany Bay Marquee, Goldsmith, TBSI and St. James’s Hospital. They will also operate from 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday.

In the announcement made to students today, Brenda Walls, Director of Students Services said: “To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, please ensure you wear a face covering as guided in these areas. Please also remember not to congregate before or after your lecture/laboratory session and leave once the session ends.”

The new student areas will be run and cleaned by “student ambassadors”, who received training for the job early last week.

Each space will be monitored by two student ambassadors each, and slots are only available for 45 minutes, as 15 minutes are required for the student ambassadors to vacate and clean the area. 

Each chair in the breakout areas is numbered for contact tracing.

Speaking to Trinity News, one student ambassador stated that it was “kind of like an exam hall”.

Students are not allowed to move between desks, and students are not allowed to move the desks from where they are.

In the first few days of their operation, Trinity News has received reports of “complete compliance” in these breakout spaces and online class spaces.

Speaking to Trinity News, a postgraduate student steward working in one of the online class spaces said: “It has brought me so much satisfaction and joy to see a system that I built for the GSU to manage the Online Class Spaces bring so much positivity to the Trinity College student community.”

The postgraduate explained: “We use QR codes to sign in and out to offer full safety to everyone and I’m so humbled to see these spaces running in such a professional manner during Covid-19. ”

“There was 100% face coverings compliance across all of the Online Class Spaces today and I’m so delighted to be able to work on this project,” they added.

Breakout Spaces are managed by TCDSU, while Online Class Spaces are being managed by GSU.

GSU President Gisèle Scanlon also expressed satisfaction with the compliance in the online study spaces.

Speaking to Trinity News, Scanlon stated: “It’s such a positive development to see 100% compliance with face coverings today in all of the Online Class Spaces. It shows clear dignity and respect amongst all students in these spaces today.”

Scanlon continued: “It’s an absolute priority for everyone that student safety comes first and the jobs that this project has created for students is hugely welcome as it has allowed both Union Presidents to provide work for students throughout this very difficult pandemic.”

This article was updated at 8:50pm to add a statement from a student steward working in the Online Class Spaces, as well as to include a statement from GSU President Gisele Scanlon.

This article was also amended at 9:03pm to clarify the difference of management between the Student Breakout Areas and the Online Class Spaces.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.