Trinity have made a partial U-turn on plans announced last night to require residents of College accommodation to vacate their apartments.
Students 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.
These changes were announced via the Trinity Scholars twitter account, “following a phone call with the Provost”.
College sent an email last night which stated that students must leave their rooms on campus, in Trinity Hall, Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court.
College said the decision has been taken because “large, highly concentrated numbers of students living on campus will increase the chance of rapid transmission of the coronavirus”.
The email stated that from 8pm today, all students whose home is in Ireland must return home and “stay at home until notified otherwise,” and students with a home overseas should aim to have left their Trinity accommodation by 5pm on Wednesday March 18.
However, students who fit certain criteria are permitted to remain on campus. This list 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.
Trinity said that the order for residents to leave was “one of the most difficult decisions to date”. It followed the announcement that three more cases of coronavirus have been reported in the Trinity community, bringing the total to eight.
Trinity News reported that several students had expressed outrage at the decision and have emailed college staff members to communicate their anger. One student described her “great distress”, while another called the decision “utterly shameful”.
A College spokesperson told Trinity News: “This was a very difficult decision and the gravity of it reflects the rapidly evolving situation. This decision was taken on medical advice and with our students’ health and wellbeing in mind.”