Masks made mandatory for beginning of term

Staff and students who cannot wear a face mask due to health conditions will be asked to declare this to College

This morning, College confirmed that masks would be mandatory for students to wear when the Michaelmas term commences on September 28.

At the beginning of the week, masks were made compulsory for both students and tourists currently on campus. Tourists will be refused entry if they do not wear a face covering. 

As of this morning, face coverings will be mandatory for all staff and students when classes begin, with teaching staff being advised to wear face visors where possible, so it will not “reduce the impact on communication”.

Staff or students who cannot wear a face mask due to health conditions are asked to declare this, so College can put “specific appropriate measures” in place. 

“Reasonable excuses” can apply to instances where staff or students may be allowed to not wear a mask, such as the person needs to communicate with a someone who has difficulties communicating, when the covering must be removed to provide emergency assistance or to provide care to a vulnerable person, and if a member of staff asks a person to remove the face covering in order to identify the person wearing the covering.

According to the Trinity Health and Advice FAQ page, students who have an under-lying medical condition and do not want to attend in-person classes may contact their tutor and the Head of their Department or School to request course material be made available online. 

Requests will be dealt with individually on a case-by-case basis in each individual department. 

“We realize that it is highly probable that the virus will spread despite all public health measures, and we will offer as much support as possible to any member of the college community that may contract the virus.”

Trinity has put a range of measures in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus when College resumes. This includes a “hybrid learning” approach, with all large scale lectures taking place online, while smaller classes and tutorials take place in person. 

Students and staff are urged to continue to use the current Covid-19 precautionary measures, such as hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette, social distancing and the wearing of face masks.

A one-way entry  and exit system has been established for buildings, where possible. Hand sanitizers and dispensers have also been added throughout the campus, to facilitate good hand hygiene. 

A “keep right and keep moving” policy has been introduced on all stairways, alongside a one-person policy for all lifts on campus. 

Designated seating that maintains social distancing is also place throughout seating areas in College. 

For teaching and learning, a physical distance of at least 1m shoulder to shoulder is to be maintained between students, while the protocol around the country remains a 2m distancing rule. 

Staff are required to maintain a distance of 2m between themselves and students. 

Gloves are not to be worn unless required and must never be used as a substitute for hand hygiene.

After each group of students or staff leaves a workspace, “high-contact surfaces” will be cleaned with water and detergent, not with disinfectant.

According to College, Trinity will keep records of attendance at all events for 4 weeks in case required for contact tracing purposes, “to the greatest extent possible”.

College began its fifth stage of reopening this week, with the Book of Kells and Old Library exhibitions opening to tourists, and the John Stearne Medical Library at St James Hospital also reopened, joining the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton Libraries, which reopened on 20 July.

Students are expected to return to classes on September 28, following the closure of all schools and colleges on March 12 at 6pm, to limit the spread of Covid-19. 

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.