Trinity to adopt a two-phase return to campus

College today gave details on how in-person activities will operate until November 1, after which restrictions will “relax”

Trinity is to adopt a two-phase approach in the return to campus with restrictions easing after reading week, Provost Linda Doyle has announced.

Doyle announced this morning in an email to students and staff that there will be a phased reopening of campus, which differs from the approach of other universities.

The email contains details on the way lectures, laboratories, tutorials, libraries and social events will operate on campus in September and October.

Trinity is to open on September 6 with a “more cautious” approach. These regulations are to last up to and including Reading Week, starting October 25.

From November 1, College intends to “relax regulations further to allow for many more in-person campus experiences”. This was previously reported by Trinity News after the news was leaked in a school of physics email, but a College spokesperson later denied it.

In the first half of the semester, lecture sizes will be limited, with each individual school to decide on the precise maximum class size.

Doyle noted that “in line with government expectations, and the pact the sector signed, we must ensure that every student has some kind of regular in-person learning experience”.

She added that “there is no hard and fast definition of what this means” and “different disciplines will be best placed to understand what this should look like in the context of that discipline”.

The Library and study spaces are to continue to operate with two metre social distancing and mandatory mask wearing. The 1 hr 45 minute limit and booking system will also remain in place.

Students will be free to “come and go” on campus, despite College previously saying students would be “requested not to attend” campus when they were not timetabled to be in class.

Students will not need to have proof of a library or study space booking to come on campus and College will not be “insisting students leave campus once lectures, laboratories and tutorials are finished”.

All staff and students will still need to swipe in and out of college with their ID cards. However, College is encouraging staff to “continue to work from home where agreed or required and where appropriate.”

Doyle’s email also said that lectures, laboratories and tutorials are to operate with one metre social distancing and mandatory mask wearing. This was also previously announced by the school of physics but later said by College to be a school-specific approach.

The email also explained that social events can proceed on campus, though only outdoors. Senior fresher students will have their own Freshers Week beginning September 6, whilst junior freshers will have a Freshers Week beginning September 20.

Mask wearing will not be made mandatory for students whilst outdoors on campus.

Indoor dining will be permitted, with students being required to show their EU Digital Covid Certificates.

Indoor social events will not be allowed, however outdoor social events are to be permitted.

Outdoor events outside the Pavillion bar (the Pav) will be allowed, within 1 hour and 45 minute time frames.

Campus residents are being advised to “comply with normal indoor rules, as per national guidelines, when in rooms”. Residents must wear masks outside their apartments when circulating in residential buildings.

Residents who are sharing a room must provide “a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate or evidence of full vaccination with a Covid Vaccine approved in Ireland”.

The document concludes with the note that College will “of course work to find solutions for staff and students that are in the very high-risk categories on a case-by-case basis”.

Exactly how much restrictions will be eased after Reading Week was not detailed in Doyle’s email.

Doyle noted that many students “will be disappointed we are starting out with caution”, and “may rightly ask why we are being more cautious than some other institutions”.

“A lot has to do with our location and layout as a campus,” Doyle continued. “Given that our main campus is compact and contained within the city centre…we and our public health experts feel this is the right approach.”

Additional reporting by Shannon Connolly.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.

Jamie Cox

Jamie Cox is current News Analysis Editor for Trinity News and previously served as Higher Education Correspondent. He is a Junior Sophister Ancient and Medieval History and Culture student.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Editor-in-Chief of Trinity News, and a graduate of Sociology and Social Policy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.