Universities based in Dublin have agreed to minimise on-campus teaching, where possible and to suspend all society or club activities for the coming weeks as part of “enhanced measures” to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Dublin, according to the Irish Universities Association (IUA).

Following a request from the government and the recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), universities based in County Dublin have agreed to a series of additional measures to deal with the “rising incidence” of cases in the county. Universities have agreed to “use discretion” when deciding between scheduling online or in-person teaching activities. The priority of on-campus teaching will be given to learning which cannot take place by means of distanced learning.

Orientation for first-year university students or “small tutorials”, which cannot be carried out online, may take place in-person so long as such activities take place on a “staggered basis to avoid congregation or large on-site attendances”.

Despite the curtailment of on-campus teaching, university libraries will remain open with “strict social distancing protocols and entry registration” in place. University-based research will continue to operate “as normal” on campuses across the county, it is understood that existing social distancing measures must continue to be followed in these instances.

The IUA has committed to “clear communication” to staff and students regarding any developments to their planned “enhanced measures”. The IUA anticipates that these enhanced measures will undergo a review “after an initial period in view of evolving public health advice”.

University campuses based outside County Dublin will continue to open in-line with existing plans for blended learning.

Hugh Dooley – News Editor