In an e-mail issued to students and staff this afternoon, NUI Galway has communicated its decision to move all teaching and learning online for the remainder of this semester. The library, campus accommodation and essential on-site activities are to run as they have been, adhering to public health guidelines.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, NUI Galway President, stated that “considering that current national restrictions (at Level 3 at least) will be now in place until (at least) week 5 in the semester” and given the need “for as much certainty and stability as possible in this regard, for the remainder of this semester, all other teaching and learning will remain online.” The email states that “until further notice, only essential on-site activities should continue on campus”

These “essential on-site activities” were identified as all research activities which have been operating since reopening during the summer and lab-based and practical tuition which is to take place “under the restrictions and guidelines in place in that regard since the beginning of semester”. The library is to remain open “with library access on a planned and regulated entry basis, avoiding congregation risk.” The University is “conscious of the need for an increased number of appropriate socially-distanced student study places” and is reviewing how it can facilitate them.

Staff have been told they “should continue to work from home unless it is essential to attend in person to be effective.”

Campus accommodation will remain open. For students who do not require to be on campus for lab-based and practical tuition and wish “to return home to continue their studies remotely”, the University will “refund the cost of campus accommodation, less facilities charges, for the remainder of the semester.”

The president urged students and staff to “do their bit in preventing the further spread of Covid-19.” The advice of the Union of Students in Ireland to “keep it small, keep it safe and keep your distance” whilst socialising has been recommended.

Mahnoor Choudhry – Deputy News Editor