Bans on overnight stays, self-regulated sanitation, and legally enforced self isolation for international students are just a few of the regulations in store for students as they prepare to move into campus accommodation this month. 

Students will not be allowed to have overnight visitors until further notice. This measure is not entirely new: even under normal circumstances, UCD Residences require all overnight visitors to be registered ahead of time, and during exam periods, overnight stays are prohibited. However, it is unclear how these regulations will be enforced, whether it be through daily registers, greater supervision from Residential Assistants (RAs) or other measures. According to students staying in campus residences pre-COVID, it is understood that penalties were rarely administered for breaches of overnight visitor rules. It is yet to be seen if, and how, UCD’s approach to enforcement might change. 

Speaking to The College Tribune on the ban, UCDSU Welfare Officer Ruairí Power commented that, “If there is to be a more stringent enforcement of overnight guests on campus accommodation this will limit the extent to which students can have others staying over than in previous years” and that “they [young people] understand that these decisions are being made in light of public health guidelines to limit transmission of COVID-19. Young people are doing the best they can under the circumstances and will continue to follow public health advice. We do hope that this decision will be monitored and eased as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Power added that, “Right now, students can still have sex. One way to limit the spread of the virus, is to reduce the number of sexual partners you have. It would be safer to have one regular partner rather than having multiple partners. The HSE have also suggested that people could have remote sexual activity rather than physical contact”.

Students will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines in their accommodation as instructed by the HSE. UCD Residences will be cleaning common areas within buildings while common areas within apartments are considered the responsibility of the students. There is an element of self-regulation involved here, as UCD Residences has asked students to report those not following guidelines to RAs or front of house staff. It is unclear at this time what regulatory or disciplinary measures UCD Residences is planning to implement outside of this.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, all international visitors to Ireland, including students, must self-isolate for 14 days. In easing the transition for international students, the University is encouraging students to come back to Ireland as close to the August 20th on-campus move in date as possible, so that they can complete their 14-day self isolation. Students are required to inform UCD Residences of their arrival date. Those who have booked accommodation on campus already will not have to pay during the “restricted movement” period, from the 20th of August until the 9th of September. Students self isolating will be provided with bed linens and a towel. However, they will not be provided with any toiletries, or any food that is not already part of their residency package. According to the UCD Residences website, students are expected to order their own food through grocery delivery services. 

With the recently announced closure of Aparto Montrose, and the short notice being provided to students about the nature of the school year, many students may be just starting their search for Dublin accommodation for the academic year. However, on-campus accommodation appears to be completely full, with one applicant saying the waiting list for spaces is at least 1,000+ students long. 

Jack McGee – Reporter