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Universities, schools and crèches will remain closed beyond March 29th, according to Minister for Education Joe McHugh.

UPDATE: The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced today that universities, schools and crèches will remain closed until at least April 19th. Outdoor gatherings have also been limited to a maximum of four people unless individuals belong to the same household. A list of non-essential businesses are also to close. More to follow…

The Minister said that there will likely be confirmation on Tuesday or Wednesday this week as to how long the national shutdown should last, as well as more information on how state exams will be accommodated.

Commenting on state exams on GalwayBay FM, Minister McHugh stated: “My commitment to the students and for the students who are maybe having their breakfast this morning and maybe getting ready to study and really, really putting in such an effort, my commitment to them, and the department’s commitment is, we want to make those exams happen.

“Obviously we are going to be influenced and directed by the health experts. We don’t know where we are going to be in terms of the peak of this virus.

“I think we owe it to those young people who are studying and putting in the effort to see this through to try to have these exams this year.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on March 12th that universities, schools and crèches would close until March 29th, in an effort to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ireland.

The UCD campus is currently operating under “out-of-office” protocols, resulting in heightened restrictions on staff and student present on campus.

From Monday 23rd March, UCD students began college for the first time through the online system Brightspace. Following a two-week break, students have returned to lectures happening via Zoom video conferencing system.

UCD President Andrew Deeks has said in his President’s Bulletin that the potential long-term impacts of COVID-19 for UCD could be “very serious” and have a severe impact on the university’s commercial activities. The President has appealed to recruitment staff to ensure international students, who make up over 20% of UCD’s annual income, attend the university next year. Deeks has also postponed the appointment of new academic staff under the Ad Astra Fellow scheme.


Conor Capplis – Editor