Due to rising Covid-19 numbers across the country, at the request of government, all HEIs will now move to the enhanced public health protection measures applied in Dublin-based HEIs last week.
While the safety of staff and students has always been a priority of the new academic year, the focus of the next 2-3 weeks is on limiting the cross country movement of students and avoiding congregation of large groups on campus.
Arising from the request from government, all IUA universities will make further provisions as follows:
- Universities will use discretion when deciding between onsite and remote for the scheduling of particular activities and favour remote delivery if feasible during this period.
- On-campus provision will be minimised with priority given to teaching and learning that can only take place on-site.
- This will include small group teaching and research in laboratories, practical tuition and workshops.
- It will also include limited planned on-site attendance for other priority student cohorts. This may include small tutorials and elements of first-year orientation / induction which cannot be undertaken on line, so long as these are conducted on a staggered basis to avoid congregation or large on-site attendances.
- University libraries will remain open with strict social distancing protocols and entry registration.
- All research activities will continue as normal.
- Social / club activities on-campus will be suspended until further notice.
- Universities will also enhance any protection measures such as more extensive wearing of face masks in certain settings.
In addition, the universities will ensure that all necessary health protection measures are in place and that there will be clear communication to students and staff in this regard. This is underpinned by national guidance for the further and higher education sectors and by more detailed implementation guidelines developed by public health experts.
Individual universities will communicate revised plans to students and staff. It is anticipated that these additional measures will be reviewed after an initial period in view of evolving public health advice.
The IUA is also collaborating with other sectoral stakeholders and with the Department of Further, Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to finalise a Covid-19 response Plan to deal with any incidence of Covid-19 that may occur.