DCU Students’ Union plans to launch Covid-19 Safety Campaign

Michelle Cullen

The DCU Students’ Union is planning to launch a Covid-19 safety campaign in the coming weeks.

The campaign will advise students on how to keep themselves healthy, both mentally and physically, while adhering to the government’s restrictions.

It will also encourage students to maintain a healthy outlook on life while balancing socialisation in a new virtual based reality.

“From the beginning of our term, we’ve been heavily monitoring the government guidelines to ensure we know what is expected of each institution, and then following that up at an upper management level to ensure practices are followed through on,” said SU VP for Welfare and Equality Dean O’Reilly.

Two members of the SU team, VP for Education and Placement Chloe McMorrow and VP for Engagement and Development Dylan Mangan, sit on the school’s health and safety board alongside DCU staff to represent the student voice.

“We wanted to secure the availability of library and study spaces, which are socially distant and cleaned accordingly,” O’Reilly said.

DCU has limited the number of on-campus students by only scheduling essential classes in an effort to make campus safer. The library will remain open, though students must book a seat beforehand.

Kaja Natanek, a 3rd -year actuarial maths student, doesn’t mind the lack of time on campus.

“Not having on-campus lectures is manageable for maths students as we have no hands-on classes or discussions seminars,” she said. “Though, a big disappointment is the maths learning centre being closed as all of actuarial students relied on it for help.”

Although the SU has worked hard to keep the library open for students to study in a safe and calm environment, centres like the maths learning centre have remained closed.

“In the maths learning centre, you can just put your hand up and ask a question quickly, but now you have to schedule a meeting with a tutor – It’s more of a time waste and not practical,” Natanek said.

The SU has been split into sub-teams to ensure that, should one member of the SU contract Covid-19, all members would not have to self-isolate.

Mangan is based exclusively on St. Pats Campus, with O’Reilly and VP for Academic Affairs Lucien Waugh-Daly based on the Glasnevin Campus for the first semester.

“One of the most important things we need to do to keep students safe is to ensure that we can continue to do the work we do every day,” O’Reilly said.

Campus accommodation is also a primary focus of the SU, with many students not knowing if they should pay for full-time accommodation with reduced, or cancelled, on-campus hours.

The SU has reached out to the primary accommodation providers for DCU to ask them about their Covid-19 planning.

“I raised government guidelines with each provider, Hazelwood and Campus Res. for example, such as keeping certain apartments vacant to allow for relocation of students should outbreaks occur,” O’Reilly said.

The SU said they have “made sure, as best as possible, that each accommodation provider we have recommended is Covid compliant.”

Michelle Cullen

Image credit: DCUSU