Universities are permitted to continue with campus activities during Level 5 restrictions

Aoibhín Meghen

The government announced a move to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions nationwide beginning at midnight on Wednesday October 21st.

These further restrictions came after another recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

Following NPHET’s advice the government entered into talks over the weekend and Taoiseach Micheál Martin made the announcement on Monday night, October 19th.

Under Level 5 any non-essential retail must close and restaurants, pubs and cafes are limited to takeaway only.

However in a statement Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris said that universities may continue to have some activity on campus “which cannot be undertaken remotely.”

These activities include research in laboratories, workshops, and practical tuition as well as scheduled library study times and on-campus mental health services.

“All appropriate protective measures will be maintained to support these onsite activities and to avoid congregation” said Minister Harris.

DCU said it will continue with previously planned in-person classes as they fall under the types of activities approved by the government. 

However some schools within DCU, such as The School of Communications, have made the decision to reduce the number of in-person classes for public health reasons according to a DCU spokesperson.

Both the Cregan and O’Reilly Libraries on DCU’s St Patricks and Glasnevin Campuses will also remain open and will continue with the Book a Seat scheme and Click and Collect.

DCU counselling services will continue online for any DCU undergraduate or postgraduate students. Students can apply for counselling through their website www.dcu.ie/counselling

A representative from DCU Counselling  and Personal Development said that as well as their regular counselling sessions the team in DCU will also be providing workshops online. 

Minister Harris also said that although campus accommodation will remain open, students must adhere to the Level 5 restrictions. This includes no visitors and students must stay within 5 kilometres of their accommodation unless for essential purposes.

He also encouraged students to walk or cycle but said that “public transport can be used where necessary.”

The restrictions, which are based on the Plan for Living with COVID, will remain in place for six weeks however there will be a review after four weeks.

They were introduced amongst fears of rising Covid-19 cases across Ireland as case numbers reached over 1,000 a day in mid-October.

Aoibhin Meghen

Image Credit: dunwoody.ie