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 have made the decision to not proceed with in-person classes for public health reasons.

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.

“We have continued our services throughout the lockdown and we will continue to do so” said a representative from DCU Counselling  and Personal Development.

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. 

Aoibhín Meghen

Image Credit: Alison Clair

Note: This article was reuploaded on 21/03/21 due to a fault with The College View website.