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Health and Safety

Attending DCU 2021/22 - Students - Studying At DCU

COVID 19 Hub 2021/22 - What students need to know

Return to Campus

DCU has been working with government, other universities, and with student and employee stakeholders to ensure a safe and sustained return to campus.

Higher Education has been deemed ‘essential’ by the Government - and we want this recognition to translate into concrete support for our safe return to face-to-face teaching. 

Minister for Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, published and has updated the the third-level education reopening plan. You can read the department’s plan for the safe return to onsite further and higher education and research here.

DCU campuses are open, and university activity continues.

With the support of students, we successfully delivered predominantly face-to-face teaching and research last semester. It remains our intention to maximise campus based learning this coming semester in line with the Government’s Safe Return Plan

We rely on the ongoing support, cooperation and understanding of DCU students to enable this, and it is important to note additional COVID-19 risk mitigation measures (which are detailed below) that are being put in place.

 

Current Status

  1. All research on campus will continue unless a staff member or research student is unable to attend, and moves online (where possible) for those researchers who are well, but required to restrict their movements. 

  1. To ensure that teaching and learning continues on schedule, we will start Semester 2 on January 10th as planned. Teaching for programmes which are normally campus-based will be in person, unless a staff member cannot attend campus. 

  • In the case of staff absence from campus, arrangements will be put in place and communicated to you. Lectures and other activities impacted by staff absence will, where possible, continue online and in line with the published timetable.  
  • It is recognised that some students may also have to remain at home for short periods. Delivering programmes fully on campus and simultaneously fully online is not possible, but staff are being asked to make materials available to facilitate continuity of learning.
  • If you will miss a required activity such as a lab or skills session(s) because you are required to remain at home, let your programme chair know and include the relevant dates. Please also notify the COVID-19 Helpline (01-7007019 or dcucovid.helpline@dcu.ie) if you have a positive pcr or Antigen test. 
  • As was emphasised at the beginning of Semester One, the programmes are designed to be delivered face-to-face and supporting resources do not equate to the learning experience you will have in-person, so it is very important to come to campus when you are able. 
  • Special arrangements for our small number of particularly vulnerable students will continue to be put in place, as they were in Semester One.

While the numbers of COVID 19 cases are now high at the moment, increasingly both staff and students are being protected by vaccine boosters, and safety measures already in place on campus have proven to be very robust.

The extensive precautionary measures applied in Semester One will remain in place, and we have employed additional COVID-19 risk mitigation measures for the coming semester:

  1. Antigen tests (2 per week) will be made available for all staff and students from Monday January 10th at the following distribution points across the campuses:
  • SU Offices (reception desk) in Glasnevin and St. Pats
  • Reception desks in O'Reilly (Glasnevin) and Cregan (St. Pats) libraries
  • Main reception in All Hallows
  • SS&D Offices (reception desks - subject to local office opening hours) in Glasnevin and St. Pats
  • For student living in Campus Residences, the campus Residences reception desks in Glasnevin and St. Pats will have tests available also 

In accordance with current HSE guidelines, it is recommended that you do an antigen test twice per week with 3 days between each test as it can take some time for the virus to show up in your system after you are exposed.  Please remember that if you have any symptoms, assume you have COVID-19 and restrict your movements. The latest guidance is available via the HSE website. For information on booking antigen tests through the HSE, click here

  1. Vaccinations

We are liaising with the HSE for the provision of additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics (including booster shots) to be provided on campus.

The booster programme is open to everyone over the age of 16, and you can book your booster appointment in a HSE vaccination clinic, chemist or GP. All the information is here.

The pharmacy on the Glasnevin campus (PharmHealth) has been doing booster vaccination but has limited supply of vaccines at present from the HSE. It is hoped that additional supplies will be delivered in the next ca.7 days. We will issue an update when we have confirmation of delivery dates.

All mitigation measures that were in place in Semester One remain in place. They include:

  1. Ventilation systems set to full power fresh air in-take only with monitoring of CO2 levels as a proxy for air quality
  2. Classrooms with natural ventilation or sub-optimal mechanical ventilation operating at reduced capacities with clear signage to open windows and doors etc
  3. Provision of hand sanitisation stations
  4. Provision of antiviral wipes in all classrooms
  5. The requirement for the wearing of face masks indoors in all University buildings
  6. Provision of free surgical face masks for all staff and students
  7. Provision of marquees and additional outdoor seating on all campuses
  8. Request for any staff members or student with COVID-19 symptoms to stay at home
  9. Internal COVID case logging and contact tracing
  10. The COVID-19 Helpline (01-7007019 or dcucovid.helpline@dcu.ie) remains in operation.  We are asking any student that has a positive PCR or Antigen test to inform us via the Helpline.
  11. HSE PCR testing facility remains in operation on the Glasnevin campus (We appreciate that the HSE PCR testing system is under considerable strain at present)

The situation, which is evolving very quickly, will be kept under review. Any changes in plans will be communicated as early as possible.

Teaching - Lectures, Laboratories and tutorials 

  • Teaching for all continuing students and new postgraduate students on taught programmes will start on Monday, January 10th as planned. 
  • A revised academic calendar is in place for this year - for information about this, please click here 
  • We will be delivering face-to-face teaching at close to normal levels for most modules on programmes which are normally campus-based, including for relatively large groups. We can do this because most of our classrooms and laboratories will be operating at 80% or greater capacity. There is more detail below on how air quality will be managed and monitored, allowing us to safely use our teaching spaces at these levels of occupancy. 
  • Staff and students will be wearing face coverings 
  • Staff can remove face coverings when lecturing - everyone is protected in this instance by a 2m social distance space which is marked out in each lecture/classroom around the lectern at the top of the room. Please respect the 2m social distance area around the lectern in each classroom. 
  • DCU does not have the resources to simultaneously support extensive face-to-face teaching and to deliver programmes fully online. We have facilities in a small number of large classrooms to stream or record lectures and, where appropriate, we will make use of these, but any such supports may not equate to the learning experience you will have in-person.
  • If a student is - based on medical advice - deemed to be at very high risk from COVID-19, the university will make every effort to support a full learning experience. If you fall into this category, please complete the form at this link and we will then undertake a review to see how best we can support your learning.

The HSE's updated close contact rules can be viewed here

 

Campus Services

All academic, library, student support, finance and registry services will be operating on the campuses

Library

  • The Cregan and O’Reilly libraries will be open for book borrowing and study spaces. From Monday, January 10th, opening hours are: Monday to Thursday - 9am - 10pm; Friday 9am - 5pm; Saturday 9.30am - 5pm 
  • The new Woodlock Hall library on the All Hallows campus will be open for study spaces, with advance booking, 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday.  
  • Further details will be provided on the DCU Library webpage.

DCU Sport

  • DCU Sports facilities will be operating in accordance with national COVID-19 guidance for that sector. You can find out about their opening hours here
  • Student Sports Clubs’ activities will resume for the upcoming academic year with specific arrangements that will reflect the Government’s guidance for Sport

Catering & Retail

  • All on-campus canteen/catering facilities will be operated as ‘Workplace Canteens’ for staff/students with reduced capacities and staff/students will be encouraged to eat outside where feasible.
  • Entry to Nubar in the U will require a Digital COVID Certificate and a DCU student ID card as evidence of identification.
  • The Londis shops on the St. Patricks and Glasnevin campus are open as normal
  • The following catering outlets will be open:
    • Outdoor catering facilities (2 x new coffee trailers) 

Glasnevin campus

  • Business School restaurant
  • Zest in the Sports Complex
  • The Main Restaurant
  • Library restaurant
  • Nursing building restaurant

All Hallows Campus: 

  • Marmadukes Coffee shop

St Pats Campus:

  • Starbucks Coffee Shop in the O’Reilly library
  • The Main restaurant
  • Java Cafe

On-Campus Accommodation

  • DCU campus accommodation is operating as normal, with most students due to take up occupancy from September 13th. 
  • Dates have been adapted for first year undergraduates. Relevant information is here
  • Students should:
    • Open windows, where feasible, to ensure good ventilation in your room/ apartment
    • Wear face covering when moving around outside your apartment

Students’ Union, Clubs & Societies Activity

  • A marquee is being installed on Glasnevin on the grass area outside the Lonsdale building to cater for DCU Student Union Clubs and Societies activities/events there. 
  • There is additional outdoor seating on all campuses, and open-sided marquees (one on Glasnevin outside the Business School and a large one on the St. Patrick’s campus outside the O’Reilly library) will facilitate outdoor socialising.
  • The U building on the Glasnevin campus and Java Cafe on the St. Patrick’s campus will be open as normal.

Ensuring return to campus is sustained

As we return to campus, the university is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all of our staff and students, and will adhere to government guidelines. As per the government announcement on August 31st, we are entering a phase where planning and responsible personal behaviour will replace regulation and restriction in keeping us all safe and the university running on campus as an essential experience for student learning. 

Vaccination

The situation with COVID has been in a constant state of flux. The Delta and Omicron variants have caused concern, but the national vaccination programme has proven to be very effective. If you have not already availed of the opportunity to be vaccinated and/or boostered against COVID-19 , we encourage you to do so now - the public health advice is very clear that take-up of vaccines is the best way we can protect one another, and open up of activities, including those in universities. Vaccination is a matter of individual choice however and not compulsory to attend classes on campus. 

Responsible behaviour

Responsible behaviour by students on and off campus is key to the success of returning to campus safely and allowing us all to make the 2021/22 academic year as normal as possible.  

We need your cooperation and support in the period ahead with the following:

  • Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings in all university buildings. If you are unable to do so due to a condition or for medical reasons, you should register here.
  • Movement of people into, within and out of buildings will be managed and will require your cooperation to avoid congestion. It is important that you do not congregate indoors before or after classes
  • Wash your hands regularly. Hand sanitisation stations are being provided at the entrances to all buildings; please always use them
  • Anti-viral wipes are provided in all lecture rooms which can be used to wipe down your work area before each class
  • Anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 must stay at home and follow HSE advice. More information on what to do if you contract COVID19 or experience symptoms is here.
  • Where possible you should socialise outdoors on campus. Additional outdoor seating will be in place on all campuses with large marquees also in place on the St. Patrick’s and Glasnevin campuses.
  • Bear in-mind that we will be living with the ever present risk of COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. Taking sensible and practical steps when socialising or when you are involved in non-University activities off campus can substantially reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19:
    • Avoid crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation.  
    • Socialise outdoors as much as possible.
    • Wear face covering when indoors when social distancing cannot be maintained

Managing suspected or confirmed cases of COVID 19

  • DCU’s COVID helpline (email and phone which is operational 24/7) will remain in operation for 2021/22 academic year. You can contact the helpline at 01-7007019 or by email dcucovid.helpline@dcu.ie
  • If you are confirmed as being COVID positive - please inform the DCU COVID Helpline asap so that we can commence contact tracing.
  • DCU’s COVID case logging and contract tracing will remain in operation – this has allowed us to react quickly to confirmed cases, contact close contacts and take all appropriate supporting actions. 
  • We have recently agreed with the HSE that a walk-in COVID-19 PCR test facility will be available on the Glasnevin campus from Sept 21st.  This will be located in the Healthy Living Centre in the Nursing building. 
  • We await guidance from Government as to whether rapid antigen testing will also play a part to keep campuses safe
  • It is worth reiterating here - anyone who is displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay at home and follow HSE advice.

How room capacities were established and how air quality is being managed

The DCU campuses, for the most part, consist of relatively modern buildings with modern efficient ventilation systems.  

DCU Estates and the Health and Safety Office have risk-assessed all of our teaching spaces,  particularly in terms of ventilation and air quality and approved each room’s safe capacity. Rooms with high quality ventilation substantially reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and they can be scheduled as normal, others have a reduced maximum capacity limit.

The following measures are in place to ensure a safe campus environment:

  • All campus mechanical ventilation systems have been reset to fresh air in-take only e.g. no recirculating air  in accordance with the latest COVID-19 ventilation guidelines
  • In rooms that are naturally ventilated, we will be encouraging staff/students to open windows, and where feasible doors, to allow for fresh air into the room.  This may mean that certain rooms are cooler than normal but your safety and the safety of our staff takes priority.
  • We will be constantly monitoring the carbon dioxide levels in all spaces as an indicator of air quality, to ensure appropriate ventilation is in place.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols are in place across all campuses.

Final year students 2020/21

  • As the vaccination and booster programme continues, we are hoping to be able to organise in-person graduations for final year students 2020/21, public health guidance permitting. 
  • In the event we can proceed, we are currently working towards dates in February and March 2022. 
  • You also have the option of having your parchment delivered ahead of these dates if you need it for employment purposes. 
  • More information on these plans will be available in the coming months through the graduation page on the Registry website.
  • In relation to the Autumn/Spring Graduates 2020, we remain committed to holding an event (or events) for groups who graduated, but unfortunately could not have a ceremony because of the pandemic.
  • As the vaccination programme progresses over the next couple of months, the President's Office hopes to be in a much better position to know exactly what can be planned for. We will let graduates know as soon as we have better clarity. We have a list of FAQs here

Supports

We are committed to providing you with welfare, academic and practical supports throughout this time. For more information visit Your University Life.

IT Services

As a student you should be able to find everything you need to know on the Information Systems Services (ISS) page.
Should you require further assistance, you can check out the ISS Knowledge Base or log a support ticket.

Glasnevin general image
An aerial view of the plaza on DCU's Glasnevin campus