This section on COVID-19 guidelines and responsibilities provides further information on what is expected of students as outlined in the COVID-19 Student Charter (see below).
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. Current evidence suggests that the virus is significantly more infectious than the flu that circulates every winter. Patients are normally infectious until all the symptoms have gone. Please see the HSE website for further information: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
COVID-19 Tracker App
COVID Tracker is a free and easy-to-use mobile phone app that can:
- alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
- advise you on what to do to protect yourself and others
- alert other app users that you were in close contact with if you test positive for coronavirus
The app is part of the Irish contact tracing operation. Contact tracing is vital to slowing the spread of the virus. The more people that download and use the app, the more it will help contact tracing. You have full control of what information is being used in the app.
How is COVID–19 Spread?
You can get the virus if you come into close contact with someone who has the virus. It is spread through droplets that come from your nose and mouth, for example from someone who is talking loudly, singing, shouting, coughing or sneezing. You can also get the virus from surfaces as droplets containing the virus can fall onto surfaces. If you touch that surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you could become infected.
How to Protect Yourself and Others against COVID-19
Everyone should follow the simple precautions below to help slow and stop the spread of coronavirus.
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and use alcohol-based hand rub regularly. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Social distancing yourself from others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes or speaks, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.
- Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and it is more difficult to maintain physical distancing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. Why? Droplets spread the virus.
- Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies.
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
- Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as the HSE and WHO. Why? Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
- Please see the HSE website for further information: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above)
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you have noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. They can be similar to symptoms of cold and flu. Getting an early diagnosis from your GP means you can get the help you need and take steps to avoid spreading the virus, if you have it.
When a fever could be a sign of meningitis:
Fever is also a symptom of meningitis. It is very important for students to ring for medical advice so that correct diagnoses can be made.
Get medical advice immediately if you have:
- severe headache
- stiff neck
- sensitivity to light
Responding to COVID-19 Together
What students can expect from the University of Limerick:
- Our commitment to students is to endeavour to provide a safe and effective educational facility during the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.
- We will uphold all guidance and advice from the HSE and relevant public health authorities. We are currently guided by the Public Health Guidelines for HEIs, which is approved by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of the HSE. As this is a continuously evolving situation, any new regulations advised in the future will be implemented promptly.
- We will deliver a combined online and onsite learning delivery.
- In some instances, guidelines approve of 1-metre social distancing for in-class teaching. This is approved by the Public Health Guidelines for HEIs and is compliant with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of the HSE. Where feasible, 2-metre compliance will be in place.
- The maximum number of people allowed in a class will be in accordance with the prevailing public health guidance on indoor gatherings and it is recognised that this may change in accordance with the evolving COVID-19 situation nationally.
- Public Health Guidelines recommend 2-metre social distancing in all other areas during non-teaching interactions.
- Teaching and learning activities will, where possible, use rooms/lecture halls with good ventilation.
- Appropriate signage for one-way walking systems.
- Numerous hand sanitising stations.
- Regular cleaning regimes, with emphasis on high-touch areas.
- Canteen adherence to ensuring social distance is maintained and strict monitoring of capacity.
- In relation to teaching, every endeavour will be made to accommodate students with a medical vulnerability that may affect their capacity to attend the campus.
- Students can talk to the University of Limerick Student Health Centre for advice.
- Strict adherence that no student is to attend the campus if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case where they are required to restrict movement for 14 days.
- Nominated isolation room on each campus for a student who gets sick on campus and needs to await transport home or, in severe cases, medical intervention. Your campus will have all information on nominated isolation room(s).
- Willingness to take on board suggestions or to address any improvements that can be made for the betterment of the University of Limerick.
What the University of Limerick expects from students:
- That all students strictly adhere to the COVID-19 Student Charter (see below) and the relevant guidelines in place on all University of Limerick campuses. This is of the upmost importance to ensure all members of the campus community are kept safe in this environment. It will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread and outbreaks.
- That all students recognise that in addition to adhering to public health measures, downloading and maintaining the free COVID Tracker app will help us to protect each other and slow the spread of coronavirus. This is an essential part of the contact tracing operation for public health in Ireland.
- That all students strictly adhere to the national guidelines outlined in https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/75d92-covid-19-travel-advice/ with respect to the protocols to be followed before, during and after any travel to and from Ireland.
- That students strictly adhere to the signage regarding one-way walking systems in the corridors.
- That students protect others and themselves by regular hand washing with soap and water, in particular after using the bathroom facilities, before touching or preparing food, before eating food, before and after using public transport, when returning home after meeting people, if their hands are visibly dirty and, finally, after coughing, sneezing or touching a dirty surface.
- That students use the hand sanitising stations to decontaminate the hands when entering and exiting buildings.
- That students adhere to safe and correct respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into their elbow or a tissue. Dispose of tissue safely and decontaminate your hands immediately.
- All students must follow government policy on the wearing wear face coverings/mask indoors in University of Limerick campuses in accordance with the HSE guidelines on mask wearing. Guidelines are available here - https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/face-masks-disposable-gloves.html
- Any student with a long-term medical condition or who is considered medically vulnerable or told to cocoon due to COVID-19 may seek advices from the Student Health Centre by emailing StudentHealthCentre@ul.ie. This is completely private and confidential between the medical staff and you, the student. Advice for people who are at risk and higher risk is also available on https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
- Outside of the classroom, all students must socially distance at 2-metre intervals and must wear a face covering/mask.
- All students should avoid/minimise sharing personal items (pens, phones), beverage or food with others.
- Students who are medically vulnerable and unable to attend the university campus should contact their faculty/school/department for support.
- If you are unwell with any COVID-19 symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are considered to be a close contact to a positive case, do not attend the University of Limerick campus/learning environment under any circumstance. Please contact the Student Health Centre by phone (061-202534) or email (COVID19Report@ul.ie) or your own GP to receive appropriate guidance.
- If you become unwell at college with COVID-19-like symptoms:
- Ensure you have your face covering in place.
- Contact your GP or the Student Health Centre for advice by phone (061-202534) or email (StudentHealthCentre@ul.ie). Do not attend in person.
- Do not use public transport to get home.
- Go home and self-isolate.
- If you require a lift home from a family member and need to wait for this arrangement, an isolation room can be provided for this time.
- Students who are concerned that they may have symptoms should be particularly careful to avoid contact with older people or people who they know to have medical conditions that put them at particular risk of severe disease.
Medical Contact Details
- Student Health Centre for all students: 061-202534 or StudentHealthCentre@ul.ie
- Out of Hours Emergency Cover Shannondoc (Limerick and Clare) 1850 212 999
- Out of Hours Emergency Cover Caredoc (Tipperary) 1850 334 999
- HSELive Coronavirus Medical Help 1850 24 1850
- Please see the HSE website for further information: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
COVID-19 Student Charter
The safety of our community relies on a responsible partnership between University of Limerick students and the institution. Our COVID-19 Student Charter, together with our COVID-19 Student Guidelines and Responsibilities (see above), outlines the commitment expected of all students throughout the academic year 2020/2021.
As a student of the University of Limerick:
- I will follow the guidelines as outlined in https://www.ul.ie/covid/ and public health guidelines related to reducing the spread of COVID-19. I understand that this is likely to change regularly so I will take personal responsibility for ensuring I am up to date with the latest information which is available at https://www.ul.ie/covid/ and https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/.
- I understand that in addition to adhering to public health measures, downloading and maintaining the free COVID Tracker app will help us to protect each other and slow the spread of coronavirus in Ireland.
- I will endeavour to take all necessary health and safety precautions to protect myself and others.
- I will adhere to the wearing of a face covering/mask indoors on all University of Limerick campus environments in accordance with HSE guidelines as detailed in https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/face-masks-disposable-gloves.html
- I will adhere to all hygiene precautions including proper hand hygiene (washing and sanitising), respiratory hygiene and relevant social distancing measures as detailed in https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/.
- I understand that if I have an underlying medical condition which requires further support to attend campus I can contact StudentHealthCentre@ul.ie for guidance and advice.
- I understand that if I am medically vulnerable and unable to attend the college campus, I should contact my course leader for support.
- I will adhere to all of the environmental safety measures throughout my time on campus.
- I will strictly adhere to the national guidelines outlined in https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/75d92-covid-19-travel-advice/ with respect to the protocols which are to be followed before, during and after any travel to and from Ireland.
- I will not attend any learning environment if I have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- I will not attend any learning environment if I experience COVID-19 symptoms and/or I am considered a close contact to a positive case. I will follow guidance to self-isolate and get a test.
- If I become unwell at college with COVID-19-like symptoms, I will leave the campus immediately, returning safely to my accommodation and without compromising others. I will follow guidance to self-isolate and get a test.
- As a member of the University of Limerick community, I will behave appropriately, consider others, follow national and local advice and the public health guidelines, act responsibly and uphold the core values and policies of our institution.
- I know that this is an ever-developing situation – one which requires everyone’s ongoing vigilance and personal responsibility.