Covid-19 remains a contagious virus within the community. The recommendation is that if you can work from home you should continue to do so. If you are preparing to return to work on campus or are contributing to your area’s return to work business plan, all the information and documents you will need in the first instance are available on the internally available COVID-19 SharePoint site. If you cannot access this, please email the Internal Communications Manager Eoin Brady for permission.
The Department of Education and Skills issued revised arrangements in relation to COVID-19, Coronavirus (COVID-19): Arrangements for all Public Service employees available here.
Specifically, this addresses the general principles that apply to the management of COVID-19 which include the safety and welfare of employees along with the minimisation of the impact on teaching and learning.
The Irish Universities Association has published Implementation Guidelines for Public Health Measures in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in which the following key principle is outlined: "In keeping with the wider approach in society in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recognised that the successful implementation of ‘Return to Campus’ can only be done on a cooperative basis with shared responsibility between staff and students and HEI management."
We are preparing for the time when students come back on campus on 28 September. In line with Public Health guidelines, students must wear facemasks while indoors on campus.
The protocol is the same for staff: face coverings must be worn in all University buildings, including but not exclusively shared and open plan office spaces, teaching spaces, labs, research areas and corridors. In teaching environments where a 2m distance is maintained, a face shield may be worn, particularly if lecturers have concerns around voice projection or there is a requirment for students to see their face.
If you are in a single occupancy office, you do not have to wear a face covering in your office. A face covering must be worn each time you leave your office and if you receive a visitor to your office. Staff are encouraged to conduct meetings online or via telephone in lieu of face-to-face meetings,
In addition to COVID-19 signage, PPE and scheduling, a key task is cleaning and hygiene. Pedal bins and additional toilet cleaning services and waste removal are being provided. Daily sanitisation of all touch points within each building (push plates, door handles, bin lids, lift buttons, hand rails) is being implemented as buildings reopen.
In relation to online teaching resources, on the Learning Technology Forum website you can find recorded webinars, a repository of resources on creating online content, programme/module design, student engagement and more, along with a calendar of CPD events on offer. For more links and information, go to the Academic Planning section on the COVID-19 SharePoint Hub.
If your work requires you to be on campus, then you should apply for approval to return via your line-manager. This will then be included in your department / unit COVID-19 Business Response Plan.
Once your area’s Covid-19 Business Response Plan is approved, you will be sent a Pre-Return to Work form. Where no issues are identified in the Pre-Return form, you will be approved to return to work on campus.
Before you return to campus working, you will need to complete the COVID-19 Staff Awareness training programme. This will be arranged by your line-manager.
A link to the internal Covid-19 Sharepoint site has been shared with all staff which contains additional documentation and information that you may require.