May 28, 2020

In Plan to Re-Open Accommodation, Students to be Told: ‘Do Things Differently’

At an internal meeting, Provost Patrick Prendergast said students will need to ensure ‘kitchens and shared spaces are kept clean and tidy of all times’.

Jordan NannAssistant News Editor
Alex Connolly for The University Times

Trinity’s student residents will need to “do things differently” next year, The University Times has learned – they’ll be told to keep kitchens and shared spaces clean, as part of College’s plans for a phased re-opening of its accommodation.

At a meeting of University Council earlier this month, Provost Patrick Prendergast warned of the “need for students in College accommodation to do things differently by ensuring that kitchens and shared spaces are kept clean and tidy at all times”, unpublished minutes show.

The minutes, seen by The University Times, highlight Trinity’s concerns that social distancing will present challenges when the time comes to re-open its accommodation – something it plans to do “on a phased basis”.


Prendergast acknowledged the need for changes in how College provides its accommodation, but does not appear to have elaborated on the details of what a phased re-opening will look like.

Trinity declined to respond to questions from The University Times about the specifics of the plans for re-opening its accommodation, which has been closed since early March.

Catherine O’Mahony, a Trinity media relations officer, wrote in an email statement that “all of these decisions have yet to be taken”.

“Many are due be taken next Wednesday when they are also due to be communicated to the college community”, she said.

On the question of international students, Prendergast said they’ll “need to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival into Ireland”, and told Council members that Trinity “will need to support these students’ needs during this time”.

In recent days, this newspaper has published a slew of details about options Trinity is considering when it comes to how to re-open next year. Students are likely to return to College – though not necessarily to campus – on September 28th, with a combination of in-person and online teaching to take place.

Classes of 25 and under could be taught in person, with groups larger than that moved online, Vice-Provost Jurgen Barkhoff told University Council members on May 13th.

Barkhoff also warned that current two-metre social distancing protocols – an issue that’s proving contentious at a national level – could mean Trinity is able to accommodate just 20 per cent of students for lectures on campus when it re-opens.

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