Coronavirus COVID-19

The University is closed until further notice.

Teaching and assessment will be online/remote for the rest of the semester. Colleagues are requested to continue to work remotely unless asked to attend work by your line manager.

Consistent with current public health protocols and priorities, campuses will be accessible only to those who are doing agreed HSE-related work and supporting the HSE in its COVID-19-specific work. Necessary access will also be provided for those supporting our students and others in University Student Accommodation and in support services required to facilitate that work and maintain a secure and safe campus to the extent possible.

Revised dates for next academic year

Please note: Revised semester dates for First Years were set before the Government acnnounced the cancellation of the 2020 Leaving Cert. The dates forFirst Year commencement are likely to be revised further as a new timetable for the release of results and CAO offers is announced by the Government.

Live Q&A online

We will be running a series of online Q&A sessions to help answer current and incoming students' queries and support you at this challenging time:

Check out our upcoming Virtual Events here

Key Updates

We would like to draw the attention of our University community to the following updates

Staff/student email update from University President, 25 May


  for all previous COVID-19 updates from the President

Reopening our university campuses:

As you know, while our university campuses remain closed, we remain open to our shared mission, for the public good, as our university community continues to work together, albeit remotely. Thank you to all those who continue to make it so.

We are now one week into the first phase of the Government’s Roadmap to Recovery for Society and Business, and as we experience the gradual lifting of restrictions and a return to some business activity outside our University, it is natural for staff and students to wonder when regular access to research facilities, offices and teaching spaces might be possible. The safety of our students and staff is always and will always be our first priority. Decisions that could impact your safety will be taken with care and caution and therefore cannot and will not be rushed. While we are still in the early stages of planning a phased reopening of our campuses, I want to reassure you that it is being progressed in a structured and consultative way, and I would like to give you some indications of the road ahead.

All of our decisions are made in the wider national context of the Government’s Roadmap to Recovery for Society and Business and I encourage you to familiarise yourself with the key milestones along that roadmap and how they will affect your life and work.

  • Research: Consistent with the Government’s Roadmap, our early focus is on reopening research facilities on campus, particularly laboratory and other spaces that support work that cannot be continued from home. This work is being guided by a working group of the Research Committee (chaired by Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research) and supported by the COVID-19 Reopening Operations Groups (chaired by John Gill, Chief Operations Officer). Preparation is already underway for the reopening of facilities in the Biomedical Sciences building as a pilot building in Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap for reopening. Contingent on public health advice in that regard, this is being planned for 8 June, and will be followed week-by-week for other research facilities as we move through the necessary planning, training and preparation for other priority buildings. The learnings from reopening the Biomedical Sciences building will be important in informing our decisions to reopen other areas of the campus, as we assess the challenges of putting the necessary health and safety measures in place. In the meantime, colleagues who can carry out their research remotely should continue to do so until further notice.

According to the Government Roadmap, all other activities will not resume until Phase 5 of the reopening at the earliest (again, contingent on public health advice, pencilled in for the week beginning 10 August). After that date, we anticipate significant changes to the spaces in which we work and that colleagues who can do so will be encouraged to work from home.

  • Teaching: As you know, the start date for Semester 1 of the next academic year is planned for 28 September. However, we will still need to prepare for the delivery of perhaps limited on-campus teaching and supports to complement online teaching, for example, through lab-based practicals and other on-campus tuition and academic support. The Academic Planning Group of the Teaching and Learning Committee (chaired by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar) is actively planning and prioritising for what can and will be facilitated on campus and they will issue recommendations, following consultation in the Colleges next week, in the first week of June. This work is supported by the COVID-19 Reopening Operations Group.

In particular, we will continue to support colleagues in preparing for new forms of teaching and learning, untypical of those we have seen before, even in the last few weeks of this academic year. We know that the effort and experience of what was an emergency transition to remote learning is not the same as planning a semester in a new way and we are keen to support colleagues as much as possible in this regard.

  • First Year students: The start date for First Year students is dependent on confirmation of the Government’s revised CAO timeline, following the decision to cancel this year’s Leaving Cert examinations. If Leaving Cert results are issued on or close to the usual release date in August, we would envisage that First Year students would start on 28 September, in line with most other students across the University. This start date is subject, as always, to public health guidelines and no further delays to the release of results. We know that the move to university is a big milestone in our First Year students’ lives and we are particularly conscious of the need to support their transition at this challenging time. Our colleagues in Student Services have our students’ best interest at heart, and we are grateful knowing they will be to the vanguard in providing support to incoming students as they orientate themselves to university life and study.
  • Professional Support Services: The many professional staff involved in providing services across our university are also undoubtedly looking ahead to when they might be able to return to offices and workplaces. The health and safety of our staff is our priority and in line with Government guidelines and public health advice we cannot resume these activities until after 10 August. Our Chief Operations Officer will shortly convene a meeting of the Support Services Directors’ Forum to begin to plan and prioritise for the months ahead. We ask our support services to continue to work from home and to be prepared to continue to do so well beyond August 2020 and we appreciate your continued fortitude and patience in challenging times. We thank our professional staff for their ongoing work to keep the university systems and services going, working from home in new circumstances and using new technology.

Student Supports:

On the subject of supporting our mission, and our students in particular, I would like to draw your attention to two new initiatives aimed at helping our current and incoming students with their finances and language skills.

  • Student Tax Clinic: Colleagues in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics are providing an Online Tax Clinic for our students to support them in their tax compliance and correspondence with Revenue at this challenging time. Students who have been an employee or PAYE worker over the past four years may be due a tax refund or they may need advice to ensure that their tax affairs are in order. The Online Tax Clinic is open for appointments from 25 May – 19 June, 2020 and students may book an appointment by emailing taxclinic@nuigalway.ie with a short outline of your query. This initiative is supported by the Student Project Fund and we would like to thank project director, Professor Emer Mulligan, and the tax lecturers and pro bono tax experts from the external tax advisory community who have offered their time so freely.
  • English Language Centre – Pre-Sessional Programmes Go Online: The University’s English Language Centre will be delivering Pre-Sessional Programmes online to help prepare our incoming international students linguistically and academically prior to commencing their postgraduate courses in September. The Centre offers 4-week, 10-week and 25-week programmes depending on the students’ language skills and the type of qualification they want to achieve. The first programme commences in June. You can find out more information or refer your students, by visiting the Pre-Sessional Programmes web page or by contacting Dr Maeve Egan directly at eganm@nuigalway.ie.

Research and innovation round-up

  • Supporting Vulnerable Communities around the World: I was pleased to hear of the ongoing work of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) in supporting disadvantaged communities in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Margaret Barry (Health Sciences) is President of the IUHPE and she shared with me their recent success in securing funding from Vital Strategies to develop community-based health promotion interventions to empower local communities across Africa in stopping the spread of the virus. It is a heart-warming example of the positive impact that our people can have on the world through their leadership, knowledge and skills.
  • Corona Citizens’ Survey: The latest findings from the nationwide Corona Citizens’ Science Study has found that 84% of respondents would consider installing a contact tracing app if it contributed to an easing of restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus. These results come from the third phase of the survey, which is led by Dr Akke Vellinga (Medicine) in partnership with DCU. Read more here
  • International Society of Travel Medicine: Professor Gerard Flaherty (Medicine) has been appointed as lead for the COVID-19 task force of the International Society of Travel Medicine. Under his leadership, the task force will advise the Society on its COVID-19 activities and the best ways to provide technical advice to international agencies in relation to the safe resumption of international travel. Read more here
  • Home Possessions and COVID-19: New research by Dr Padraic Kenna (Law) shows that most home possessions in Ireland are pursued by household name banks not vulture funds. His report shines a light on a ‘lost decade’ of mortgage possessions and warns that COVID-19 could result in a new round of arrears. Read more here
  • The Potential of Marine Tourism: Our Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released a report on the value of coastal and marine tourismin Ireland, shining a light on its potential to help in our economic recovery. The numbers suggest that coastal and marine tourism could significantly contribute to rebooting activity in the sector as we look beyond the COVID-19 crisis. Read more here
  • Adolescent Health and Wellbeing: A new report published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe compiles extensive data on the physical health, social relationships and mental wellbeing of over 220,000 schoolchildren across 45 countries. The Irish arm of the study was led by Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn (Health Promotion) and provides valuable comparable data to inform national policy. The information was recorded shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic and will enable us to gauge the effect of the pandemic on teenage behaviour, health and wellbeing in years to come. Read more here
  • Royal Irish Academy: On Friday, I was pleased and proud to attend virtually the Royal Irish Academy’s Admittance Day, as three of our colleagues, Professor Enrico dal Lago (History), Dr Paul Michael Garrett (Political Science and Sociology) and Professor Afshin Samali (Biochemistry and CÚRAM) were admitted as new members of the Academy. We congratulate all three on this wonderful success, recognition from their colleagues in the academy of their stellar contributions to their respective fields.

Budget Planning:

Finally, as we emerge from the immediacy of our response to the COVID-19 crisis and plan for the months ahead, one of the biggest challenges we face as a community is ensuring the financial stability and sustainability of our university. The economic shock caused by the pandemic is in many ways both unprecedented and unpredictable. While we know there will be significant impact on our university and others, the scale of the impact is currently difficult to forecast. We do know, however, that it will affect every aspect of our university mission. While the value of our collective contributions to society and the economy and the consequent case for investment in education is well-supported based on the evidence, given the level of uncertainty in our economy, politics and society, it is prudent that we plan on the basis that it is unlikely that we will receive sufficient financial support in this regard from Government at this time.

With that in mind, our University Management Team (UMT) has established a sub-committee to assess the financial impacts and advise on how we can mitigate against them. The COVID-19 Business Continuity Financial Planning Sub-committee has compiled a number of guiding principles to how we can approach the challenge of sustaining our finances while staying true to our values and our purpose to serve the public good. As we plan ahead for the new academic year, members of our UMT will engage with colleagues in their areas of responsibility to discuss the principles, practices and processes that will guide budgetary decision-making by Colleges, Schools and Units for the year ahead. These discussions will be challenging but they are necessary, and they will once more require flexibility, resolve and creative thinking – characteristics shown so often by our university community throughout this crisis.

We are determined that we go about this task with a level of sophistication and wisdom. In particular, we wish to avoid using blunt, blanket instruments which, from experience, we know can be counterproductive. We also know however that if we do not make these decisions ourselves – School by School, College by College, Unit by Unit – these decisions will be made for us, although they are best made closest to their impact. We are therefore keen to devolve budgetary decision-making to the greatest extent possible, only re-centralising what we have previously de-centralised if we find it necessary to do so.

As our planning continues, we will continue to consult and advise on the implications of this financial management on our university mission, seek to protect and project our best selves and ensure as much as possible that our decisions are fair, transparent, proportionate to the goals to be achieved in these exceptional times and consistent with good governance, exemplars of how together we can manage through extraordinary times.

Together, we have achieved a lot over the last number of months in uncertain and challenging times. The action and expertise, the selflessness and kindness that our staff, students and alumni have shown has been truly humbling. They give us great reason to be proud of our university community. We hope that, in the manner we deal together with the next uncertain chapter of our university’s experience, we can once more be proud of our university community and how we will face challenging times together, managing our own activities true to our values.

We are once more reminded that ‘this too shall pass’ and that how, once more, we deal maturely and meaningfully with challenges faced together as a university community will in turn be a mark of our present and will mark out our future, for the public good.

Best regards,

Ciarán.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

President, NUI Galway

 

Revised Semester Dates for Academic Year 2020/21

Updated 11 May: Proposed dates for First Year commencement are likely to change in light of revised Government plans for Leaving Cert 2020. We are awaiting greater clarity on the timetable of Leaving Cert exams and results.

The semester and exam dates for next academic year, including the repeat exam dates for this autumn, can be found below. These dates are, of course, subject at all times to public health advice.

I want to acknowledge and thank staff across the University and the Students' Union for their input into formulating these dates. I also wish to share my thanks more generally for the great flexibility shown by our university community in adjusting to the challenges of COVID-19.

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh

Deputy President and Registrar

National report: Irish Universities Help Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ireland's universities are playing a vital role in our country's response to the COVID-19 emergency. Through targeted research, volunteering and redeployment, and the sharing of expertise, data and facilities, our universities are delivering life-changing impacts at home and abroad. The Irish Universities Association has published a report highlighting the wide range of positive impacts our universities are having.

 

Staying Well & Accessing Supports: message from the Dean of Students, 1 May

Dear student,

I hope you and your loved ones are keeping well. We are now coming to the end of the second week of our exam period.  You have shown amazing resilience and fortitude in your capacity to rise to the challenge of doing things in a new way during a difficult time. Whilst many of you have had to change your plans for the summer once the exams are over you will be able to relax and look to the future and think of new ways to spend your summer. At NUI, Galway we are still here with lots of supports to get you through the next two weeks of the exam period and beyond.

Staying well

It’s important to look after your wellbeing and to start every day with that as a priority. Here are a few recommendations that might be useful for you…

‘Every Day Matters’ Video Series

What we say and do every day matters, particularly when we are faced with challenges and stressors. Student Services, in collaboration with UCC and Student Affairs Ireland, have developed three  short videos which will help you to focus on the things that you have control over. Take 10 minutes to look at these three short videos (or even 3 minutes to look at 1!) and set yourself up for a good day!

Online Workshops

Take some time out and participate in one of three the workshops facilitated by the Counselling service - which include:

  • Responding (not reacting) to exam anxiety
  • Time Management
  • Wellness

You can find out more and book your place here.

Exam Support 

Useful hints and tips here to get you through the last few weeks of exams.

Registered with Disability Support Service, Access Centre?

Check out the FAQs on reasonable accommodations for the end of semester assessments/exams here. These are being updated daily to provide support and guidance to both students and staff. 

Need to talk to someone?

Exam Stress Helpline

The Chaplaincy service continues to provide support to students who experience exam-related difficulties throughout the exam period. 

Students can access this support by using four distinct helplines:

  • a HOTLINE phone-number: 091 497999
  • email – examstress@nuigalway.ie
  • a HOTLINE number for International students abroad (calls and texts): +353 89 4623763
  • a video-call facility – email examstress@nuigalway.ie to arrange an appointment

The helplines provide students with support for a wide range of issues and are open from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm until May 14. The aim is to offer you the support you need to deal with any challenges you experience.

Pastoral Support Helpline

If you are going through a difficult time or are worried about someone else, and would like to talk it over, please feel free to call the Chaplaincy Office on 091 49 2168. We are here to listen and to help you successfully manage whatever difficulty you experience. 

Counselling

Our counsellors are available for online appointments and if you would like to set up an appointment please email: counselling@nuigalway.ie

Career Guidance

This is a confusing time if you have career decisions to make. So if you want to explore your career options and need help to figure out your next steps, book an online appointment with the Career Development Centre here.

It’s not too late to apply!

NUI Galway COVID-19 Hardship Emergency Fund

A large number of applications have been received. However, you can still request an application form by emailing una.mcdermott@nuigalway.ie.

This fund has been established to help students currently in financial crisis, in order to assist with immediate and current basic living expenses and to enable them to progress their studies this academic year. Please note that this Fund is limited to supporting students who have evidence that they are experiencing immediate hardship and / or have an emergency situation and applications are assessed on students’ current situation rather than on anticipated hardship.

The President's Award for Volunteering, the ALIVE Certificate

You still have time to achieve your award for volunteering. Just complete your online reflection at http://yourspace.nuigalway.ie using your student ID and password to login. We encourage you to complete this reflection by 1 June 2020. If you have any questions please email the team at ALIVE: alive@nuigalway.ie. Congratulations to students that have completed their online reflections, visit the live celebration videos on playback here .

Closing comments

I will be in touch with you shortly about a survey we will be sending to you. We are focused on making sure that we get your feedback and preferences on teaching and learning for the next academic year. Be kind to yourself and those around you and remember to take some time off during your studies to recharge and relax.

Take care,

Michelle

Professor Michelle Millar

Dean of Students, NUI Galway

Semester 2 Student Exams Timetable now online

As advised by Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, NUI Galway President on 23rd March, all face-to-face end of year exams have been cancelled at NUI Galway in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Students can now access a revised personal exam timetable for Semester 2 here

Your personal exam timetable displays all modules which were previously scheduled as formal exams and shows the revised mode of assessment. Please note that all alternative assessments will be on Blackboard.

Important Dates

  • The Semester 2 examination session has been extended to 15th May 2020 to facilitate staggered online assessment and to allow sufficient time for essays, projects and open-book exams to be completed.
  • The Semester 2 examination session starts on Monday 21st April to the Friday 15th May 2020.

 Online Exams

  1. Where a module will be assessed by a timed assessment, the online exam is scheduled to take place at the date and time listed in your revised personal exam timetable. Please take note of this duration.
  2. The revised timetable ensures that a student will only have one online exam per day
  3. Exam start times for online exams are 09:30am and 14:30pm (Mon. – Fri.)
  4. Exam duration will remain 120 minutes with up to 30 additional minutes to facilitate uploading the assessment
  5. Where the Disability Support Service has recommended exam accommodations for you, please liaise with the appropriate staff in the relevant discipline to request that any required exam accommodations are put in place for timed assessments designed to replace the semester 2 exams.
  6. Any changes to the date/time for online exams or mode of assessment following release of the revised timetable release, will be communicated to students via Blackboard by the relevant module co-ordinator. The revised personal online exam timetable will remain static and students are advised to login to Blackboard for details of the alternative mode(s) of assessment for their modules
  7. Further queries about the mode of assessment should be directed to the relevant module co-ordinator via Blackboard, Module Leader details are also available here.

Disclaimer

All NUI Galway students will be asked to self-certify that they are complying with the rules in online assessments by signing a disclaimer statement at the start of each online exam. NUI Galway reserves the right to follow-up with a student by interview if there was any concern in relation to the integrity of the exam process.

Whilst the Examinations Office has endeavoured to reschedule all examinations with the information provided by the Colleges and Schools at this time, these alternative arrangements may be subject to change, should such changes be necessary, you are advised to consult your Blackboard account for the latest information.

Guidance for staff and students if notified of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19

1. If you have received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 from the HSE:

  • Please follow the advice given to you by the HSE.

2. If a staff member receives notification from a Student in Ireland, alerting them to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19:

  • Please forward the notification to COVID-19@nuigalway.ie so that our Student Services can reach out to the student and offer pastoral care support.

3. If a staff member receives notification from an International Student, who has returned to their country of origin, that they have received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19:

  • Obtain date of positive test and contact details of the student.
  • Inform Lorraine Harte (International Office) – Lorraine.M.Harte@nuigalway.ie – who will notify the HSE. 

4. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms:

5. If you have been in close contact* in the last 14 days with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, but don’t have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Restrict your movements for 14 days since date of last exposure with a case. Follow HSE guidelines on restricting your movements.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms follow Step 4 above.
  • *Close contact means you have been within 2 metres of a diagnosed person for more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact

Important advice for students living away from home 

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to escalate, we have been asked by public health officials to reiterate the advice below:

NUI Galway students from Ireland living away from home (on campus or elsewhere in Galway)

You are advised to disperse immediately and to go home. This is in the interest of yourselves, your friends and your family.

Should you need to self-isolate in the coming days and weeks, your homeplace is the best place for you to do so in a supportive environment.

In cases where you cannot move home due to vulnerable people in high-risk categories living at home, we encourage you to seek out other locations where you can be supported by family (e.g. siblings, aunts, uncles), neighbours or close friends.

If you have any health concerns or become unwell/require medical care, then phone your home GP or HSELive (1850 24 1850).

Teaching and assessment will be online/remote for the rest of the semester.

NUI Galway students from overseas still located in Ireland

We have consistently recommended to international students that they give significant consideration to returning home. We understand that this may no longer be possible.

For overseas students who are not or cannot travel home at present, please:

  • If you haven’t already done so via the online survey, make yourself known to the International Office, by emailing: international@nuigalway.ie 

Should you have any health concerns or have any urgent/emergency medical issues:

  • Phone advice is available during daytime hours of 9am-1pm and 2-5pm, please contact either: 091-494337 or 083-3250034. If you are unable to get through on either phone line, please email healthunit@nuigalway.ie to arrange a call back.
  • If outside those hours you have any concerns, but are well and don't have any symptoms, then phone HSELive (1850 24 1850).
  • If outside those hours you are unwell/have symptoms, then please see the below emergency out-of-hours contacts

Emergency Out-of-Hours Service

(Please note that these are NOT advice lines, and are for urgent/emergency medical care, and also, that there is a charge for these out-of-hours services):

  • Monday-Thursday (after 5pm) – contact emergency number: 087-2623997
  • Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays (Daytime 8am-6pm) – Citydoc, Bon Secour Hospital: 091-758008
  • Friday, Saturday & Sunday (Evening 6pm-8am) Galway City GP Rota: 087-7744430

Video Message from Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh to all staff and students, Thursday 19 March