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Health & Wellbeing

What should I do if I am notified of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19?

If you receive notification of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 from:

A student in Ireland

  • 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.

An international student who has returned to their country of origin

  • 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.

A staff member on your team

  • Please forward the notification to hrsickleave@nuigalway.ie so that our HR team can reach out to the staff member to offer support and follow up on any actions based on HSE advice.

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

  • Please follow the advice given to you by the HSE.
  • Advise your line manager.

What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?

What should I do if I 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 see Staff FAQ Health & Wellbeing  - What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?
  • *Close contact means you have been within 2 metres of a diagnosed person for more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact

Are there tips to help look after your health and wellbeing at this time?

It is important for staff to look after their own wellbeing at this time. Based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing which was advised by Mental Health Ireland, NUI Galway has put together a short flyer of tips and advice:

Maybe print it out and display it somewhere as a reminder of how we should keep ourselves mentally well during this period.

 Also, refer to Human Resources Staff FAQs for further guidance.

Will on-site testing be available on campus?

COVID-19 testing is in the remit of the HSE. The University has been working closely with the HSE throughout the crisis as is evident from our support for Contact Tracing. The University is currently in advanced discussions with the HSE in relation to locating a COCID-19 Test facility on campus. 

How will masks and visors be distributed to students/staff once they arrive on campus?

Masks and visors will be distributed to every student from a pick-up point in the Aula Maxima in The Quadrangle, in late September/early October. This is being operated in conjunction with the Students Union.

Masks and visors for staff will be distributed through their unit. Deliveries for staff arrived on campus on Friday 25 Sept.

What is the University doing to monitor staff health and wellbeing at this time?

We are asking staff and managers to keep in contact and to support staff at this time. In addition we have many supports and contacts available through our website www.nuigalway.ie/human-resources/employee_wellbeing on wellbeing events and supports available. In addition, there is a designated Senior HR Manager assigned to each UMT member so employees can contact that person for advice.

If staff have ideas for wellbeing topics or events happy for them to email us at wellness@nuigalway.ie

Has the university undergone a deep clean of all premises before return of students and staff? How often will surfaces be cleaned throughout the day?

All buildings are being cleaned on a twice daily basis, the normal clean between 6am & 9am and, and a second clean of contact touchpoints between 12 and 2pm.

Buildings and Estates have provided details of the University’s cleaning protocol at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

Who will do the cleaning during the 20-minute deep clean between lectures?

The 20 minute turnaround is designed to allow a safe transition between classes and to prevent congregation of large numbers of students at entrances/exits, and on corridors and circulation spaces. Cleaning wipes are provided in all teaching venues and students are instructed to clean their own workspace when they enter the teaching venue.

Buildings and Estates have provided details of the University’s cleaning protocol at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

Can we leave the fire doors open, at bottom of lecture theatres in Arts/Science Building, for ventilation purposes?

No, this is not recommended and would contravene Fire Regulations. Large teaching venues have mechanical ventilation systems which are set at 100% full fresh air, and are designed to meet or exceed the air delivery volumes for the venue at full capacity, and we are operating at much lower numbers of occupants right now. (a maximum of 50 persons)

Buildings and Estates have outlined the University’s ventilation strategies in different settings at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

Given the importance of ventilation, what is the University doing to ensure adequate ventilation and air filtration in university buildings and teaching spaces?

Buildings and Estates have outlined the University’s ventilation strategies in different settings at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

How often will door handles and other high-contact surfaces be cleaned?

These are cleaned twice daily at present with disinfectant.

Buildings and Estates have provided details of the University’s cleaning protocol at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

What provisions have been made in terms of shared facilities like drinking water points, microwaves, shared kitchens etc.?

Drinking water outlets and fountains have been temporarily disabled as they may contribute to cross-infection.

The use of kitchens has been curtailed for staff and students and is limited to the use of an electric kettle for making hot drinks only.

All kitchens and kitchenettes on campus are the responsibility of each Unit/department and may be used provided appropriate cleaning and disinfectant measures are put in place and monitored by that unit.

Note: Buildings and Estates do not arrange cleaning for these facilities as they are managed directly by each unit.

Office users are advised to disinfect water coolers before and after each use.

For more information, see the Cleaning in a COVID-19 Environment protocols at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

If a student indicates to a member of staff that they may have COVID-19 symptoms, how do we respond?

One of the single most important actions we can take to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 is to act quickly on the first sign of symptoms (high temperature ≥ 38°C, cough, difficulty breathing, loss or change to sense of smell or taste). The student should immediately stay at home or go home if they are on campus. If they are unable to go home immediately, the student can use an isolation room on campus while they phone the Student Health Unit or their GP. They should follow the doctor’s advice and avail of a free COVID-19 test, if required, and continue to self-isolate until instructed otherwise.

If a student tells me they are awaiting results or have a positive test result what do I do with this information?

The University is finalising specific guidance in relation to this. Students are asked to inform COVID-19@nuigalway.ie.

If a student leaves a lecture because of COVID-19 symptoms, should the rest of their classmates be considered close contacts while they await results?

No. Classmates would only be considered close contacts in the event of a confirmed case. The HSE will make the determination on who is a close contact. However, the definition of close contacts within the University setting will be variable and it will not be automatically assumed that a whole class will be deemed as close contacts.

Can I teach my students outdoors?

Outdoor meet-ups are a good idea if the weather and your teaching methods allow. While face coverings are not mandated outdoors in the COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol, please note that social distancing is still required, and ongoing observance of good hand hygiene and cough etiquette is advised.

Are masks mandatory for students and lecturers in class?

Yes. The University requires that all staff and students wear a face covering while indoors in public areas or shared spaces on campus. Appropriate face coverings are made from cloth or alternatively full-face visors can also be used. See more detail in the COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol available at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

Are there any protocols around assembly (in-class or outside class) or being around campus?

Staff and students should minimise their number of contacts to the fewest possible. Where possible, staff and students should only interact with the same group of people when on campus. All campus users are advised to maintain a default 2m social distancing. This may be reduced to no less than 1m in some teaching settings. See more detail in the COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol available at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

Should a lecturer/ tutor ask a student to leave a class if they arrive without a face covering?

Yes, a student who refuses to wear a face-covering due to personal choice should be asked to leave the class. However, there may be a small number of students who cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons and such students should be allowed to remain.  

Where your role involves meeting students in a one-to-one situation, what measures have been put in place to ensure safety of both student and staff?

There are a range of control measures in place to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 on campus. These include a requirement to wear face coverings indoors in shared spaces and a default of 2m social distancing throughout campus (this may be reduced to no less than 1m in some teaching settings). Others include cleaning protocols, ventilation strategies, contact tracing, signage, etc. See more detail in the COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol available at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

The COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol advises the following for teaching and learning settings:

  • Staff and student interaction should take place online. In particular, staff should not facilitate questions at the end of the session in order to avoid congregation around the teaching station.
  • Physical contact must be avoided.
  • Where offices are occupied and accessible to students, office hours should be organised to avoid students waiting in groups and where a face-to-face meeting is required, the meeting will take place by appointment with appropriate arrangements for distancing and mask use in keeping with Government Guidance.
  • Student supervision meetings for one to one or small group teaching should also take place online.

Is there centralised Covid-19 induction training/ declaration form for students returning to campus (similar to the staff process)?

Undergraduate students will not complete a return to work form in the same way as staff will. Students will receive information so that they are aware of the circumstances in which students should not come to campus and the various control measures that we should all follow. In addition, staff and students are strongly encouraged to download the HSE COVID Tracker App and use it in accordance with HSE guidelines. Users of the App should confirm on the App that they are symptom-free for that day before travelling to campus. Some parts of the University will also require a specific declaration but they manage that locally.  

How do I overcome issues with sound clarity if wearing a face mask while delivering a lecture?

Face visors may be preferred by teaching staff in place of face coverings in the teaching context, particularly if teachers or lecturers have concerns around voice projection or if there is a requirement for students to see their face. See more detail in the COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol available at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

How will the University record attendance and maintain records of attendance for contact tracing purposes?

The University will, to the greatest extent possible, record attendance at all events on campus and retain those records for 4 weeks in case they are required for contact tracing purposes. Students are requested to download and use the Blackboard App to facilitate this.

Staff are asked to remind students to record their attendance at the beginning of lectures.

We are asking all campus users to download the HSE COVID-19 Tracker app and record their personal health status regularly.

How are we mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus given that students will be moving around campus?

The University has put a wide range of control measures in place to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 on campus. These include face coverings, social distancing, contact tracing, cleaning protocols, building access and navigation, etc. See more detail in the COVID-19 Access to Campus Protocol available at: www.nuigalway.ie/alert/healthhygienetravel

What are the options for students who should be on Erasmus this year?

For students who haven’t / or won’t be able to travel overseas as part of their studies this year the alternatives are programme specific and range from flipped years and delaying travel to engaging online with overseas programmes or being set alternative Ireland based activities.

The vast bulk of Semester 1 overseas study has not taken place, with exceptions made in some cases including where students were already overseas and for whom returning to study in Ireland was thought to pose a greater risk than remaining in mainland Europe.  UMT are currently reviewing whether some limited study abroad might be possible for Semester 2.

Will there be extra student counsellors available to deal with the mental health issues for students?

Yes. The University has been allocated €313,000 by the HEA to enhance mental health and wellbeing support for students. This funding is intended for the provision of specific student-facing areas and in support of our broader mental health strategy. I am pleased to say that our Student Services team has started the process of recruiting more much-needed counsellors to enhance our supports to our students. This year continues to be a stressful and challenging one for all of us and we welcome this focus on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our campus community.

How will new PGR students receive their student ID cards?

Registry is attempting to meet all of the demands on them during a challenging period. Student ID cards will be distributed through the post. For the latest info, see www.nuigalway.ie/registration/quick-links/id-cards. Students should ensure that they have uploaded their photos.