Return to Campus FAQs

Returning to campus: For documents, forms and resources relating to the return to campus (including induction training, self-declaration forms and temporary access requests), please use Google Chrome browser or Internet Explorer to visit the following Sharepoint sites:

Why are we reopening our campuses to students and teaching, given the continued spread of the virus?

We want our students to have a meaningful student experience in 2020/21, including on-campus teaching and learning. This is particularly important given our students’ preferences in that regard, the desirability of social interaction as part of university life, the increased motivation associated with in-person education and the holistic student experience supported by extra-curricular activities through Clubs, Societies and volunteering.

Our approach to the return to campus is led by expertise and evidence, drawing on the research of our colleagues, and at all times adhering to government guidelines and the best public health advice. 

Following the announcement of Enhanced Public Health Protection Measures for Higher Education Institutions on 25 September, on-campus teaching is restricted to lab-based and practical tuition only.

Has the University engaged with staff unions on issues of concern?

Yes, the President/Deputy President and Director of HR continue to engage with staff unions.

Will the University adapt our plans should the situation in Galway deteriorate?

The University continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 closely and has established links with local Public Health Professionals who are monitoring the spread of COVID-19 both locally and nationally. A senior Public Health Official visited campus week commencing 21 September and expressed satisfaction with our plans and the way in which the campus has been prepared for the return to teaching. The University will follow Government advice which is informed by Public Health and will adapt our operations in line with this advice.   

How would Level 3 impact our teaching arrangements?

The impact of Level 3 on Higher Education is set out at the link below:

The University will be requested to take all appropriate protective measures and limit congregation as far as possible.  This may result in some or all teaching moving online.

What is the procedure for returning to work? Are there forms to fill-in?

You should visit the Returning to Campus Safely Sharepoint site, where you will see the requirements for preparing to return to campus. It involves induction training and the completion of a self-declaration form.

Step-by-step guide for accessing campus in different scenarios





An individual wishes to attend campus.



The Individual must consult the Return to Work Safely website which details the process and procedure for safe access for both staff and third parties and they must ensure they comply with the protocols and procedures listed.


The individual must complete the appropriate training, self-declaration forms and follow the documented procedures.

Individuals are requested to keep a record of those they have been in close contact with while on campus.   Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of another person.




Line Manager/ PI must instruct staff attending on campus to comply with the protocols and procedures set out.


Staff members hosting third parties must instruct the third party to comply with the protocols and procedures set out.



If an individual is experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms they must not visit the campus. They must:

-   Restrict their movements.

-   Contact their GP and follow the advice and guidance of their GP.  

-   Inform their line manager/ PI.



Line manager/ PI must follow up with member of staff and inform HR and the Health & Safety Office  where appropriate to ensure compliance with the safety protocol.


An individual develops COVID-19 symptoms while on campus.



The Individual must take immediate action:

-   If they are fit to travel home they must do so immediately.

-   If they are not fit to travel they must go immediately to the isolation room in their facility and contact the Local COVID Coordinator who will facilitate their safe return home.

-   They must then contact their GP and follow the advice of their GP and they must also inform the Local COVID coordinator and their line manager.


Line manager and/or COVID coordinator must follow up with the individual in line with the Unit Response Plan.  HR and the Health & Safety Office to be informed as appropriate.


An individual receives a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 following a test.   


The individual must:

-   Follow the advice and guidance of their GP and the HSE.

-   Support the contact tracing activity.

-   Support University colleagues in making facilities safe again by identifying areas where they have been active.


They must not return to campus until they are advised by the HSE or their GP that it is safe to do so.


The Local COVID Coordinator or Line Manager/PI must instigate the Unit Response Plan.  HR and the Health & Safety Office must be informed.


Locations in the facility where the individual has been active must be evacuated as soon as possible.  In some cases it may be necessary to close an entire building for cleaning.


Appropriate cleaning of these locations will be instigated, in some cases this may involve a deep clean. 


The facility will be re-opened once cleaning is complete and it is considered safe to do so.


An Individual develops symptoms of Covid 19 after being in a facility on campus recently



The individual must:

-   Restrict their movements and not attempt to return to campus.

-   Contact their GP and follow the advice and guidance of their GP.

-   Advise their line manager/ PI.


If the individual is referred for COVID testing and is diagnosed as COVID positive the parts of the facility where the individual was active will be cleaned appropriately.  This may require the closure of part or all of a facility.


An Individual considers themselves a close contact of someone who has displayed symptoms of COVID-19.



No specific actions required from that individual.   The individual who has displayed symptoms of COVID should be following the process set out in step  2 or 3 above, as appropriate.


No action required

An individual wishes to visit campus having returned to Ireland from a location that is named on the Government “Green List”.



No action required if the flight was direct from a location listed on the Government “Green List” and Ireland.


If they transited through or visited a location that is not not on the “Green List”, the individual must restrict their movements and follow the procedure set out in step 8 below, in line with Government guidelines.


Individuals are advised to retain a copy of their boarding pass(es) or travel itinerary as proof of date of travel and locations visited during travel.



No action required




An individual wishing to visit campus having visited, transited through  or returned from a location that is not named on the Government “Green List”. 



Travel to countries that are not named on the Government “Green List” is not recommended. 


If an individual returns from a location that is not on the green list they must:

-   Comply with the advice of the Government in relation to the protocol to follow on their return. 

-   Restrict their movements for 14 days and must not return to work during that time. 

-   Inform their line manager that they have returned from a location that is not named on the Government “Green List”.




Line Manager/PI must liaise with individual to ensure they comply with Government guidelines.

An Individual is contacted  by the HSE in relation to Contact Tracing.


The Individual is advised to support the contact tracing exercise and must follow the advice issued by the contact tracing service.  This may require the individual to consult with their GP and/or submit themselves for a COVID test.


No action required.


An individual is ill but does not have COVID symptoms.




The individual should manage this as they would any normal illness.  They are advised not to attend campus and consult their GP as they deem fit.

Line Manager/ PI must manage as sick leave in line with University policy.

For the Return to Campus Self-Declaration, what is the reason that the email received by the line manager / unit nominee with employee details appears with the name of an ISS staff member visible as the form requestor?

When an employee completes the online Return to Campus Self-Declaration form, an automatic email is generated to the line manager containing employee details and a request to Approve or Reject the application. At the top of this email, a line appears “Requested by” with the name of an ISS staff member. This is due to the method used to create the online form to ensure compliance with Microsoft licensing. In line with GDPR, it is important to note that the ISS staff member does not have visibility or access to the employee details or content of the form at any time. 

In NUI Galway who is the Local/Unit COVID Co-ordinator?

A Local COVID Co-ordinator is the term used in NUI Galway for what the National Return to Work Safely Protocol calls a Lead Work Representative. Essentially, the role of the COVID Co-ordinator(s) is to assist their Head of Unit in COVID logistics and oversight.  

What is the role of the Local/Unit COVID Co-ordinator?

The Returning to Research Guidance Doc provides a good summary of the role – see table in Part 7. 

How are Local/Unit COVID Co-ordinators appointed?

The Dean/Head of Unit needs to appoint enoughLocal/Unit COVID Co-ordinators where they have staff returning to work on site at the University. They should discuss the role with the staff in advance, address any queries and then advise them of the training. Local COVID Coordinators should be an employee who will be on campus for at least a portion of the day.

Is training provided for the Local/Unit COVID Co-ordinator?

The next online course is on Thursday 16 September (2pm-3.30pm). This is the link to register to attend.