Coronavirus COVID-19

Updated: 3.00pm, Saturday 28 March

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. As currently, in exceptional circumstances, those needing access to buildings should only do so with the approval of your UMT member. Please continue to maintain social distancing and public health protocols at all times. 

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

Campus closure and access restrictions: following An Taoiseach's announcement, 27 March

Following An Taoiseach’s announcement of 27 March with regard to further COVID19 restrictions, all NUI Galway campuses are closed until 12 April.

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.

This is a critical time to combat the spread of COVID-19: all members of our university community are urged to comply with public health protocols and advice at this time.

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

COVID-19: NUI Galway student/staff update from University President, Monday 23 March

I hope that you, your family and friends are keeping safe and well. I want to update our university community on our response to the COVID-19 emergency and, in this continuously evolving context, the changes we are implementing to continue our teaching, research and other activities as best we can, while serving, as a priority, the public good.

This email includes important information for students and staff regarding:

Teaching and assessment

Today marks the beginning of a week where we recommence our teaching online with a view to facilitating our students to complete their studies this semester. This follows substantial, collective efforts by colleagues who have come together to work remotely, sharing resources and expertise to facilitate our teaching mission. In particular, colleagues in CELT, Examinations, the Library and ISS have been active and busy supporting colleagues in moving teaching and assessment material online. This is undoubtedly challenging and we are grateful for the commitment of colleagues in this regard. It is heartening to see the Trojan work of many making this possible.

  • For our students:We appreciate your patience over the past week as we prepared to move lectures online. No one expected or welcomed this interruption, and we are committed to continue with this semester’s teaching and assessment, sympathetic to the disruption that you are facing. We understand your need for greater clarity around teaching and assessment.
    • I encourage you to scroll down to the end of this email for answers to some of your frequently asked questions.
    • Helpful guidance on adjusting to Online Learning has been provided by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)at the following links: 10 Points to Remember when Learning Online and Getting Started with Online Learning for Students
    • For lecturers and School administrators: I would like to thank you for your commitment and flexibility in responding to the sudden need for remote working and facilitating online teaching and assessment. I would like to draw your attention to the supports and resources on the CELT Sharepoint siteto help you deliver your classes online.
      • For Programme and Module Leaders: Please note that the deadlines for updating AKARI Curriculum Manager have been extended as follows:
        • New Programmes/Modules: 17 April 
        • All other updates: 28 April

Research and innovation

There are many ways that our research and innovation communities are mobilising to contribute to the local, national and global COVID-19 response efforts. For example, our researchers have coalesced in establishing a COVID-19 Response Group within the NUI Galway Research Institutes. These research groups are already meeting to identify innovative and practical options for activity areas where we can make knowledge, research, innovation and resource contributions (including with our research partners outside the University) that are fully aligned with government/HSE efforts.

Our research contributions span a wide range of areas including, for example, biological responses to decontamination wipes preventing the spread of COVID-19, the provision of further equipment such as ventilators, technical expertise that may be utilised in the scaling up of testing, research on the social impact of COVID-19, contributions to the debate on the economic impact of the virus, and issues for youth and specifically for youth empathy as a community contributor. We are conscious that there are many such examples from across our university where our research can make a difference.  Thank you to our research community for mobilising once more for the public good.

Facilities and support services

We also have significant physical resources, such as accommodation, lab and other space, which we are making available for the greater good as a priority. We are particularly grateful to our colleagues in Buildings & Estates and Commercial Services for their flexibility and facility in scoping such spaces at the request of the HSE, recognising the considerable challenges that this poses.

A kind, volunteering spirit

Most of all, this university community is its people. Our students, staff and graduates are our hands in the world. We continue to acknowledge and admire the work of our medical community on the frontline in Ireland and internationally, devoted to preparing for the clinical work that will make such a difference to those most in need in our society. Thank you: we are profoundly grateful.

In significant numbers and in substantial generosity, many of our NUI Galway colleagues have volunteered to support the HSE, sharing our expertise freely for the outside world, in areas such as contact tracing, technical support and communication.

Last week, we issued an invitation to staff and PhD researchers to sign up to our NUI Galway COVID-19 Response Volunteer list. We have had over 250 offers of help, and these volunteers will be contacted by units in the University and external organisations over the coming days to help alleviate overstretched services.

We acknowledge the commitment, flexibility and kindness shown by our university community in responding to the needs of the moment and of our time. We will continue to liaise closely with the HSE in making sure our resources are prioritised at scale to the areas of most need.

Responding to COVID-19 in our community

Over the weekend, we were made aware of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our student community. Both patients have been in communication with us: we understand, thankfully, they are both doing well, self-isolating and receiving advice from the HSE. I am heartened by the caring and timely responses of several of our colleagues in looking after the wellbeing of our students at this time.

We have assisted the HSE in reaching out to members of our university community with public health advice in cases where it is appropriate to do so. Rest assured that we will continue to work proactively with the HSE at all times, respecting patient confidentiality and working in the interests of the health and safety of our university community and of our society more generally. In particular, liaising closely with the HSE and consistent with public health advice, we will endeavour to maintain timely, considered communication with members of our university community as and when necessary. We are at all times guided by public health advice and expertise in this regard.

For information on the symptoms of COVID-19 and advice on how to respond, please continue to visit www.hse.ie or the University Alerts webpage.

In conclusion

This was the week when our first values workshop, on the value of respect, was to take place. Let’s practice respect as enthusiastically as we embraced it as our value. Many colleagues are doing their best to support our university community from a distance, in often challenging circumstances. Please be patient with each other and walk in each other’s shoes as we go.

Times such as this give us meaning too, none more moving than the responses of our colleagues and our university community to others and our wider society at a time of need. Let this be the hallmark of what we are as NUI Galway.

Thank you to all who make it so.

Ciarán

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

President, NUI Galway

 

Answers to Students’ Frequently Asked Questions

Online Teaching

Teaching recommences today (Monday) with lectures delivered via Blackboard for the rest of the semester. By now, the majority of modules have a Blackboard page with relevant course material for the coming weeks uploaded. Lecture notes, Powerpoint presentations and videos have been uploaded and further material may be delivered by recorded video or live lecture via Blackboard Collaborate on the relevant Blackboard pages. Log on to the relevant Blackboard page for each of your modules to access course material.

This may be in the form of:

  • a live lecture
  • a recorded lecture
  • or your lecturer may be available via Blackboard to assist you with any queries on the lecture material.

Exams

Your modules will be initiating alternative modes of assessment for end-of-semester exams. This task has required a lot of creative thinking and detailed planning to ensure the majority of modules will be examined in the coming exam session. Examinations will be conducted remotely using a range of exam modes including online exams run through Blackboard, Multiple-Choice Questions, take-home open-book exams, continuous assessment, projects, presentations delivered remotely via video, and more. For a limited number of programmes, the grade of some First and Second Year modules will not include an ‘end-of-semester’ examination. Details of module assessments will be available on most module pages on Blackboard by the end of this week.

Please be aware that some online assessments will need to be extended beyond the traditional examination period to facilitate staggered online assessment and to allow sufficient time for essays, projects and open-book exams to be completed.

The Examinations Office will issue a new exam timetable later this week. Most exams will remain 2 hours in duration with 30 mins added for upload.

For students of Shannon College, a separate email will be forthcoming from the Head of Shannon College regarding any differences in exam arrangements that may apply.

Please be assured that our primary concern is to maintain the integrity and rigour of the examinations process, and the alternative assessments provided for each module will reflect appropriately the same level of effort required for traditional exams based in exam halls. The quality of your NUI Galway degree is paramount and will not be affected by an alternative mode of assessment.

Exam security will be protected by asking all students to complete a disclaimer statement at the start of each exam and each module leader reserves the right to follow up with a student by interview if there is any concern in relation to the integrity of the exam.

Postgraduate Research Students

Research should continue where possible, with supervisors contactable by email.

Preparations for annual reviews are ongoing with online submission of reports and ‘virtual’ meetings with Graduate Research Committees expected.

Electronic means will be used to facilitate submission and examination of research theses and plans are also being developed to hold vivas remotely.

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

Regards,

Eoin, Michelle and Becky.

Dr Eoin Mac Donncha

Student Health Unit, NUI Galway

Professor Michelle Millar

Dean of Students, NUI Galway

Professor Becky Whay

Vice-President: International, NUI Galway

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

For up-to-date travel advice relating to COVID-19, see: www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship. This decision was taken on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team to combat COVID-19 and in view of the imposition of new restrictions on entry by many countries and the ongoing reduction in international flight services.

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

The DFA continues to make updates to their online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download their TravelWise App and follow them on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Video Message from Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh to all staff and student