What should I do if I am informed that I am a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case whilst on placement?

We recommend you download the COVID Tracker App.

Please follow the HSE Guidelines and call the HSE Advice Line 1850 241850

If you are a close contact, you need to:

As per HSE Guidelines, you will get a second test even if your first test is negative. This is because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to show up in your system after you have been exposed to it. You will need to continue to restrict your movements, even if your first test was negative.

A contact tracer will ask you for the date that you last had contact with a positive case. You will automatically get invited for a second test 7 days after this date.

You can become a close contact on more than one occasion. You will need to restrict your movements each time.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19 whilst on placement?

Firstly, take immediate steps to undertake strict self-isolation. There is very clear information and advice on exactly how you should do this on the HSE’s website

Secondly, inform your employer if you are unable to work. Follow your employer procedures relating to sick leave. If you were working on site, you will need to provide a list of close contacts to the contact tracing team.

For most people, particularly younger patients, Covid-19 produces a mild or moderately severe illness, which can be managed at home with simple supportive measures. For advice on how to manage your symptoms, please check out www.undertheweather.ie or check out the self-care advice contained in the ‘Student Health Matters’ App, which can be downloaded for FREE from both the APP store and Play Store.

If you test positive for COVID-19 prior to going on placement please email Covid-19@nuigalway.ie to inform the University that you have tested positive. This will ensure quick liaison between the University and the HSE's contact tracing procedures.


I am a student who is currently on placement. What are the next steps I need to consider during the current Level 5 restrictions?

Please check Blackboard and your college email regularly for any alerts or updates. Continue to comply with the arrangements in place in the placement organisation you are working with and seek information and advice from them in the first instance. For example, your placement organisation may have information on remote working arrangements in place for working from home, restricted contact, etc. Also, please follow the HSE guidelines and HSE Advice Line 1850 241850 and take the time to read the information at www.nuigalway.ie/alert

You should complete a risk assessment of your placement and of your own personal circumstances. Factors to consider include the following:

  • Are there significant COVID-19 risks associated with your travel arrangements to/from your placement organisation
  • Do you reside in a location in which people in high risk groups are present and does your work placement increase the risk to them?
  • Has your placement organisation put in place appropriate measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19? For example, consider the following:
  • Have minimum social distancing measures been introduced?
  • Are break times staggered?
  • Is the work place regularly disinfected?
  • Have gatherings of large groups been discontinued?
  • Are remote working arrangements in place?

If you feel you are at risk continuing the placement please discuss it with your line manager/supervisor. Should you choose to leave your placement please contact placement@nuigalway.ie and your academic coordinator to notify them of your decision.  You will not be disadvantaged academically if you leave your placement, please contact your academic coordinator for alternatives if you end your placement before your original end date as specified in your contract or learning agreement.

I am a student who is currently on placement. Can you tell me more about remote working options?

For some placements, it may be possible for the host organisation to facilitate a remote working arrangement whereby you complete your placement remotely by, for example, working from home.
In the current circumstances, remote working options for placement students are very much encouraged and will be supported by NUI Galway. Therefore, you are advised to ask your host organisation if a remote working arrangement is possible.
If you do agree a remote working arrangement with your host organisation, please contact your Placement Officer using placement@nuigalway.ie  in order to update them on the arrangement.

I am a student who is currently on placement and working remotely. Can you advise on tips on remote working?

Remote working setup
Ensure you have the tools you need to do your job well this includes; good access to internet, approved video conferencing app as defined by your placement organisation, noise cancelling headphones. Other usual equipment include wireless keyboards, mouse, second screen, head sets.

If you need to make phone calls to your team, discuss with your supervisor/manager any cost implications for you and how to expense it. Find out the process for document sharing such as Google docs, Sharepoint, Onedrive etc. for your team or placement organisation. Make sure your lighting is adequate especially for video conferencing.

Protect your workspace and time – have a proper office space and set office hours.  Set ground rules for people in your space and communicate these to family and flatmates. Set up a work area where you have the least distractions from others. Blur your background for conference calls.

Ergonomics – Use a comfortable chair with good back support. Use headset for conference calls.

Know your employer’s remote working policy – follow procedures and guidelines of your placement organisation on remote working.

Keep to a schedule – keep yourself to a schedule especially when it comes to the beginning and the end of the day.

Communication – tell your manager/supervisor on how to reach you via email, phone.Since you are no longer a few desks down from your co-workers or manager, schedule 1-1 meetings with your manager and connect with your team regularly through online chat or video conferencing. Keep up regular communication habits, if you usually have a break with a colleague at a certain time then keep up this habit. Working from home can sometimes feel isolating so it is important to keep up regular contact with your co-workers.

Take time for self-care -  when the line between “work” and “home” starts to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period of time.  Set a regular routine. Schedule regular breaks and give yourself time off for fitness, well-being and ensure you are eating healthy. A change of scene can do wonders for productivity.  Know when to “log-off” and it is important to set regular breaks and an official “log-off” time for the end of your working day.

I am a student who is currently on placement, and my host organisation has asked me to continue my placement, as the company is considered to offer “essential services” as outlined by the government. Should I continue in my placement?

Where the host organisation continues to operate then students may elect to continue these placements if their personal circumstances and associated case-by-case risk assessments permit. However, the final choice rests with you, the student, based on your risk assessment of your placement and of your own personal circumstances. 

I am a student who has already started placement. Has the COVID-19 situation any impact on my insurance cover?

NUI Galway’s placement insurance provides insurance cover for students while on placement. You are also covered by your employer’s public liability and employer liability insurance. This also includes any students working remotely or working from home as you are still under the supervision of your employer.

My employer has terminated/suspended my placement. What are the next steps?

If your employer informs you they are terminating or suspending your placement, please inform your academic supervisor and email your placement officer at placement@nuigalway.ie. Loss of your placement will not affect your academic requirements. If you were in paid placement then you are eligible to apply for the COVID-19 benefit. For details on application  

Students scheduled to start an overseas placement to a host organisation for a semester/years in 2020. Is this still possible?

International Placements Starting June or July

The University continues to align with the advice of Irish Government departments in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a consequence, regrettably, we have had to cancel all credit bearing overseas travel for this summer. If you were scheduled to start your placement overseas in June/July please contact your Placement Officer to discuss alternative start dates or remote working options if available. If you are notified that the placement is cancelled, please contact your Academic Coordinator to discuss alternatives to placement for your programme.

International Placements Starting in September

We are making every effort to support you to participate in your placement from September. Please be aware that it may not be possible in all cases to offer you the full placement you are hoping for and that some aspects may be different to a normal year. Critical to the feasibility of your placement is an assessment of conditions here in Ireland and the safety of the host country you wish to travel to. If your placement does proceed, it is most likely to be undertaken within a framework of social distancing and other social constraints.

Given the uncertain future we all face, we advise you not to make any non-refundable financial commitment towards your planned experience abroad (e.g. flight booking, accommodation deposit) at this time. You will be notified if your international placement is cancelled and we advise you contact your Programme Director in your school and disciplines for alternatives to placement if this is the case.

Can I self-source my own placement?

While you are encouraged to self-source a placement if this is your preference, please follow the guidelines below in relation to self-sourcing;

  • Please do not present in person to self-source a placement opportunity from any employer. Observe the social distancing criteria mandated by the government to keep yourself and our broader community safe.
  • Most  organisations are still communicating as normal via email however, be aware that it make take time for employers to respond to you.
  • If you are in the middle of a recruitment and selection process and employers reach out to you on email / phone then please proceed with your applications. However you are NOT expected to attend for any interviews in person. All interviews will take place on the phone / skype / email and it is acceptable to notify the placement provider that the university has stated that this is a requirement.

I am a Medicine student at NUI Galway?

All School of Medicine students are withdrawn from clinical placement until further notice. Remaining teaching for this semester will be delivered remotely. Any student abroad should return home and continue their studies online with their classes.

I am a Health Care student at NUI Galway?

Clinical placements are resuming in line with public health guidance. For students on the Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Podiatric Medicine and Social Care programmes you are advised to contact your individual programme director and/or your practice education coordinator for information in regards to clinical placements. 

I am a Nursing student at NUI Galway?

I am a 1st or 2nd year nursing or midwifery student in NUI Galway:
All supernumery clinical placements are being suspended by the HSE from the 10th April. Please refer to the email from the Head of School Dr Georgina Gethin sent 3rd April in relation to your placements and the new HCA recruitment campaign.

I am a 4th year nursing or midwifery student:
All 4th year internship students should continue on their placements. Any changes to the roster should be discussed with the allocations team.