School Contingencies | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This web page has been created to ensure effective communications across the School on local arrangements and contingencies arising during the coming weeks and months as we implement the University and Government guidance in response to the current COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. 

Last updated: 30th March 2020
Information still current: 30th March 2020

Up to date information is available from:

HSE Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Department of Health COVID-19 (coronavirus)

For the avoidance of doubt,

  • The main source of public health information and advice is posted on HSE website.
  • The main source of University information can be found here which is updated regularly.
  • A dedicate page describing the impact of COVID19 on University business functions is available here
  • This webpage related to School logistics and contingencies only.

General Information

The University has issued revised guidance on 29th March 2020 following the further intensification of social distancing measures.  Please see email correspondence for revised campus procedures.

From Tuesday 31 March until 12 April 2020, in keeping with the Government directive, all employees will work entirely from home, with the exception of those involved in delivering the following essential services, where delivering that service requires presence on the campus:

  1. Delivery of a COVID-19 related service and other services to the community included on the Government list
  2. Student residence services, including catering and support services
  3. Security and essential maintenance
  4. Critical support for animal, organism and plant facilities
  5. Continued operation of critical infrastructure for the support of remote operation of the University
  6. Preservation of resources that are critical to the research process and not easily reproducible (e.g. biobanks, frozen cell and tissue cultures, etc.)
  7. Support for cryogenic research equipment and other equipment where temporary decommissioning would create major difficulties
  8. Hazardous waste management
  9. Equipment oversight for critical safety purposes and checking of facilities for any operational issues including floods, power outages and temperature fluctuations
  10. Safety walk-throughs by technical staff
  11. Emergency response
  12. In a small number of exceptional cases of essential scientific research, for example where the research directly supports the response to COVID-19, or where a long-running and critical set of experiments would be invalidated were the research to be interrupted.

The campus residences will remain operational, but students may not have external visitors and must follow social distancing protocols. The Estates team, Student Health and Student Advisers will continue to look after the students who are living here, and I would like to thank each of you for your commitment and dedication at this time.

Employees who must attend campus for one of the reasons above must obtain a letter to this effect from their head of unit. Employees commuting to the campus under these arrangements must carry the letter and UCD identification with them for inspection by the GardaĂ­. A pro forma letter has been developed for this purpose. Unit heads will soon be receiving instructions as to how to process these requests.

Faculty who wish to request access to the campus to continue research under point 12 should, after gaining the approval of their Head of School, apply for permission to our Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Orla Feely, noting that permission will only be granted in truly exceptional circumstances, or where the research is directly supporting the fight against COVID-19.

These circumstances are unprecedented, and we thank you for your support as we rise to this challenge together.

Research Queries

Message from Associate Dean for Research, Innovation & Impact

24th March 2020

Please find links below to FAQs for Research and also separate guidelines for Graduate Students.

https://www.ucd.ie/research/portal/covid-19/ 

https://www.ucd.ie/graduatestudies/forstaff/covid-19faqsandguidelinesforgraduateresearchstudentsandstaff/ 

 

13th March 2020

Campus Access: As you will note from the President’ s bulletin of Thursday March 12th, the Belfield campus will remain operational for those whose research requires them to be present on site. In line with the current advice, large groups should be avoided and HSE guidelines should be followed. Principal Investigators should liaise with their teams and student to identify those tasks which need to be continued.

Working from home: Research team members whose presence on the campus is not required, should work from home. Principal Investigators should work closely with their team members to identify how working from home can be facilitated. Team meetings should continue using remote meeting systems and software. 

Hospital Based Research: Given the anticipated major increase in pressure on our hospitals,  It is likely that hospital based research may face severe disruption. This may have significant impact. We will work closely with Investigators, Students, funding agencies and other stakeholders to mitigate these effects

Graduate Research Students: We recognise that the current disruption may have an impact on timely completion of graduate research programmes. We will ensure that appropriate allowances are made for these students by way of extensions of registration etc, should the need arise.

Viva Voce Examinations: If a viva voce examination is scheduled for your student over the coming weeks, I would ask that you contact me as soon as possible so we can facilitate alternative arrangements, to ensure examinations progress.

Joint Statement from Research Funding Agencies: The Irish Research Council, the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland have issued a joint statement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Finally, you will be aware that a number of school colleagues are involved directly in efforts to control the outbreak, the provision of care to patients with Covid-19 and research into the pandemic. I am sure you will join with me in expressing our gratitude and support to them  and all the staff in our partner hospitals in these difficult times. 

The Covid-19 pandemic  and the control measures necessary present us with unique challenges. The UCD School of Medicine will support all of our staff and students through this uncertainty. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do contact me.

 Prof Peter Doran

Teaching Queries

General Approach

We appreciate your concerns and anxieties at this time and we are working consistently to ensure that the disruption to your education is minimsed.
To ensure that our students continue their learning journeys with minimum disruption, from March 23 through to the end of the academic year we will be adopting an at-distance teaching and learning model.
We will continue to programme teaching activities for each module in a timetable as usual, and academics and tutors will continue to interact with their students in line with this timetable to the greatest extent possible, but through electronic means.
Some lectures will be podcasted, but opportunities for students to interact with each other and their lecturers remotely will be maintained. Tutorials and group work will be mediated through on-line chat rooms and video services. In most cases (except for a small number of clinical programmes) all assessment, including final exams, will take place at distance.

School-Specific Direction to Students

The University has published FAQ for Students, has cascaded these to all students by email and has posted this guidance on its website.

The School continues to roll out contingency plans speciific for each individual programme and stage.  Depending on circumstances, this arrangement may have to update as the situation develops. We will inform you immediately if the situation changes, stay in touch via Brightspace and email.
Each Stage will have received detailed information by email.  Please be guided by these directions and any follow-up by Module Coordinators, via BrightSpace and by email correspondence from our Programme Offices.
It is preferrable if everyone relies on this primary information source rather than relay on second-hand (and possibly out-of-date) information.

Please note that you remain a full time registered student with a defined programme workload. We are planning well ahead so that you can graduate on schedule and it is imperative that you adhere to all scheduled activities. Academic Regulations continue to apply and if you do not complete your online teaching or assessment as scheduled for any reason, then usual procedures must be followed in respect of these.

For those with forthcoming assessments, you should, for now focus on preparing for these upcoming assessments which will go ahead as scheduled. Each module will post required updates on Brightspace so please continue to check these.  We wish you all the very very best of luck in your upcoming assessments, and please do stay safe.
 

School-Specific Direction to Staff

The University has published FAQ for Faculty, has cascaded these to all Faculty by email and has posted this guidance on its website.  The FAQs cover many questions you may have about the forthcoming period of online teaching and assessment. There are a number of questions on which the School can now give specific direction, as approved by the Dean:

Is recording of lectures on Brightspace for later streaming by students permitted?

Yes; recording of lectures is not just permitted, but required for the participation of our international students in different time zones

How do I record my teaching in Brightspace?

This was covered in the TEL workshops and is also included in the 'How-to" guide put together by the TEL team. If you have not received a copy and need one please contact Adam Tattersall.

Is recording of material including lectures as MP4 files for downloading permitted?

Yes. However, it is important to remember that MP4 files may easily be disseminated, including on Youtube and other widely accessible platforms. If you are happy for that to be done by others and confident that such dissemination would not violate copyright, you may provide recording of lectures and other materials in MP4 or similar downloadable formats

What is the guidance regarding copyright?

Lecturers must ensure that the materials they record and provide to students do not violate copyright.

For Our International Students

The School of Medicine understands that this is a particularly stressful time for you, living away from your families and making difficult decisions about whether or not to return to or to stay at home.

Should you wish to return to your home country to complete your studies online, and it is safe for you to travel, you are permitted to do so under the arrangements which UCD has put in place for at-distance teaching and learning. 

Similarly, if you are already at home or in another location for the study break, you are not required to return to Ireland to complete your studies. If you travel to another country at this time, please be alert to the public health, safety and travel advice for that country, and follow its recommendations.

If you have had to travel home or are currently at home you will be able to access your learning online.  UCD is currently working to put in place alternative methods of assessment.

You will receive further details about online learning and about rearrangement of assessment methods in the next two weeks.

If you have a specific query about an academic matter in a module, please contact the Module Coordinator.  

If you have any other queries about your programme please contact us by completing the contact form here: http://www.ucd.ie/medicine/programmeoffice/contact/ 

Please direct emails only to international.medicine@ucd.ie or medicine progamme office via the contact form  

Wishing you continued success in your studies and looking forward to seeing you back in UCD and Dublin.

Best wishes
Dr Patrick Felle
Associate Dean for Medicine International 

Got a Question?

Your Questions

We are happy to receive your questions in respect of how the School manages the current circumstances.  We will endeavour to provide a timely response.  Please send your question to Comms.Medicine@ucd.ie.  We ask all students and staff for their patience and forebearance at this time and remind everyone that many of our staff have important clinical duties which take precedence over all else.