Return to Campus Working


Information Updated: 7th July 2020


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The University's Draft Planning Framework for Teaching, Learning and Assessment during Autumn Trimester 2020 for consultation, as agreed by UMT on the 27th May 2020 can be accessed below (UCD Connect login and password required to access);


Draft Planning Framework for Teaching, Learning and Assessment during Autumn Trimester 2020

In line with the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business and Return To Work Safety Protocol, UCD has prepared a Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response PlanThe purpose of this document is to provide all employees and researchers with details of the steps that are necessary to minimise the risk from Covid 19 during the return to campus working, and applies to those who will be returning to campus following implementation of Phase 3 of the Government’s Roadmap.


During this period the following employees and researchers are permitted to return to University premises:

  • Those who need to access their offices to prepare or distribute teaching materials
  • Researchers who require access to laboratories / campus facilities for research continuity purposes
  • Those employees and researchers engaged in Covid 19 research
  • Additional persons whose work is considered as essential as defined by the government
  • Those persons whose presence on campus is required to support the above categories
  • Employees who are generally solitary workers and need to access the campus to work effectively whilst maintaining 2m social distancing, e.g. working in an individual office


Where applicable the principles as outlined in the Response Plan also apply to those persons who need to reengage in fieldwork. 

The principle that those employees that can work from home should continue to do so, and those persons in an at risk group should continue to work from home, still applies until otherwise advised.

At all times information on Covid 19 is available from the HSE 

The Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response Plan applies to those employees and researchers who will be returning to campus following implementation of Phase 3 of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business, and outlines the steps to be taken in advance of any return.

This document will be kept under review and will be updated as required and as and when public health advice necessitates.

Revision 2 of the response plan published on the 7th July 2020 has been updated to reflect the provisions of Phase 3 of the Government’s Roadmap For Reopening Society and Business. The other key changes to this document include;

  • Increase in the maximum size of a UCD Word Pod from a maximum of 8 persons to 12 persons in specified circumstances (See Work Pods section below)
  • The definitions of Transient / Intermittent Contact, Casual Contact, Sustained Contact and Higher Risk Contact developed and refined.
  • UCD High Level Risk Assessment updated
  • Details of the online application to return to on campus working process updated


 All Employees and Researchers must adhere to the following;

  • No person may access the campus if they are unwell or have been advised to self-isolate
  • Before returning to Campus all persons must have explicit permission to do so and have completed Covid 19 Induction training
  • Any application to return to campus must be made at least three days in advance
  • When on campus such persons must adhere to the provisions of the Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response Plan and current public health advice.
  • All persons must Sign In / Out via the UCD online system every time they are present on site.
  • Persons should seek guidance from their Local Covid 19 Coordinator or the SIRC Office if they are unsure of any workplace provisions in relation to Covid 19


1. Complete the Return to Campus Working Application through InfoHub (for staff and research postgraduates) OR SISWeb (for taught postgraduate students) for approval by your relevant ELG Line Manager at least three days in advance of the planned return to work. This form also requires;

  • Confirmation of completion of the UCD Covid 19 Induction Training (see section below)
  • For Higher Risk Work completion and submission of a Task Specific Covid 19 Risk Assessment (See further information in section below Covid 19 Work Risk Assessment)

Note that staff, research postgraduate students and taught postgraduate students must use the appropriate online system (InfoHub / SISWeb) for making an application.

Visiting researchers or interns, who do not have access to the online system may apply directly to the relevant Head of School / Unit using the Return to Work Application Form.


2. The relevant ELG member reviews the form and (1) approves the return to work, providing details of Work Pod assignment, where relevant, and confirmation of their approved working times on site or (2) Approval is not given. 


3. If approved, the applicant can attend campus to work, and when doing so must sign in / sign out for every visit and adhere to all Covid 19 precautions.    


Advice for approvers is available in the Guide for Managers Reviewing Applications to Return to Work on Campus

Approvers who may wish to delegate an alternative approver while they are on leave, should contact to arrange 

Before returning to Campus all persons must have explicit permission to do so and have completed the UCD Covid 19 Induction Training.

This is a 15 minute presentation available to view on Brightspace


Steps to accessing UCD Covid 19 Induction Training on Brightspace:

1. Go to and login using your UCD Connect login and password

2. Click on 'Explore' on header options

3. Select the 'Return to Campus Working; UCD Covid 19 Induction Training'

4. Select option to 'Enroll in Course' 

5. Select option to 'Open Course'

6. Select 'My Learning' from header options 

7. 'UCD Covid 19 Induction Training' will appear under learning materials on the left hand side of the screen.







UCD High Level Covid 19 Risk Assessment

A high-level assessment of the risk from Covid 19 whilst working in UCD has identified three levels of risk and a list of the control measures required to reduce the risk to as low a level as practicable. All persons returning to campus must categorise the risk associated with their work as Low Risk, Acceptable Risk or Higher Risk. See Appendix 1 of the Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response Plan and outlined below.

UCD High Level Covid 19 Risk Assessment

Table 1: UCD High-level Covid 19 Risk Assessment (See also Appendix 1 Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response Plan)


Contact Definitions

Transient / Intermittent Contact

Spending less than 15 minutes within 2m of another person or persons, such as when passing in a corridor, sharing a toilet space, etc.


Casual Contact

Spending less than 2hrs in a 24hr period in the same working space as other persons whilst still maintaining 2m distancing.


Sustained Contact

Spending more than two hours per 24hr period in the same working space as other persons whilst maintaining 2m distancing.


Higher Risk Contact

Spending more than 15 minutes at less than 2m distancing from another person(s).


In the event of Higher Risk Work you will need to complete and submit a Task Specific Covid 19 Risk Assessment with your Return to Campus Working Application. This is work that involves tasks with a potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of Covid 19 or where persons are required to engage in Higher Risk Contact.


Anyone undertaking work involving the deliberate use of SARS-CoV-2 or handling specimens from known or suspected Covid 19 patients may need Regulatory approval. Further advice can be sought from the SIRC Office.


UCD Risk Assessment Templates

The SIRC Office has updated its' existing risk assessment templates with a section to assess the Covid 19 risks from other persons and the environment, but not from handling Covid 19 material. Handling Covid 19 material must be assessed via a UCD Biological Agents Risk Assessment Template.



A key component in the management of the Covid 19 risk in UCD as the University is reoccupied is based around the formation of ‘Work Pods’ and the associated changes in working practices.


Government advice to date has been for citizens to, in so far as possible, limit their close contacts to family / household groupings. The reasons for this advice are twofold, (i) to minimise the number of persons with whom an individual has close contact with, and (ii) to consequently minimise the number of others that an infected person could in theory infect. This same concept is being applied to the reoccupation of UCD as the Covid 19 emergency measures begin to unwind.


Managers in consultation with each other, their team members and their Head Of School / Unit, Institute / Facility Director or College Principal / Vice Principal, are required to develop working practices and structures that allow for the development of Working Pods of no more than 8 persons whose sustained contacts are restricted to persons within their designated Working Pod.


In dynamic working environments such as laboratories where the utilisation of additional risk control measures such as the wearing of PPE is practicable and appropriate, a Work Pod of up to a maximum size of 12 persons may be developed. Office type environments are not considered to be suitable locations at this time for larger pods utilising PPE, but laboratories and other dynamic locations where the wearing of PPE is a normal day to day risk control measure are considered to be suitable environments for utilising the larger pod size.


Restricting close contacts at work to the limited number of persons in your Work Pod both helps reduce the risk of infection and in the event that an infection does arise within the Work Pod allows for more rapid contact tracing and testing. Consequently persons can only belong to one Work Pod and cannot move between pods.


For the Work Pod model of Covid 19 risk management to succeed all persons have to adhere to the restrictions placed upon their Work Pod and adhere to best infection control practises as published by the HSE. The success of the Work Pod in limiting Covid 19 risk when at work is dependent on all persons behaving in a responsible manner and adhering to best practice advice at all times. 


Persons must only come to work at the times that have been agreed with their Line Manager and other Work Pod members. An ad hoc approach to workplace attendance by Work Pod members is not appropriate at this time, structure is needed around attendance at the workplace.  The only exception to this is where an individual can work in a solitary capacity (i.e. Low Risk) when on campus. Such persons can be considered as working in a Work Pod of one.


A single Work Pod may contain members from across different teams and Units, hence it is vital that Line Managers consult with each other when developing their Pods.


Members of a single Work Pod can engage in sustained contact, subject to physical distancing of at least 2m between each Work Pod member being in place. Only one Work Pod may occupy a space at any one time, except in the case of large spaces such as some laboratories and open plan offices where it may be possible for more than one Work Pod to occupy the space. However for this to occur there must be physical distancing between the members of different Work Pods of at least 5m or there must be a significant physical barrier between the members of each pod e.g. a bank of fume hoods; and there must be no recirculation of used air within the space (if in doubt check with your Building Manager or Estate Services).


All staff and researchers accessing the campus for work reasons are strongly encouraged to keep their own Covid 19 Contact Diary. This contact diary should be used to record details of the owners activities when on campus, including what locations they accessed, who they had contact with and for how long in each case. These diaries can then be made available to the HSE or others for contact tracing purposes in the event of a positive Covid 19 case on campus.

As outlined in the Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response Plan, and once approval has been provided to attend campus to work, all persons must Sign In / Out via the UCD online system every time they are present on site.

This information will be used for contact tracing in the event of a case of Covid 19 on campus and for other safety and regulatory purposes related to the risk management of Covid 19.

This is mandatory for all persons working on campus and must be done for every visit to the campus.


Further details on the Sign In / Out system are available on the Estates Services website

At this time the use of gloves by the wider University community is not considered appropriate.

For those persons engaged in Low Risk work it is not considered at this time that the wearing of any PPE is necessary.

Those persons who are engaged in Acceptable Risk work in an office type environment do not need to wear PPE. However face coverings in the form of face shields will be made available to any person who wishes to use one.

Those persons engaged in Acceptable Risk working in a laboratory or similar type dynamic environment are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in the form of a face shield. It should be noted that face shields offer no impact protection and are not a substitute for eye protection, so where appropriate a face shield must be worn over safety glasses / goggles.


The use of face shield provides for a physical barrier between a wearers face and airborne droplets and also contain any droplets expelled by the wearer and are considered at this time to represent a better alternative to masks for workers in UCD. Face shields are relatively comfortable and can be worn for extended periods of time and can be washed regularly using soap and warm water and reused. Refer to guidance for Using Face Shields for details of how to wash your face shield


Face shields will be issued to any person who wishes to obtain one (contact or your Local Covid 19 Coordinator). 


For work that requires a task specific Covid 19 Risk Assessment additional PPE may be required; this should be detailed in the relevant risk assessment.

Covid 19 Lead Coordinators

The SIRC Office and Estate Services will act as the University’s Covid 19 Lead Coordinators. These offices will oversee the University’s Covid 19 risk management programme and compliance with same.


Local Covid 19 Coordinator

An ELG Member may appoint a Local Covid 19 Coordinator, in particular if they manage a complex or work intensive area with multiple Work Pods. Research Facilities and Institutions and Schools and Units with a high level of group activity or requiring task specific risk assessment are strongly encouraged to appoint such a person.


Local Covid 19 Coordinators should take steps to ensure that there is adherence to best practice with respect to Covid 19 risk management across their area of responsibility. A Local Covid 19 Coordinator can also act as a conduit for employee queries in relation to Covid 19 to Senior Management and SIRC as required.


Coordinators can also take responsibility for obtaining supplies of hand sanitiser, face shields and other Covid 19 materials from Campus Services and distributing same across their designated areas. Full records must be kept of the distribution of these materials to include date of issue and name of recipient.


In the absence of a Local Covid 19 Coordinator the University’s Covid 19 Lead Coordinators will oversee workplace compliance and the implementation of Covid 19 risk control measures. 


All work involving face to face contact with humans must be risk assessed with respect to Covid 19 before being undertaken. A template for this assessment is given below. 


In this context face to face contact is defined as any research that requires researchers to be physically in the presence of research subjects irrespective of whether physical contact takes place. At all times the aim should be to remove or reduce the need to engage in face to face activity in order to reduce the risk from Covid 19.


This UCD Covid 19 Human Research Ethics Risk Assessment Template must be completed by new applicants seeking ethical approval and by those already approved to engage in research.


Researchers With Existing Approval

If you have already received ethical approval for your research you do not need to reengage with the ethical approvals process unless you are making an amendment to your original application, in which case you will have to apply for an amendment approval as normal.


Researchers with existing ethical approval should complete this UCD Covid 19 Human Research Ethics Risk Assessment Template, identifying Covid 19 risk control measures to ensure both researcher and participant safety, and confirm that they believe their research is safe to continue.


In particular they should pay attention to the suitability of research subjects, the use of physical protection measures, limiting the nature of face to face contact, updating participant screening questionnaires and information sheets and whether or not an updated subject consent is required.


Researchers should contact for advice if the risk rating arrived at is ‘moderate’ or above.


New Applicants

Applicants seeking ethical approval for the first time should complete this Risk Assessment Template and forward it to in tandem with their ethics application.


Note that this risk assessment template is only designed to address the risks from Covid 19. It does not remove the need to complete risk assessments for other hazards associated with the research, such as sample collection, travel, etc. 

Advice for First Aid Responders

The UCD Advice for First Aid Responders: COVID 19 guide is intended to provide some practical guidance and reassurance to First Aid Responders [FAR] in UCD.

To minimise risk, it is advised that all UCD First Aid Responders should avoid close contact with a person who may require first aid on campus, unless absolutely necessary or if Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available.

To request first aid assistance, persons should immediately contact the UCD 24-hour Emergency Line on Ext. 7999 or 01 716 7999 from a mobile.

The 7999 first aid responders have access to PPE and can respond to first aid requests.

Patients in cardiac arrest should have compression only CPR applied. Do not give mouth to mouth rescue breaths.

Call the UCD Emergency Line on ext. 7999 for assistance and use an AED as soon as possible. See locations of AED’s in UCD.


Further advice and information

UCD Advice for First Aid Responders: COVID 19_Rev.0 June 2020

Order of Malta Ireland Guidelines on First Aid in the workplace

PHECC Covid 19 Advice for Responders

HSE advice on Performing CPR

HPSC Guidance on CPR in the context of Covid 19

UCD SIRC Office has provided this UCD Return to Work Safely Privacy Notice (pdf) to cover the data processing for UCD to meet its obligations under the Covid-19, ‘National Return to Work Safely Protocol’ to ensure that UCD is a safe place to work. 


UCD Response Plan and Return to Work Resources

Return to Campus Working Covid 19 Response Plan (pdf)

UCD Return to Work Application (through InfoHub)

UCD Return to Work Application Form (doc). Note that staff and research postgraduate students must use the online system for making an application (through InfoHub link above).

Taught postgraduates must use the online system through SISWeb.

Visiting researchers and interns who cannot access these systems, may apply directly to the relevant Head of School / Unit using this form.

UCD Covid 19 Induction Training (through Brightspace, see access steps in section above)

UCD Campus Access Sign In / Sign Out (through Estate Services)


UCD Risk Assessments and Templates

UCD High-Level Covid 19 Risk Assessment (pdf)

UCD Task Specific Covid 19 RA Template (doc)

UCD Risk Assessment Templates (doc). Note new section added to address risks associated with Covid 19

UCD Covid 19 Human Research Ethics Risk Assessment Template (doc)


UCD Guidance Documents

Guide for Managers Reviewing Applications to Return to Work on Campus (pdf)

Using Face Shields (pdf)


Other Resources

Handwashing Poster (pdf)

HSE Hand Hygiene Poster (pdf)

HPSC Guidance on the Safe Use of Masks (pdf)