Mar 6, 2020

Students Call on College to Let Them Study Online, Amid Coronavirus Fears

An online petition, which argues studying at home is safer than home than coming in to College, has gathered over 500 signatures.

Donal MacNamee and Cormac Watson

Students are asking to be allowed study at home rather than come to College, after the first confirmed case of the disease was confirmed in Trinity last night.

An online petition, with over 500 signatures, claims that students should be allowed to study online rather than in College.

“We are the student who wishes to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in our school and in Ireland”, the petition states.


“Up to 5/3/2020, there are 13 confirmed cases in the Republic and one of them is from our school”, it adds, flagging the “high risk of community infection”.

“What we can do now is avoiding gatherings so that the virus will not spread from person to person. Through online teaching, it still enables us to study from home.”

Earlier today, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) cancelled its next council meeting amid rumours that a student in attendance at the union’s election count night last week had contracted the virus.

The petition comes at a time of increasing uncertainty for Trinity students, after Provost Patrick Prendergast confirmed last night that a case of the virus had been found in TBSI.

In an email sent to staff and students last night, Provost Patrick Prendergast wrote that the College was informed of a positive case of coronavirus “late on Thursday night”.

“We are now working closely with the authorities to ensure that this individual receives the best care possible”, Prendergast said.

“The HSE will trace anyone who has been in contact with the infected individual to ensure they receive any necessary medical attention”, he said.

“The HSE and University will now take all appropriate steps to contain any further spread of the virus and protect your welfare and the welfare of the University community.”

“The relevant part of the University (Floor 4 of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute), and the lifts in TBSI, have been closed as a precautionary measure and will be cleaned in accordance with HSE guidelines.”

Trinity announced today that it would not require its student on Erasmus exchange in Italy to return home, despite a rapid increase in the number of cases there. 

In an email statement to The University Times, Thomas Deane, a media relations officer in Trinity, said: “Trinity is not requiring students on Erasmus placement to return to Ireland but we have written to each of them individually in the last week asking them to inform us of the arrangements their host universities have made to ensure the successful completion of their academic programme, and to share information of their plans.”

Deane said: “All of our partner universities have made arrangements for the remaining teaching/learning and assessment to be completed online. As a result some Trinity students have returned to Ireland or the UK or other home countries in Europe, but most have elected to remain in Italy.”

“Those electing to return have been advised to follow the HSE and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade guidelines on arrival.”

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