All students will now be required to wear face coverings while studying in the library, College announced today.
In an email statement to The University Times, Catherine O’Mahony, a Trinity media relations officer, said: “Following recent changes in Government Guidelines on COVID-19 announced on Friday evening 7th August, 2020, face coverings will now be mandatory within all Library areas.”
The government has expanded the number of places in which people must wear masks to include shops, libraries and cinemas.
The University Times yesterday reported that some PhD students were avoiding the library over fears of contracting the coronavirus, because the majority of students were not wearing masks.
One PhD student Tenaya Jorgensen told The University Times that when she went into the library in late July, students were not social distancing and that she was the only person on her floor of the Berkeley Library wearing a face covering.
“I was very shocked to see that there was probably one other person in the library who was wearing a face mask and students were not sitting two metres apart”, she said.
The College, she added, was “boasting about Luke O’Neill coming out saying that face masks should be mandatory in secondary schools. They’re talking about how their researchers are doing all this incredible research and making such a difference. But then we aren’t listening to our own science”.
After closing at the beginning of the pandemic, the libraries re-opened last month to students working on their dissertations or students studying for their resits.
In an email to students last month, Trinity’s Librarian and Archivist Helen Shenton said that the reopening is “focused on the essential needs of academic staff, postgraduate students and undergraduate students who may be sitting reassessments”.
In an email to students in July, Vice-Provost Jürgen Barkhoff said: “As facilities and services on campus will be limited, you should not come onto campus to socialise or for no specific purpose. The numbers of students on campus will be closely monitored.”
He also said that campus will remain closed to the general public until at least September 28th, “with the aim of ensuring the potential for overcrowding is minimized and that as many students and staff as possible can safely return to college”.