STAFF INFORMATION UPDATES:
The college will see the return of students from Monday 20th September on a staggered blended basis.
The IT Sligo COVID 19 Response Plan which has been updated following the publication of “A safe return to onsite further & higher education and research 2021-2022”, together with a Staff Checklist to assist Academic staff. Please read and familiarise yourself with contents of the plan.
As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, everyone has a personal responsibility to follow the guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Please note the institute has recruited a number of Covid Monitors who will be present around the campus to encourage and support with compliance of the guidelines.
We ask that staff continue to work from home where possible in consultation with their manager, where their role permits.
We would like to thank the Lead Workers for their significant contribution in updating this plan.
We fully appreciate this is an anxious time for students and staff and there will be a number of wellbeing events organised throughout the semester to support you.
IT Sligo looks forward to welcoming back staff and students on campus this September. All planning is being informed by the Safe Return Plan published by the D/FHERIS on June 15th and the THEA document ‘Implementing a Safe Return to Campus’ which endorsed the sector commitment to the Safe Return Plan. This plan has been agreed at a national level with the social partners.
Here are some specifics about returning on campus:
- All progressing years will commence classes on 20th September
- All 1st years and apprentices will commence classes on 27th September, with induction commencing in the week prior to that.
- All students will have meaningful on campus learning on a weekly basis. Where on campus delivery is a requisite to achieve the programme learning outcomes, students on such programmes will be on campus for typically 4-5 days per week.
- Practicals, labs, workshops, seminars and tutorials will be onsite for all other programmes, which meaning that every student will be onsite for at least 2 days per week.
- Given the nature of Science practical’s, some labs will operate with 50% student capacity initially. We will review the quantum of on campus learning after the first 6 weeks with the intention of adjusting the quantum upwards when the Public Health guidelines permit it.
- We are committed to having a full suite of clubs & societies available for students to participate in, to complement the student on campus learning experience.
- Our student support services have increased mental health supports and is accessible to students both on campus and remotely.
- Hybrid Induction programmes have been planned for continuing and new students with an on campus bespoke induction scheduled for students with Autism and other special needs.
As we embark on the coming academic year together, we want to emphasise the continued need for personal responsibility and shared collective responsibility by all in our community to facilitate the safe operation of campus life. This will necessitate keeping up to date with, and practicing, all the control measures put in place to deal with COVID-19.
To summarise these:
- Public health measures on campus will include mandatory mask wearing, hand hygiene, cleaning, employment of COVID 19 monitors, booking system for library/study spaces, CO2 monitoring, use of air filtration system, one way person traffic system around campus,
- We are not requiring either staff or students to produce a covid vaccination certification to come on campus.
- As per the Minister’s statement, we are not required to implement any distancing between people – i.e. the 2 m distance is gone and social distancing is now about avoiding congregation. Having said that, we are working to ensure that everyone can maintain a space between themselves and others – again this puts pressure on space and requires re-imaging the timetable and how we circulate around the buildings.
- students/ staff with potential symptoms, will be triaged with isolation facilities available, and risk assessments of all campus teaching & non-teaching areas has been carried out.
- A bespoke mandatory COVID 19 module has been developed for students detailing the Institutes public health measures and students’ responsibilities on and off campus.
- Management are meeting regularly with the COVID Lead Worker Representatives to consult on planning for the new academic year.
- We are also meeting with the students’ union and they are part of the planning team for the new academic year.
- For those who are high-risk and cannot avail of vaccines, measures are in place. Please discuss this with your head of department and with the HR office.
Notwithstanding the above, the most effective control measure for COVID-19 is the protection afforded to individuals and our community by vaccination. We can be very proud of the vaccine rollout and high uptake rates in Ireland and I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet availed of the vaccine to do so without delay. This will undoubtedly help us in achieving our shared objective for a fuller and richer higher education experience in the coming academic year.