Coronavirus COVID-19

The University is closed until further notice.

Teaching and assessment will be online/remote for the rest of the semester. Colleagues are requested to continue to work remotely unless asked to attend work by your line manager.

Consistent with current public health protocols and priorities, campuses will be accessible only to those who are doing agreed HSE-related work and supporting the HSE in its COVID-19-specific work. Necessary access will also be provided for those supporting our students and others in University Student Accommodation and in support services required to facilitate that work and maintain a secure and safe campus to the extent possible.

Revised dates for next academic year

Please note: Revised semester dates for First Years were set before the Government acnnounced the cancellation of the 2020 Leaving Cert. The dates forFirst Year commencement are likely to be revised further as a new timetable for the release of results and CAO offers is announced by the Government.

Live Q&A online

We will be running a series of online Q&A sessions to help answer current and incoming students' queries and support you at this challenging time:

Check out our upcoming Virtual Events here

Key Updates

We would like to draw the attention of our University community to the following updates

Staff/student email update from University President, 2 June


  for all previous COVID-19 updates from the President

Phased Reopening of our Campuses

A few short months ago, none of us imagined that our lives and work would be changed so dramatically. We have since seen the best of our collegiate spirit in operation and in our operations. We hope that this spirit will enable us emerge from these current challenges as a stronger institution, a more solid community.

When we closed our campuses, we acted quickly, by necessity. This served us and our communities well.

As we reopen our campuses, careful planning and attention to detail is required by necessity. This will serve us and our community well as we face what remains a deadly virus still live in our midst. We know the virus, deadly for many and undesirable for all, is still among us and we do not wish to give it traction again.

I appreciate that many colleagues are anxious to get back to work to carry out the research which defines what it means to be a university. I also appreciate that the pace of our reopening will likely be frustrating, very frustrating, to colleagues who are admirably enthusiastic to return to work and to the research we love. However, the University Management Team is also determined that we prioritise health and safety as well – to keep us well – in our reopening. The Government Return to Work Safely Protocol is the guiding framework of our reopening plan. This requires us to give careful consideration to the redesign of access to and circulation in buildings, the training of colleagues with regard to the challenges associated with new working arrangements and also requires formal declarations from all colleagues entering buildings. This requires the input of many colleagues. We will also learn as we go, learnings from the first building (the Biomedical Sciences building) will be applied to the reopening plans for other buildings. This means that we will start slowly – cautiously as we always said – and that, we hope, the reopening will gather pace. Conscious that many colleagues are very keen to return to work, I ask for and appreciate your patience and understanding as we go about this work.

The Health and Safety Authority will expect that we adhere to the requirements as set out in the Government Protocol. It is critical that we are cautious and careful as we progress our reopening. We are, again, determined to put health and safety first and we ask for colleagues’ forbearance in being true to this determination in challenging times. The consequences of getting it wrong are profound. As we reopen, I remember the uncertainties we faced together as a university community as we closed. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies felt in our community since then, but we can take comfort that the worst that we imagined did not come to pass. We do not want to get back to the vista we faced in February and March and that we might have experienced in April and May had we not taken early and decisive action as a society and as a community. When we reopen, we want to stay open as a safe place to work, respectful of all in the community of which we are a part. Careful planning at this stage makes it more likely that we can keep moving ahead rather than having to retreat.

We closed together but the pace and place of our reopening will necessarily be at a different pace and place for some than for others. In many ways, therefore, our reopening will be more challenging than our closing. We will do our very best that this is undertaken with respect for all members of our community and for the exigencies of the moment. Please stay with us and together – in solidarity – on this journey as you did in our closing of our campuses.

We are also mindful that, in the roadmap for reopening, colleagues who can work from home should continue to do so. Therefore, we are focusing in particular on those buildings housing research laboratories and other associated facilities that facilitate work that cannot be carried out remotely.

  • Researcher Forum: In that context,last week, over 130 of our researchers attended an online forum to hear more about the ongoing plans and preparations to open research facilities on our campuses on a phased basis. Conscious that this is a very important issue for many in our community, colleagues were briefed on the wider context for our planning, the guidelines we are following for prioritising buildings, the four-week process through which preparations for reopening are progressed, and the important requirements and steps needed along the way to make sure those facilities can open safely. I would like to thank the panellists John Gill, Aengus Parsons, John Gibney, Carmel Browne and Alan Lambe for organising the forum. I hope that lots of our researchers’ questions were answered by the panel on the day and lots more will form an FAQ to help address your individual concerns. For those of you who weren’t able to attend on the day, you can watch back on the forum on the new Returning to Research SharePoint site. Over the coming days, our colleagues in the Research Office and other units will upload all of the documents, forms, templates and resources related to the process of reopening research facilities to the Documents section of the SharePoint site.
  • Teaching and Learning: The Academic Planning Group chaired by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh spent the past week consulting with Colleges on plans for reopening to get their perspective on how best to deliver Semester 1. We are keen, as much as possible and subject to public health advice, to give our students an on-campus experience and to provide once again a meaningful educational experience. This will be challenging and we appreciate – and will support – colleagues’ work in this regard. We and our students will have another perhaps profound learning experience ahead, as we learn to deal with uncertainty and the need for adaptability. I would like to thank colleagues across the Colleges for your ongoing engagement. I look forward to the Academic Planning Group issuing recommendations on the dates and format of Semester 1 later this week.

Research and innovation

  • Providing Laptops to School Students in Need: The sudden closure of schools due to COVID-19 exposed a considerable technology gap in society, with many families not being able to afford the laptops that are now essential for children to access online learning. Our colleagues in the Insight Centre for Data Analytics have helped address the problem by providing easy-to-follow video and written instructions that allow people all over the country to reimage laptops. It includes step-by-step advice on how to wipe off all data and install free open-sourced operating systems and other key software. See how at: https://youtu.be/ypaAj1Lz8uQ. I would like to thank Brendan Smith and his colleagues in Insight for showing how our university can have real impact on the communities around us when we share our knowledge and expertise openly.
  • The Economic Costs of Workplace Bullying: New research led by Dr John Cullinan (Economics) and Dr Margaret Hodgins (Health Promotion) has estimated the economic value of lost productivity from workplace bullying in Ireland. The research, which was published in Occupational Medicine, highlights an important issue that is unlikely to have gone away as a result of new COVID-19 work-from-home practices. Read more
  • Valuing healthcare and health insurance: With COVID-19 shining a spotlight on our healthcare system, a recent study suggests that there is no meaningful difference in how people value health, whether they have private health insurance or not. The research, which was undertaken by Dr Anna Hobbins (CÚRAM), and led by Professor Ciaran O’Neill (QUB) in collaboration with colleagues in Galway, London and Spain, suggests that differences in use between those with and without insurance more likely relate to the differential access private health insurance affords than to differences in preferences. Read more
  • Supporting heart failure patients to avoid hospital during COVID-19 pandemic: The cardiology team at Galway University Hospital (GUH) has carried out a first-in-man clinical trial for a sensor that detects changes in the health of patients with heart failure and allows for clinical intervention to prevent a heart failure flare-up resulting in urgent hospitalisation. This technology is particularly relevant now during restricted movements when patients with underlying conditions are cocooning to minimise the chances of contracting COVID-19.
  • Global Leadership Award in Medicine: Now is a time to celebrate our healthcare staff and researchers. I would like to congratulate Professor John J. Carey (Medicine) on receiving the ‘Dr John P. Bilezikian ISCD Global Leadership Award’ by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD). Professor Carey was presented the award for his distinguished service and leadership in the global promotion of the field of bone densitometry and the ISCD.
  • Seeing the Brighter Side of Life: And finally… we could all use some fun and laughter at this time. Our colleague Dr Jessamyn Fairfield (Physics) is hosting a new podcast series from Bright Club Ireland called You’re Up Next. Bright Club is a science comedy variety night that trains academic researchers to explain their work through stand-up comedy, and Jessamyn is the founder and director of the Irish branch. The first episode of You’re Up Next explores whether you can teach someone to be funny and whether it is wrong to laugh at things that are challenging or upsetting. Listen on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Switcher and other platforms.

Support Services – maintaining our systems, services and supports from home

Last week our third monthly payroll was completed successfully with colleagues working remotely to make it happen. Once again, it reminded us that there is a lot of ongoing work behind-the-scenes to keep vital university systems, services and supports that matter to us all running. Many people are working remotely to continue to provide IT support, process payments, generate Payroll, support online events, teaching and learning, and provide advice and support through virtual meetings. Other staff continue to support students in our campus accommodation or through online supports and services. This work isn’t easy and has involved a lot of new work practices and creative thinking to adapt to all of the disruptions. The word extraordinary can describe something outside the norm but also something or someone who is exceptional in nature. Time and time again, the professional staff working in our support services have shown themselves to be truly extraordinary – and I would like to thank you on behalf of all of our colleagues who rely on your commitment, flexibility and hard work to continue with our work and studies.

Virtual events

On Thursday, UNESCO Chairs at NUI Galway and Penn State presented a live discussion with representatives of Barça Foundation and the GAA to explore sport’s role as a tool for good in supporting society and the development of life skills such as empathy and identity during COVID-19: Sport as a Tool for Empathy During COVID-19 Pandemic (Watch back on the webinar here).  I had the pleasure of listening in and was inspired by the work done by sportspeople and sporting organisations for the most vulnerable in society, children and young people who are often at risk. While Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey’s comments on professionalism in sport made the national press, I was also very impressed by the range of areas where, as expressed by Kalyn McDonough of the University of Delaware (who also coaches at a juvenile correctional facility), sport ‘can have a great place of possibility for empathy’. Yolanda Antin, Partnership Co-ordinator of Barcelona FC, gave examples of the relationships that Barça maintained and established to articulate the club’s ‘social commitment response’ during COVID-19. In particular, as Yolanda phrased it, ‘so we won’t drop off our kids’, Barça maintained its remarkable relationship with its communities during the crisis. Similarly, we hope to maintain our relationships with our students and staff during the summer months ahead. Colleagues have done so with great commitment through webinars, meetings and other ways to keep in contact remotely, socially distancing but not distant. We have some ideas in that regard which we will be sharing with you over the coming weeks as we head into a different time of year, most different this year and would welcome your suggestions too

There was a great sense during the webinar of the role played by sporting and other organisations in and for society, engendering a sense of community and solidarity, learning through winning and losing, learning to live with empathy. Similarly, as NUI Galway, we have a role to play in our community and we have shown it again and again over the last few, challenging months. As we move into a new phase of this challenge, we are also part of a wider community and we can once again be exemplars, a city on the hill, for others and other organisations. We are conscious of this also in the pace, progress and prioritisation of our reopening, careful first of and for our community in and beyond our walls.

COVID-19 has taught us the deadly, negative consequences of infection. We know this now. As we come now to another inflection point in our university’s experience, I look forward with you a new phase in our lives together – taking care of each other – and conscious of the live, and hopefully positive consequences of our actions as they are seen and felt by the community of which are a part and not apart.

Best regards,

Ciarán.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

President, NUI Galway

 

Revised Semester Dates for Academic Year 2020/21

Updated 11 May: Proposed dates for First Year commencement are likely to change in light of revised Government plans for Leaving Cert 2020. We are awaiting greater clarity on the timetable of Leaving Cert exams and results.

The semester and exam dates for next academic year, including the repeat exam dates for this autumn, can be found below. These dates are, of course, subject at all times to public health advice.

I want to acknowledge and thank staff across the University and the Students' Union for their input into formulating these dates. I also wish to share my thanks more generally for the great flexibility shown by our university community in adjusting to the challenges of COVID-19.

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh

Deputy President and Registrar

Student supports and services to sustain you through the summer: message from the Dean of Students, 29 May

Dear student,

I hope you are well and enjoying some sunshine now and looking forward to the summer. This is my final email of this academic year and if you don’t have a summer job this year, you may be interested in some of the possibilities included below which will develop yourself while supporting others. You might choose to volunteer, stay involved with societies or take on your own radio show. A reminder too, that the many University supports are still available over the next few months, some included below,  so do contact us if you need our help. 

Summer 2020 Goal!

If you would like to set a goal for this summer, why not consider achieving the Bronze, Silver or Gold Gaisce Award from the President of Ireland? Spend one hour a week on a physical activity, practicing a skill, volunteering, and reflecting on your goals. Achieving Ireland's national award medal by the end of the summer is a great opportunity! To be assigned an NUI Galway Gaisce PAL, visit the ALIVE website here

ALIVE & Community Volunteering

This summer you may be considering volunteering in your local community or online. Volunteering is a great way to build your network, explore interests and be part of positive civic efforts. NUI Galway wants to ensure that you engage safely and are supported. Visit the ALIVE website for the national guidelines on safe volunteering here: https://www.studentvolunteer.ie/covid-19

COV-Aid Student Engagement Award

In this time of crisis, civic engagement is more vital to society than ever before. The Talloires Network and Open Society University Network  are working to raise the visibility and expand support for undergraduates engaged with their local communities. They are currently accepting applications for the COV-AID Student Engagement Award.  The Award will provide economic and social support to students who were engaged in their communities before the outbreak and are now dealing with uncertainty and isolation.

In partnership with the Open Society University Network, the Talloires Network launched COV-AID, Communities OVirtual Alliance & Inter-Dependence in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Undergraduate students at all Talloires Network and/or OSUN member universities (this includes NUI Galway) are eligible to apply for the COV-AID Student Engagement Award. There will be 10 awardees and awards will be up to 2,500 USD

Students should complete and submit the COV-AID Student Engagement Award Application before 1 June 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT. Selection decisions will be made in June 2020. Grant disbursements will begin as early as July 2020. 

Societies

Lots of Society events to keep you entertained over the Summer keep an eye on the Societies calendar for details.

  • If you are missing us in Áras na Mac Léinn, calling in for a chat at the SocsBox or hanging out in the Hub, we will be coming to you this Summer, You can live chat and join the SocsBox Live Zoom Rooms weekdays throughout the Summer details on https://www.nuigstudents.ie/socsboxlive
  • Get your weekly news letter of upcoming events 'The What's Happening Guide', subscribe here, we will feature on and off campus virtual events.
  • You can join your favourite society in yourspace.nuigalway.ie so you are on their mail and texts lists.
  • Looking for new ideas for on line entertainment? Keep an eye on our Entertainment in isolation page for tips on whats available.
  • Check out how to look after yourself on www.nuigstudents.ie/self-care
  • Following on from the success of the NUI Galway Summer Drama Festival we will be back with an NUI Galway Virtual Summer Festival. 
  • So stay in the know & keep in touch and up to date on 
    www.nuigstudents.ie&www.socs.nuigalway.ie 
  • Follow us on social media FaceBook Twitter: @SocsBoxNUIG Instagram: nuigalway_socbox

Good Luck to all our societies preparing to enter this year’s BICSNational Society Awards next week. The Awards are virtual this year. You can also view the Societies Video from the recent Open Day here

Flirt FM

 Flirt FM is broadcasting 24/7 for the duration of the lockdown, and still features more than 40 brand new shows each week, recorded at home by dedicated volunteers. Listen on 101.3FM around Galway, and everywhere else on flirtfm.ie/listen, or TuneIn on your device.

The station is looking for guests to take-over a breakfast show too (open to students, staff, alumni, and the Galway Community at large). If you ever wanted to try out radio - now's your chance. All the information is on the flirtfm.ie homepage here. In wonderful news, Flirt FM show 'Chat's Entertainment', hosted by Lisa Hamilton just won the YAP Student Comedy & Entertainment Podcast of the year, and it's fingers crossed for all of the students that have entered multiple radio categories in the SMEDIAs too!

The station will keep broadcasting remotely all summer, to keep you company, wherever you might be. For all the latest updates, follow FlirtFM on Instagram & Twitter and stay in touch.

Work Placement Support

The Work Based Learning team in the Career Development Centre has continued to support and engage with 1200 students who are in various phases of the placement process and there are currently almost 340 students still on placement, many working remotely. Over 300 students are due to start placements managed by the Career Development Centre in the next few months with 550+ students scheduled to go on placement in 20/21.

All new placements are scheduled to go ahead as planned and Placement Officers will notify students if there are any changes to their placement. The Work Based Learning team are doing their very best to secure placements for students who are still unplaced however, given the current situation placements are not guaranteed. 700+ reach outs have been made to employers over the past 3 months with many virtual interviews going ahead and alternative start dates being negotiated with employers if necessary. In the event that a placement is completely cancelled by the host organisation, the Work Based Learning team are working with NUI Galway Colleges and Schools to identify alternatives to placement.

Access Centre Student Support

Students on Access programmes and mature students are reminded that support from the relevant teams in the Access Centre is available throughout the summer months, so feel free to email access@nuigalway.ie and if you are a mature student trish.bourke@nuigalway.ie .

Disability Support

Support from the Disability Support Service team, in the Access Centre, continues to be available to any student with a disability, ongoing physical or mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty. If you are  already registered with the service are reminded that our support continues over the summer months, so feel free to email your Disability Advisor as needed.

Students who wish to register for disability support are invited to complete our online registration form. Those with a disability support related query can email disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie and one of the team will be in touch.

Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally improves the accessibility of learning materials on Blackboard by allowing users to download documents in multiple formats. Blackboard Ally was launched at NUI Galway in March 2020 and is available on a trial basis until summer 2021, as part of an Inclusive Learning project at NUI Galway.

The project team wants to hear about your experience with alternative formats via Blackboard Ally. This will help us to determine if Ally should be part of the University’s ongoing offering to all NUI Galway students and staff in future.  Please take a few minutes to complete this short student survey, even if you haven’t used Ally yet. The survey will remain open until 11.30 pm on Sunday May 31st.

Would you like to learn new skills and be rewarded for them while supporting first year students? Consider becoming an ATS MENTOR! 

The ATS Mentoring Programme is an Access Centre initiative aimed at helping first-year students with a smooth transition into college life. This programme is different to other mentoring programmes as it is tailored to the needs of all first-year students with emphasis on college route entry, course being taken and other factors relevant in providing the best Mentor-Mentee relationship. If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and experiences you have gained with others in academic year 20/21, then email: joseph.nyirenda@nuigalway.ie, or call Joseph on (086) 852 8550 to find out more about the training involved and the benefits you will gain.

I wish you well for the summer ahead and for those of you returning in September I look forward to welcoming you back. It will be a different experience for all of us but we are determined to ensure that your experience will be a positive one. For those of you who are leaving NUI Galway, every good wish as you take the next steps in your journey. Finally, these have been challenging weeks for everyone no matter what our circumstances have been and I’ve been heartened by the resilience and fortitude you our students have demonstrated. Look after yourself, be kind to yourself and those around you and take care.

Take care,

Michelle

Professor Michelle Millar

Dean of Students, NUI Galway

National report: Irish Universities Help Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ireland's universities are playing a vital role in our country's response to the COVID-19 emergency. Through targeted research, volunteering and redeployment, and the sharing of expertise, data and facilities, our universities are delivering life-changing impacts at home and abroad. The Irish Universities Association has published a report highlighting the wide range of positive impacts our universities are having.

Guidance for staff and students if notified of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19

1. If you have received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 from the HSE:

  • Please follow the advice given to you by the HSE.

2. If a staff member receives notification from a Student in Ireland, alerting them to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19:

  • Please forward the notification to COVID-19@nuigalway.ie so that our Student Services can reach out to the student and offer pastoral care support.

3. If a staff member receives notification from an International Student, who has returned to their country of origin, that they have received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19:

  • Obtain date of positive test and contact details of the student.
  • Inform Lorraine Harte (International Office) – Lorraine.M.Harte@nuigalway.ie – who will notify the HSE. 

4. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms:

5. If you have been in close contact* in the last 14 days with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, but don’t have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Restrict your movements for 14 days since date of last exposure with a case. Follow HSE guidelines on restricting your movements.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms follow Step 4 above.
  • *Close contact means you have been within 2 metres of a diagnosed person for more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact

Important advice for students living away from home 

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to escalate, we have been asked by public health officials to reiterate the advice below:

NUI Galway students from Ireland living away from home (on campus or elsewhere in Galway)

You are advised to disperse immediately and to go home. This is in the interest of yourselves, your friends and your family.

Should you need to self-isolate in the coming days and weeks, your homeplace is the best place for you to do so in a supportive environment.

In cases where you cannot move home due to vulnerable people in high-risk categories living at home, we encourage you to seek out other locations where you can be supported by family (e.g. siblings, aunts, uncles), neighbours or close friends.

If you have any health concerns or become unwell/require medical care, then phone your home GP or HSELive (1850 24 1850).

Teaching and assessment will be online/remote for the rest of the semester.

NUI Galway students from overseas still located in Ireland

We have consistently recommended to international students that they give significant consideration to returning home. We understand that this may no longer be possible.

For overseas students who are not or cannot travel home at present, please:

  • If you haven’t already done so via the online survey, make yourself known to the International Office, by emailing: international@nuigalway.ie 

Should you have any health concerns or have any urgent/emergency medical issues:

  • Phone advice is available during daytime hours of 9am-1pm and 2-5pm, please contact either: 091-494337 or 083-3250034. If you are unable to get through on either phone line, please email healthunit@nuigalway.ie to arrange a call back.
  • If outside those hours you have any concerns, but are well and don't have any symptoms, then phone HSELive (1850 24 1850).
  • If outside those hours you are unwell/have symptoms, then please see the below emergency out-of-hours contacts

Emergency Out-of-Hours Service

(Please note that these are NOT advice lines, and are for urgent/emergency medical care, and also, that there is a charge for these out-of-hours services):

  • Monday-Thursday (after 5pm) – contact emergency number: 087-2623997
  • Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays (Daytime 8am-6pm) – Citydoc, Bon Secour Hospital: 091-758008
  • Friday, Saturday & Sunday (Evening 6pm-8am) Galway City GP Rota: 087-7744430

Video Message from Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh to all staff and students, Thursday 19 March