Archive for March 9, 2020

Coronavirus Contingency

Posted in Education, Maynooth with tags , , , , on March 9, 2020 by telescoper

Today we heard that the annual St Patrick’s Day Parades due to take place around Ireland next week on 17th March have been cancelled. Although it seems the Government was reluctant to take this decision, it seems to me an entirely sensible precaution.

I also noticed an article this weekend that academic staff at a St Mary Immaculate College in Limerick have been asked to draw up “…contingency plans for delivering module content in the event of there being on-campus restrictions due to the coronavirus.”

I’d be very surprised if there is an educational institute that has not asked staff to undertake contingency planning of this sort. It would indeed be irresponsible to fail to plan for such an eventuality. The fact that such processes are going on is no reason at all for students or staff to feel anxious.

All Heads of Department here at Maynooth (including myself) have been briefed about the University’s contingency planning and have in turn briefed their staff. In general this planning, which is led by the official advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), seems sensible and proportionate. It also seems very similar to what is going on in Limerick.

For the time being here in Maynooth teaching carries on as normal, but if the situation deteriorates and the advice from HSE changes then contingency arrangements will be adopted. That may include restricting student access to campus and delivering some teaching online instead of in person. That won’t be ideal but it could be managed and we’ll do it circumstances require it.

We have a Study Week break for the week including St Patrick’s Day so after this Friday students won’t be on campus in large numbers anyway. That gives us a bit of time to assess developments.

In the meantime I’ll just share the official poster again.