Universities in Ireland are putting a plan together to keep their students and staff safe. Source: Paul Faith/AFP

Are you an incoming student to Ireland? Universities in Ireland have launched a “Back To Campus” initiative for incoming international students in the country. It provides COVID-19 guidelines for incoming students to ensure their safety for the 2021-22 academic year. 

Back To Campus provides a variety of information to international students about vaccines, COVID-19 testing, among other information. International students can find guidelines to follow before travelling to their respective universities in Ireland. This includes information about testing, vaccination, and quarantine requirements for entering the country. 

There is a “Greet & Transfer” service at Dublin Airport, which helps coordinate international students’ onward transport from the airport. The service is free, but international students must complete their Greet and Transfer Booking Form before travelling. 

“You will have received this form from your higher education Institution. If you have not received this, you should contact your HEI directly,” notes Education In Ireland. 

universities in ireland

International students can find guidelines to follow before stepping foot in universities in Ireland. Source: Sean Rayford/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Helping international students return safely to universities in Ireland

Earlier this month, Ireland Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said on newstalk that students could expect different scenarios in different settings when attending universities in Ireland. When it comes to lectures, universities in Ireland have to apply public health measures that are appropriate to their setting. 

For instance, at the University College Dublin (UCD), students have the option of attending their lectures online if the size is more than 250 students, he said. “When it comes to things like societies, clubs, bars and canteens, they can all operate on the same basis as they can in broader society,” he said. 

Face masks will also be provided on campus to help students and staff maintain hygiene standards, and they are also working on establishing pop up vaccine centres and PCR testing. “We’ve got nine institutions doing rapid testing — we will be doubling the number of institutions doing rapid testing. They are also working with HSE (Ireland’s Health Services) to establish pop up vaccine centres,” said Harris.

“When you bring anybody back to any environment, there could always be outbreaks. We’ve seen it in workplaces, we’ve seen it in schools — we’re working with the HSE to make sure there’s PCR testing in very close proximity to all our institutions.”

Students can also expect to wear a mask in indoor settings. “Masks will be mandatory in the settings that they are currently mandatory,” he said. 

Ireland is expected to relax restrictions from October 22. From October onwards, the government notes that final restrictions will be lifted, including:

  • requirements for physical distancing
  • requirements for mask-wearing outdoors and in private indoor settings
  • limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities
  • restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies
  • limits on numbers that can meet in private homes/gardens
  • certification of vaccination, immunity or testing as a prerequisite for access to, or engagement in, any activities or events (with the exception of international travel)
  • restrictions on high-risk activities (nightclubs for example)

Measures that will remain in place include self-isolation when an individual has symptoms and mask-wearing in healthcare settings, indoor retail and on public transport.