Covid19

COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

    This webpage was last updated on Friday, 25 September 2020. 

    This webpage contains relevant up to date information issued by Athlone Institute of Technology to students and staff in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

    For more information on our response to COVID-19, please visit our Campus Updates hub. 

    Click here for a list of frequently asked questions

    Click here for Student COVID-19 Guides for new and returning students. 

    Click here for our Staff COVID-19 Guides which set out policies and procedures for returning to campus. 

    For all queries and concerns, please email: covidsupport@ait.ie 

    • Update to students from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 25th September 2020

      Dear students,

      This afternoon, due to a national rise in COVID-19 cases, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has instructed all higher education institutes to move classes online for the next two-three weeks.

      As per the minister’s instruction, effective immediately, all of our lectures and tutorials will now be delivered remotely via the virtual classroom. Students are only to come on campus for practical classes and laboratories. This will significantly reduce movement on campus and ensure that we are playing our part in this concerted national effort to quell rising cases.

      To our incoming first-year students, your journey to third level has not been smooth. The first seven weeks are often the most challenging for students making the transition to third level. This is further complicated by the times that we find ourselves in. With that said, I want to reassure you that the changes announced today by Minister Harris will protect your health and wellbeing and ensure that you will still receive an interactive, engaging academic experience via our virtual learning platforms.

      As you will have seen from your online inductions earlier this week, we are committed to ensuring your first-year experience is a positive one. Your lecturers will use Moodle (a virtual learning environment) and Zoom Education for technology-enhanced lectures and collaboration. You will still experience the incredible lecturer-learner and peer interactivity for which we are known.

      To our returning students, this is a sudden change to our delivery approach; however, I know that you have adapted quickly to the blended delivery format and have faith that you will do so again. Our remote learning platforms will enable real-time engagement with lecturers, interaction with peers and will serve to replicate the live classroom environment virtually during this period.

      We need to move now to enhance our public health protection and control measures on campus in order to assist with the concerted national effort over the next two-three weeks. During this period, our institute will remain open, however the implications for our student population are as follows:

      1.       AIT will reduce student movement on campus over the next two-week period in line with the Government advice.

      2.       All student timetables will remain as published; however, where a lecture/tutorial is noted on your timetable, this class will now be delivered remotely in real time in your         allocated timetable slot.

      3.       These lectures/tutorials will be accessed via the virtual classroom (Moodle). The lecturer will post the class link to Moodle in advance of your class, as per your timetable.

      4.       All laboratories and practicals will still take place on campus whilst adhering to public health guidelines and COVID-19 control measures on campus.

      5.       Your timetable may be altered as the situation evolves, so please check your timetable regularly over the next week.

      6.       Our library will remain open for students with pre booking required. All electronic resources will remain accessible online.

      To reiterate, students are only to come on campus to attend practicals and laboratories.

      You, the student, are at the core of AIT and despite these challenges, we remain committed to delivering a robust student experience this semester. We will take every measure necessary to ensure that our campus community continues to thrive and will do everything possible to ensure our student population is fully protected.

      Our institute will remain open and our staff are here to support you, albeit virtually; I would encourage you to reach out to us. Our academic and student supports are critical to supporting you in reaching your full potential, and we will continue to provide access to all support services, such as tutors, academic writing assistance, learning supports, library, counselling and medical services, during this time.

      Finally, I issued an email to all students on Wednesday of this week, imploring that you remain mindful of your individual and collective actions, and today, I will reiterate that message. Actions on a small scale have the greatest impact. So, I am asking you to make correct choices, both as students of AIT and as individuals out in the wider community. Together, we can make a difference and continue to play our part in protecting our communities.

       

      Yours sincerely,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to all staff from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 25th September 2020

      Dear colleagues,   

      This afternoon, due to a national rise in COVID-19 cases, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has instructed all higher education institutes to move classes online for the next two-three weeks.

      As per the Minister’s instruction, we must now make immediate changes to our academic delivery in order to reduce student movement on campus. Effective immediately, all lectures and tutorials are to be delivered remotely. Practicals and laboratories will still take place on campus.

      Notwithstanding all of the trojan work and agreement that has taken place over the past few weeks in preparation for reopening, the instruction issued by Minister Harris this evening is something that we need to enact immediately in the interest of national public health.

      We must do everything possible over the next few weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to give students the best chance of resuming onsite activity, so in line with the Minister’s announcement this afternoon, the following are the implications for our academic delivery:

      1.       On-campus provision will be minimised with priority given to teaching that can only take place on campus.

      2.       All lectures and tutorials are to move online with immediate effect.

      3.       Laboratories and practicals will continue to be delivered on campus, in line with the Minister’s request.

      4.       In order to ensure the continued quality of our academic provision, all lectures and tutorials will be delivered synchronously, as per the timetable.

      5.       Students will access all synchronous delivery via the virtual classroom (Moodle and Zoom education). We are asking you to post links for the online classes to Moodle in advance of the allocated timetable slot.

      The Deans and Heads of Department will communicate with you directly this evening and over the coming days with further detail as to how these revised guidelines will impact on provision.

      The business continuity of our institute does not change in light of today’s announcement and our institute will remain open. Our requirement, as set out this evening by Minister Harris, is to reduce student movement on campus and nationally. This is the primary intent over the next two-three weeks. If you have any queries in this regard, please contact your relevant Dean, Head of Department or Unit/Line Manager.

      Colleagues, this will be a challenging time for our students, especially our incoming first-year group. The next few weeks are crucial in ensuring that our students adjust to this new learning approach. I appreciate that significant work has taken place to get us to this point, and I am aware that I am asking you to adapt once again to challenging circumstances.

      I would ask that you continue to put the student, who is at the heart of our institute, first in ensuring they have an interactive academic learning experience during this period and, indeed, in supporting them and each other in every way possible.

      Yours sincerely,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to students from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 23rd September 2020

      Good morning students,

      I hope that you have settled back into college life since we reopened on the 14th September and that you are reassured and comforted with the new changes to our campus and learning environment. Our priority has and always will be to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community of students and staff during this challenging time.

      A significant amount of work was undertaken in the past few months to ensure that our institute was ready for your return and to make sure that you feel safe and comfortable for the new academic term. We are delighted to see you back on campus attending class, and I do not doubt that you are happy to be back meeting your class friends and my academic colleagues once again.

      I would like to thank you all for making changes to your behaviour and the way that you live, learn and socialise since returning to campus. Practices such as following social distancing guidelines, increasing your hand and respiratory hygiene, and wearing face coverings on campus are all measures that require you to make changes to your behaviour and adapt to a new way of life.

      As a student body, you are doing this very well and in doing so, are protecting our entire community, both on campus and in the wider community. I would also like to commend the work that the Students' Union is doing to ensure that we are all working in partnership to inform and protect our community.

      However, we all have a critical role to play at the moment as numbers of COVID-19 cases are on the increase nationally, and I need to implore you to be cognisant that your actions, both on and off-campus, affect others, including friends in class, loved ones at home and vulnerable people in our community. 

      Based on the government advice this week and with the significant increase in the COVID-19 confirmed cases nationally, we must all make an extra effort to go further. The acting CMO has advised us to halve our social contacts this week and to make more of an effort to protect everyone. It is now time to play our part in refocusing our efforts.

      It is possible to still enjoy college life and all that it offers, including socialising safely, but we must adapt to COVID responsible behaviour both on and off-campus. Actions on a small scale have the greatest impact, and together, we can make a difference and play our part in protecting our community here in AIT and also your community at home.

      So, this communication is not only to welcome you back but to issue a note of caution to all AIT students, given the national rise in positive COVID-19 cases. Your behaviour during the week could affect your family and friends when you travel home at the weekend, including parents, elderly grandparents and those most vulnerable in your community at home.

      Please ensure that you make correct choices as a student of AIT but also correct choices as an individual. Together, we can make a difference and play our part in protecting our community and continue to move forward. 

      Yours sincerely, 

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to staff from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 11th September 2020

      Dear colleagues,  

      As we prepare to reopen the institute to second, third and fourth-year students on Monday, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work that has taken place over the past few months to get us to this point. 

      Each of you has shown tremendous courage in the face of considerable adversity. It has not been easy; I know that many of you were juggling work commitments while caring for relatives, while others had to learn to quickly adapt to new technological demands. Whatever the challenge, you rose to the occasion.  

      Earlier this week, we issued a Student COVID-19 Guide to provide students with guidance for the coming semester and explain how we intend to keep them safe on campus. We have also put together a Staff COVID-19 Guide to inform you, our staff, of our policies and procedures for the same, as well as crucial information on sick leave, what to do in the event of a suspected case of COVID-19 on campus, and so much more. I trust you will find the information in this guide useful and that it will act as a reference point as we navigate the weeks and months ahead.  

      As most of you will be aware by now, we have set up a dedicated support email (covidsupport@ait.ie) to answer any specific queries and concerns you may have. Please do not hesitate to reach out. We have also put together a list of useful resources, including an extensive list of FAQs, on the AIT website to support you on campus. For more information on this, visit our Campus Updates information hub.  

      Kind regards, 

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin 

    • Update to students from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 7th September 2020

      Dear students,

      By now, you will have received further clarification on the split between on-campus class delivery and interactive remote learning via the “virtual classroom” from your respective faculties and department heads. Those who have not will be communicated with directly over the coming days. I hope that this communication helps ease any apprehension you may feel about returning to study on campus.

      To best prepare you for the changes that you can expect, we have created a Student COVID-19 Guide to provide guidance as to our policies and procedures and how we plan to keep you safe on campus this coming semester. Inside the guide, you’ll also find lots of useful advice on topics like transport and how to get to college safely, accommodation, general health advice, student supports and so much more.

      As most of you will be aware, we have set up a dedicated support email (covidsupport@ait.ie) to ensure that your queries and concerns are heard. You’ll also find lots of resources to support you through this challenging time on the AIT website. From our new section on mental health supports to our Campus Updates information hub – where you’ll find an extensive list of FAQs, we are here to support you and ensure your transition back to college life on campus is as seamless as possible.

      I’d also like to remind you that we have provisions in place to protect students with extenuating individual or family circumstances that preclude them from attending class on campus this coming semester.

      The process for seeking an exemption from on-campus study is as follows:

      1. Notify your individual faculty administrator.

      2. On receipt of notice from you, you will be sent an Extenuating Circumstances Form to assess the feasibility of you completing your directed learning and assessments off campus.

      Please see below the email address for each faculty administrator: 

      Faculty of Business and Hospitality: business@ait.ie 

      Faculty of Engineering and Informatics: eng@ait.ie

      Faculty of Science and Health: sciencehealth@ait.ie

      Faculty of Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning: lifelonglearning@ait.ie

      With that said, I am looking forward to welcoming you, our returning students, back to campus on September 14th. We each have a role to play over the coming semester to keep our campus community safe, and we would ask you to be mindful of this personal and collective responsibility as you return to campus and during your daily interactions both on and off campus.

      Yours sincerely,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin,

      President, Athlone Institute of Technology

    • Update to students from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 31st August 2020

      Dear students,

      As we prepare to exit the national lockdown and adjust to the “new normal”, I want to check in with you, our student body, to alleviate any fears or concerns that you may have about the coming academic semester.

      I am acutely aware that this has been an extremely anxious, uncertain time for you all, and that many of you are worried about the prospect of returning to study on campus. I want to reassure you that we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure a return to campus is both safe and feasible.

      COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives, and I cannot stress enough the need for us all to act with kindness and compassion for ourselves, our peers, our lecturers, our neighbours and, of course, wider society. Everyone has a role to play in beating back this virus.

      The wellbeing of our campus community is dependent on us all abiding by Government advice and affording each other due care, respect and consideration. It is imperative that we act in a safe, responsible manner both on and off campus to protect the vulnerable among us. I would like to refer you to our Students’ Union’s COVID-19 CARE principles:

      C – Collective responsibility

      -       Wear your mask for others and for yourself. 

      -       Avoid house parties and large gatherings of people.

      -       Be socially conscious for the protection of our vulnerable students and members of our community.

      A – Actions

      -       Download the COVID tracker app and check in daily.

      -       Follow HSE guidelines.

      -       Maintain good hand and hygiene etiquette.

      -       Look after your mental and physical health, and reach out to friends.

      R – Readiness

      -       Help others (i.e. a friend who is self-isolating and needs to get their shopping).

      -       A fellow student who you see struggling.

      -       Be ready to adapt to changing guidelines.

      E – Eliminate the risks

      -       Eliminate the risks by following HSE guidelines.

      -       Limit your transport and travel to essential business only.

      -       Everyone together to keep our community safe.

      As part of our mission to educate our campus community about COVID-19, all students will receive a Student COVID-19 Guide. They will also be required to complete an online training module detailing the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and highlighting what acting responsibly as a citizen and as a student of AIT looks like. The module will also cover the health and safety procedures for returning to campus.

      Following new guidance from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, we are working hard to finalise student timetables; you will receive further communication on this shortly.

      Finally, the student voice is extremely important to us. We have set up a dedicated support email (covidsupport@ait.ie) to respond to any queries, concerns or suggestions you may have. I would also encourage you to familiarise yourself with the new Campus Updates hub, where you will find a list of FAQs, general guidance and live COVID-19 updates.

      I am very much looking forward to seeing you all back on campus in September.

      Yours sincerely,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to staff from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 27th August 2020

      Dear colleagues,

      I hope I find you safe and well, and that you are enjoying the last of the summer break. I’m emailing today to update you on our plans to reopen the campus for the coming academic year.

      A significant body of work has been undertaken by management and staff right across the institute to ensure that a return to campus is feasible. I would like to sincerely thank each of you for your continued cooperation, hard work and dedication in these challenging times.

      Safety and Hygiene Measures

      Several safety measure have been introduced to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our campus community, among them enhanced cleaning rotas, hand hygiene stations, one-way corridor systems, and social distancing floor markers. Rest assured, all campus amenities, including our campus restaurant and coffee dock, will be operating in accordance with government guidelines.

      At the end of last semester, we notified you of our intention to educate students while physically present on campus via face-to-face delivery insofar as is possible. We are now finalising the re-opening of the campus based on the most recent guidelines issued to third level institutions.

      Modes of Educational Delivery

      As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation. At present, we are still planning for majority on-campus delivery; however, where appropriate social distancing can’t be accommodated (e.g. in the case of larger class groups), real-time remote learning via the virtual classroom will be used. Deans and Heads of Department are currently finalising modes of delivery for modules for the academic year 2020/21 (on-campus and real-time remote learning) and will be in touch regarding this shortly.

      On-campus education is an integral part of the student experience – something which is recognised right across the Irish and, indeed, international higher education sector; its benefits cannot be overstated. Where remote learning is required, students will still benefit from the incredible learner-lecturer and peer interactivity for which AIT is known. Our investment in Zoom technology aims to enable the maximised replication of the physical classroom environment for remote learning if on-campus delivery cannot take place.

      Health and Wellbeing

      Your health and wellbeing, and that of our student body, remains our highest priority. I want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to mitigate risk to our campus community and to ensure students receive a well-rounded third level experience. The needs of students and staff members who are considered high risk or very high risk are being considered on an individual basis to ensure a safe working environment for all and the continuation of study.

      As you are aware, we are offering a free flu and pneumonia vaccine to all staff members this year in an effort to further protect our campus community, and we would encourage you all to avail of this initiative. In addition, HR will provide all staff with access to the Employee Assistance Service, which will be rolled out in early September. This confidential service will support you in your health and wellbeing through initiatives such as a mental health wellbeing support programme, financial and legal information, and life and parenting coaching.

      The year ahead will be challenging. It has become abundantly clear that there are no quick fixes; we will have to learn to live side-by-side with this virus for the short and medium term. However, we have seen what can be achieved with teamwork and collaboration over the last few months, and I know that we will carry that spirit with us into the new academic year.

      I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones over the past few months. I know I speak for us all when I say that our hearts are heavy for your loss, and we will do whatever we can to support you through this difficult time. It is my intention to hold a memorial mass to pay our respects as soon as it is safe to do so.

      Looking Ahead to the Future 

      Despite the challenges imposed on us by COVID-19, we have a lot to look forward to this year. In addition to celebrating our 50th anniversary, we also hope that this will be the year that we realise our strategic ambition of achieving technological university designation with our consortium partners, LIT. This will be a momentous milestone for our institute, our community of students and staff, and the wider region we serve. It will enable us to provide new opportunities and access pathways to learners with the goal of sustaining prosperity and industrial growth across the Midlands.

      All-Staff Town Hall Briefing

      An all-staff town hall briefing will take place virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, 1st September at 10.00am (Please see below details to access the briefing). I will update you on all recent developments and answer any outstanding questions that you may have. We have also set up a dedicated covidsupport@ait.ie email to respond to any queries or concerns. I would also encourage you to familiarise yourself with our new Campus Updates hub. Here you will find a list of FAQs, general guidance and updates on COVID-19.

      Returning to Campus

      Finally, please note that based on government guidelines we will be facilitating remote working until the 13th September where possible. To this effect, your respective Dean, HoD or Line Manager will be in contact with you to determine whether you should continue to work remotely or whether you are required to return to campus.

      I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the virtual town hall on Tuesday, 1st September. We will encourage and support each other, and make it through this challenging time.

      Yours sincerely,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to students from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 18th August

      Dear students, 

      I hope that you are all keeping safe and well and I sincerely hope that you enjoyed the summer break as it draws to a close. I wanted to email you this morning to keep you updated on the Institutes plan to reopen the campus to you, our students and recommence your studies for the new academic year. 

      At the end of last semester, we notified you of “Our Commitment to You” our students and our aim to have you physically on campus for face to face delivery as much as possible and in line with public health guidelines. 

      We are now finalising the re-opening of the campus based on the recently published public health guidelines and measures issued by the Government that our Institute must follow.  As you are aware, such guidelines are evolving in line with the public health advice that is relevant based on the country’s management of the pandemic over the phased re-opening of the country.  

      We are planning that classes will be delivered on campus that can adhere to the social distance rules outlined in the public health guidelines. We recognise that your campus experience is a fundamental and essential component of your third level education. Therefore, it is only in instances where there is a large class group completing a module that cannot adhere to the social distance rule, that a mixture of both on campus and remote learning will occur in such instances. 

      Thankfully, in the main, we have small class sizes in our institute, so the plan remains to have students in class on campus when social distance rules can be maintained for student safety. 

      You will also be aware that your published timetable is currently available and those are the hours and days that you will be completing your learning on your programme in the coming semester. However, the delivery method for every module on your programme stage will be confirmed for each of your classes on your timetable in the coming weeks when the application of the just published public health guidelines to enable you to socially distance whilst on campus are applied. You will then receive a more detailed timetable from your Faculty and Department that will indicate the detail of the on-campus delivery of your modules, or any remote delivery for a specific module when required to adhere to social distance rules.  

      Your health and wellbeing is of the upmost priority for us as an Institute, as is both the continuation and completion of your academic journey in AIT. I wish to reassure you that we are following all public health advice in ensuring your safe return onto our campus. 

      I am also acutely aware that there are concerns from vulnerable students within our campus community and would like to reassure you and indeed our whole community that we are presently dealing with these concerns on a one to one basis to ensure that you are not disadvantaged and to put in place measures to ensure the continuation of your studies. If you have individual or family health or personal circumstances that you are concerned about that could compromise your full return to campus, please reach out directly to your faculty, by way of notice to the Faculty Administrator initially, so that they can deal with your circumstances compassionately in order to protect the continuation of your academic studies this year. 

      The relevant email address for you to use, if needed, is at the end of this correspondence. On receipt of a notice from you, your Faculty and Department will contact you directly and require you to complete and submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form to assess the feasibility of you completing your directed learning and assessments off-campus for the modules on the stage of your programme. This is required to ensure that you can achieve the required learning outcomes associated with all your timetabled modules in the coming semester. 

      We know this is a very anxious time for students but rest assured we are quickly responding to the revised guidelines issued by the Department recently for the reopening of our campus to our community of students and staff. 

      You will receive a further update notice from me on Monday 31st August and weekly thereafter until you are back on campus on the 14th September, to ensure that you are communicated with clearly and consistently as we start a new academic year together.  We very much look forward to having you all back on campus to our community of learners. Our staff are working hard to ensure that you are fully supported when you return on campus and we look forward to starting a new academic year together in AIT. 

      Please Note: 

      The Faculty Officer email address that is relevant to you based on your programme include:  

      Faculty of Business and Hospitality Email: business@ait.ie

      Faculty of Engineering and Informatics Email: eng@ait.ie

      Faculty of Science and Health Email: sciencehealth@ait.ie

      Faculty of Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning Email: lifelonglearning@ait.ie

       

      Yours sincerely,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to all staff from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 19th June 2020

      Good afternoon everyone, 

      As you know, from June 3rd to June 17th, we asked our staff to give your views on the future shape and direction of the new technological university. I am very pleased that we received 650 completed survey responses from staff across the two institutions.  This is one of the largest surveys of staff in Irish HEIs that I am aware of in recent times, and the scale of response constitutes a very powerful statement on the part of the institutions staff. The body of opinion which will emerge from the data analysis will bring much strength to the development of the Technological University itself, and thereby benefit students, staff and our communities.  

      The findings of this research will be shared with all staff in due course and will be used in the development of the new university’s mission, vision, values and strategic direction. This was a crucial undertaking, which was embraced by staff and I would like to express my sincere thanks to all who took part.

      We are also currently running a student survey across the two institutes and there has been fantastic engagement right across the student body with 550+ responses to date. The Student’s Union have championed the survey and it is very encouraging to see the students voice and engagement in this process.  

      I would also like to once again, express my sincere gratitude to each one of you, right across the institute, who have worked tirelessly to ensure our academic and business continuity during challenging times. The hard work and level of collegiality that I have witnessed this past term is a true testament to the wonderful community spirit in AIT, both among students and staff. 

      To those of you who are finishing up for the term, I would like to wish you all a well-earned and enjoyable summer break. After the intense work pressure of the past term, I have no doubt that you will all recharge your batteries and come back refreshed in September. Be mindful however, that the coming academic year will not be without its own challenges, but by working together collectively in order to deliver an exceptional student experience, we will persevere and indeed triumph. 

      Best Wishes, 

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin 

    • Update to all students from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 16th June 2020

      Good afternoon students, 

      The world has changed considerably over the past few months since the start of the global pandemic and the physical closure of our campus on Friday, 13th March. However, it has been inspirational to see how you, our students, have adapted to our change of delivery in order to complete the semester. It has shown great flexibility and our institute, and its community adapted very well at a time of crisis. However, I also note that it has been an anxious time for students who are uncertain of the future. Our plans for the upcoming academic year, set out below, will alleviate those concerns and show the strength of our commitment in getting students back on campus.

      From 14th September, second, third- and fourth-year students will return to campus and recommence their studies in the institute. Incoming first year students will begin on 28th September in line with all Institutes of Technology. Taught postgraduate students will return to campus on the 5th October and other postgraduate students will be advised of their start date for their programme via their faculty. The quality of the student experience is of paramount importance and we aim to protect that experience as much as possible while delivering academic programmes in a way that is safe, inclusive, supportive, and effective. The plans, which have been under preparation with some time note that the health and wellbeing of students and staff in the Institute is of primary importance in both preparing and planning for the delivery of the 2020/21 academic year.

      As part of our reopening plans, we are committed to providing students with face-to-face learning interaction on-campus. We are known for our close-knit campus community and having approachable and supportive staff, so having our students on-campus will allow for this one to one interaction, which is essential.The priority for academic delivery from September 2020 will include face-to-face on campus learning for lectures with practical’s and laboratories also taking place on campus, as face-to-face interaction with lecturers and peers is an integral part of the student experience. As most of our class sizes are small, it will allow for this level of interaction.

      Where face-to-face on-campus lectures are not possible due to social distancing requirements, lectures in some instances will take place via interactive remote learning and the virtual classroom. Our learning platforms will enable real time engagement with lecturers, interaction with class groups and will replicate the live classroom environment.

      You, the student, are at the core of Athlone Institute of Technology, and we are committing to ensuring that we will deliver an exceptional academic and student experience for the new academic year, despite the challenges of COVID-19. We will take every measure necessary to ensure that our campus community thrives.

      We have created two resources to address your questions, the attached brochure which sets out our commitment to you and a series of FAQs where are available here .

      I would like to wish you all a lovely summer break, I hope that you stay safe and well and we really look forward to welcoming you back on campus in September. 

      Kind regards,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update to all staff from AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin - 16th June 2020

      Good afternoon colleagues,

      Today we are communicating with all students both potential incoming, current and returning, regarding the plans to reopen our institute for the new academic year in September, and I wanted to update you all in the first instance.

      Key Dates

      From 14th September, second, third- and fourth-year students will return to campus and recommence their studies in the institute. Incoming first year students will begin on 28th September in line with all Institutes of Technology. Taught postgraduate students will return to campus on the 5th October and other postgraduate students will be advised of their start date for their programme via their faculty.

      Face-to-face Learning 

      The quality of the student experience is of paramount importance and we aim to protect that experience as much as possible while delivering academic programmes in a way that is safe, inclusive, supportive, and effective. The plans, which have been under preparation with some time note that the health and wellbeing of students and staff in the Institute is of primary importance in both preparing and planning for the delivery of the 2020/21 academic year.

      As part of our reopening plans, we are committed to providing students with face to face learning interaction on-campus. We are known for our close-knit campus community and having approachable and supportive staff, so having our students on-campus will allow for this one to one interaction which is essential.

      Priority for Academic Delivery 

      The priority for academic delivery from September 2020 will include face-to-face on-campus learning for lectures with practical’s and laboratories also taking place on campus, as face to face interaction with lecturers and peers is an integral part of the student experience. As most of our class sizes are small, it will allow for this level of interaction. Where face-to-face on-campus lectures is not possible due to social distancing requirements, lectures in some instances will take place via interactive remote learning and the virtual classroom. AIT’s learning platforms will enable real time engagement with lectures, interaction with class groups and will replicate the live classroom environment.

      The student is at the core of Athlone Institute of Technology and we are committing to ensuring that we will deliver an exceptional academic and student experience to them for the new academic year, despite the challenges of COVID-19. We will take every measure necessary to ensure that our campus community thrives.

      Sectoral Update

      In addition, across the IoT sector today, we have issued a joint statement on behalf of the Presidents, who are collectively encouraging incoming students to start and existing students to continue their higher education journey in the 2020/21 academic year.  We are particularly mindful of new students entering higher education for the first time. This is a cohort that has had its anticipated transition pathway significantly disrupted and our determination is that these students will be supported and assisted through the coming months in order to establish a positive student experience, despite the turbulence they have experienced in recent months.

      We are circulating the attached brochure to potential incoming students and a similar version to our current and returning students to reassure and inform them of our approach to learning, student supports and the student experience they can expect for the new academic year. In addition, we have developed a series of FAQ's which are available here www.ait.ie/our-commitment-to-you. These will address and answer some concerns that incoming, returning, postgraduate, flexible learning and international students might have. In addition there are staff and campus FAQ's for your reference. 

      I would like to thank you all for your input into the process of developing this roadmap for the reopening of our campus. It has been a long process of scenario planning and has involved multiple stakeholders from across the institute, so thank you for being involved.

      Kind regards,

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

    • Update message to all students from the Examinations Office Thursday 9th April 2020 6.44pm

      Good Evening Students,

      This email is intended for students who have outstanding modules in 2019/2020 Semester 2.

      The Alternative Assignment Timetable for each faculty is available on our exams website: https://www.ait.ie/life-at-ait/registry/examinations

      Alternative assignments are replacing the end of term Summer 2020 examinations that you were due to complete on campus but which cannot now be conducted due to the COVID-19 emergency restrictions.

      Full details of the alternative assignments that you have to complete have been sent to your AIT student email account and/or published in the module area in Moodle. Please login into these accounts immediately to ensure that you can access the relevant information on your alternative assignment(s), including the details on the submission date.  It is vital that you continue to access both of these accounts regularly or you may miss important updates.

      Any queries that you may have in relation to the assignment(s) should be directed to your lecturer. If you are unable to contact your lecturer please email your faculty office.

      We wish you luck with your upcoming assignments and encourage you to engage with the relevant staff members if you have any issues or concerns.

    • Update message to all students from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 3rd April 2020 1.59pm

      Good afternoon students,  

      It has been three weeks today since our institute closed its doors to students and staff due to the national and global pandemic. The past three weeks have been very challenging for everyone right across the institute, from you our students who are anxious and concerned, to our staff who have been working hard in all departments, units and faculties to contingency plan and ensure continuity in your academic journey this semester.

      Following my last email update to you on Thursday 26th March, I wish to advise you that our academic council met this morning in order to approve and ratify alternative terminal assignments. The alternative terminal assignment will be replacing the planned end of term examination that you were due to sit during the Summer 2020 examination period.  You will be receiving an email from your Dean or Head of Department this afternoon with further information and next week you will receive further communication from your faculty with a complete and final schedule for alternative terminal assignments.

      You have all been very patient with us while we worked collectively in a whole of institute approach to ensure that you will not be delayed or disadvantaged during these challenging times, all whilst protecting the integrity of academic assessments. During your upcoming Easter break, I would suggest that you continue to engage with moodle and your course content in order to revise for the alternative terminal assignments, as you would normally do in the run up to examinations.  

      These are very unusual times, something I hope we will never see again in our lifetime, but please rest assured that we have and will continue to work hard to ensure that you are supported during this period in order to safeguard the continued academic progression and success of each one of you.   

      I would like to remind you, if you have any other questions that have not been answered at this point please get in touch by emailing askus@ait.ie and we will respond to you.

      I wish you all a lovely Easter break and I would also encourage you to enjoy some time with your family at home and take some time for self-care.  I hope that you all stay safe and well.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof.Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology 

    • Update message to all staff from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 3rd April 2020 12.28pm

      Good afternoon colleagues,

      It has been three weeks today since our institute closed its doors to students and staff due to the national and global pandemic. The past three weeks have been very challenging for everyone right across the institute, from our students who are anxious to our staff who have been working hard in all departments, units and faculties to contingency plan and put in place business continuity efforts.

      Although we are not on campus, the sense of community over the past three weeks in this collective process of ensuring business continuity has been very inspiring to see. Teams and individuals resorting to different modes to connect, teach and communicate. Everyone finding alternative and somewhat innovative ways to work, towards the common good of ensuring the continuation of teaching and services to our students, who are at the heart of our institute and at the heart of education.

      I understand the unique challenges of adjusting to remote working during this public health crisis, balancing family care and work tasks, managing from a distance whilst maintaining social connections and working in imperfect workspaces but making do. I appreciate that whilst there were many challenges over the past three weeks, each one of you has played a part in ensuring that no challenge was insurmountable.

      Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the wonderful work of everyone in the institute who has worked hard in finding a solution to alternative modes of assessment in place of examinations. This effort was a whole of institute approach and I would like to thank you all very much for the trojan effort that this has taken to get over the line.  

      These are very unusual times, something I hope we will never see again in our lifetime, but our sense of community is unwavering and the support that we are showing each other, and our students is resolute.

      Coretta Scott King once said, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members” and it has been great to see this compassion still happening right across our institute even as we are no longer physically there.

      I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a lovely Easter break. I hope that you enjoy some time with your families at home and that you all stay safe and well.

       

      Kind Regards

      Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology 

    • Update message to all students from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 26th March 2020 4.27pm

      Good afternoon students, 

      I hope that you are all keeping safe and well during these unprecedented times. As you know the government announced on Tuesday 24th an extension to the closure of all schools, universities and colleges up until April 19th. 

      I am aware that a lot of you have been concerned about end of semester examinations and you have been very patient with us while we worked collectively to find the best solution in order to ensure that you will not be delayed or disadvantaged during these challenging times.

      To that affect, a decision was reached this morning by our academic council special committee, who have decided that no physical examinations will take place and an alternative mode of assessment will be used to replace final examinations this semester. I wish to also confirm that the alternative assessment will take place over the same period, as outlined in the academic calendar.

      The examinations office will be in touch with each of you by the end of next week to confirm all the details and they will publish the timetable for the alternative mode of assessment.

      Since the institute closed on the 12th March your modules have continued to be delivered via Moodle with lecture notes available to you from your lecturers. I would advise you to continue checking Moodle for updates and to reach out and communicate with your lectures through emails, phone or video calls to continue your academic studies in preparation for alternative assessment.   

      If you have any academic questions or concerns please reach out to your lecturers, head of department or dean and if you have any other questions that have not been answered at this point please get in touch by emailing askus@ait.ie and we will respond to you.

      Our priority from the start of this public health crisis has always been your safety and wellbeing and if you need to reach out with any questions you have please do so. Please rest assured that we have and will continue to work hard to ensure that you our students are supported during this time and to safeguard the best outcome for you all.


      I hope you all stay safe and well. 

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology 

    • Update from the Department of Education & Skills Tuesday 24th March 5.00 p.m.
      Covid-19 Statement from the Department of Education and Skills

      All schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings will remain closed to students until 19 April 2020.

      The decision has been taken following advice from the NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

      All young people and children are urged to practice social distancing, and to minimise physical contact to keep themselves and others healthy and to limit the spread of infection. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space of two metres between each other. Parents and guardians are urged to support young people and children to follow those simple guidelines.

      Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “This is an extremely difficult time for everyone, not least students and their parents.

      “The decision to keep schools closed until after the Easter break is based on public health advice. It is a hugely important aspect of our continued effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.

      “My message to students facing exams is that they should keep focused, keep working and try, as much as possible, to prepare as normal for the state exams. We are doing everything in our power to make sure those exams happen.

      “Teachers and students have answered the call to remote learning with exceptional flexibility and adaptability. You are all a credit to the education system.

       

      “I am also deeply conscious of significant work being done to ensure continuity of learning across our higher and further education institutions. The impact of emergency measures has not stopped education, it has inspired innovation and we are indebted to all those continuing to provide education in these trying times.”

    • Update Tuesday 24th March 2020 6.00 p.m.

      The AIT campus will remain closed following the governments announcement this evening, to all students for all activities until April 19th. This conforms with national measures previously announced and the revised measures announced today, ( March 24th) by the government and An Taoiseach. The institute will provide further updates and contingency plans on this webpage, through social media channels and directly to students and staff via college emails in the coming days.

    • Update message to all staff from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 24th March 3.39pm

      Good afternoon colleagues,

      The past twelve days has been quite unprecedented both for our institute and our nation. Since our institute closed on Thursday 12th March a lot has changed across the world and indeed in each of your lives.

      I hope that you are all keeping well during these challenging times and I appreciate that some of you have a lot to juggle at the moment with family and caring commitments, helping out in the communities within which you live, working remotely across departments, faculties and units, and of course most importantly at this time, keeping yourself safe and healthy.

      Each one of you working remotely from home now has enabled the continuation of our learning experience for our students, whom are also finding this time difficult as we were nearing the end of semester 2 and transitioning towards preparing for exams. It has also enabled the continuation of our services right across the institute to ensure that key services and projects are ongoing during this period of disruption. So, to each one of you, you work is enabling this continuation of service and I thank you sincerely.

      As you all know, on Sunday 15th March we issued a call for volunteers to help the HSE in bolstering their efforts in a range of areas, and we are very proud of the response from AIT’s staff, with over 160 people putting their hands up to volunteer. This is a wonderful testament to the community spirit that exists in AIT and the willingness for people to be involved and help where possible. It is this unique community spirit that our students speak so highly of, so to all the volunteers thank you. Some of you have started work in contact tracing already and others are helping in other ways.

      For those of you that have volunteered, can I ask that you contact your line manager within the next two days, as we need to ensure that we are able to have a continuation of our service delivery right across the institute and need to balance this with the desire to volunteer and help out the HSE. So, drop your line manager an email or a phone call please so that we can ensure that there are no vital gaps across areas in the institute.

      Our support to the HSE applies in other areas such as Professor Neil Rowan and his team of doctorate students who are presently helping the HSE with regional diagnostics and decontamination of frontline equipment. In addition, we have offered our campus facilities to the HSE, should they be needed and this week a regional testing centre is being set up on the main campus staff car park to facilitate a drive through testing service. We are proud to be supporting the HSE and front-line staff in the fight against COVID-19 in all these ways. The Irish government have been proactive from the start and regional test centers like this one in AIT allow for quick community and regional testing which is key to fighting against this fast-moving public health issue.  

      I would also like to acknowledge that as most of you are working remotely, you can feel disconnected from the institute, however we will update you weekly via your email in order to keep in touch, but please also note that the institute is operating as normal, albeit remotely.

      Many of my colleagues in HR, library, learning and teaching unit and the counselling team have been in touch recently to keep all staff updated with regards to services and news updates, so this is welcomed and hopefully in addition to my weekly update, it will allow you to feel connected with the institute from home.

      Can I also recommend that you utilise technology to stay in touch and work efficiently from home. Our IT department have set up many units and departments on Microsoft Teams which is a great piece of technology to stay connected and work transparently as a team on projects. In addition, our learning and teaching unit sent out an update recently about a video conferencing tool Zoom, which again is another way to still have regular meetings and connections with students and colleagues although virtually.

      Finally, can I reiterate that our channels of communication are still open and operating as normal and if you have a question or a concern just reach out.

      I hope that all of you stay well, safe and connected over the coming weeks.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology

    • Update Tuesday 24th March 2020 12.00 p.m.

      It is important that all students check their student email and moodle account for updates on your course and to stay connected to your lecturers. IT access remains in place for all students and it is important to stay connected.

    • Update Monday 23rd March 2020 5.00 p.m.

      Our counselling service is continuing to provide much needed support to students via telephone and video at this challenging time. To request an appointment, please email; counsellor@ait.ie #staysafe #bewell

    • Update 19th March 2020 09.00am

      Student Health Centre

      Normal service at the student health centre is suspended due to Institute closure. Students with health concerns are advised to phone their own GP.

      International students & students who do not have a GP who are acutely unwell can contact the Institute Doctors as follows:

      Monday 09.00 - 17.00 Phone - 09064 72410
      Tuesday – Friday 09.00 – 17.00 Phone - 09064 72075

      If you have a PPS number or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) number, please have it ready before you telephone. International students who do not have these numbers, can still telephone the GP stated at numbers above during normal office hours. Please note private fees may apply in this circumstance.

      Outside of these hours from 6pm – 8am & at weekends you can contact the Emergency Doctor by calling 1850 302 702 (Please note the out of hours service cannot refer for Covid19 testing)

      The main symptoms of Coronavirus are:
      · A cough
      · Shortness of breath
      · Breathing difficulties
      · Fever ( high temperature 38 degrees Celsius or above) or chills
      · Other symptoms are fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains

      If you develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate and phone your GP. Do NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

      For more information visit www.hse.ie

    • Update from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin & all HEI's across Ireland 16th March 2020 4.00pm

      Message to Students from Presidents of Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology

      Dear student, 

      We have taken the unusual decision to write to you collectively in these extraordinary times. Your health and safety and that of our wider community is our primary concern, which is why we have all instigated revised at-distance teaching and assessment methods for the coming weeks.

      We appreciate that you are all aware of the health implications of COVID-19 and at this stage are taking action to limit its spread yourselves.  To restate the advice from the HSE, please follow the guidelines around social distancing, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres between yourself and other people.  We also particularly ask that you stay away from crowded places in the weeks ahead and limit your own social interactions. 

      This does not mean that you should avoid the company of others completely. In fact, it is important for your mental wellbeing to keep in contact with friends and family; just please maintain social distancing by completely foregoing meeting in groups, especially social gatherings or party environments.  

      You should also make a point of looking out for each other by checking in with other students who might be lonely or isolated by phoning them, or Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or whatever system you use.  You could also offer your services to volunteer organisations to collect shopping or prescriptions for elderly neighbours or walk their dogs.

      Small social gatherings with enough space between participants to follow the HSE social distancing guidelines are still possible. But any events or activities that involve crowds should be avoided until further notice. 

      We ask you to do this for three reasons. Firstly, to protect yourselves from infection. Secondly, to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect at risk people, some of whom may die if they contract the virus.  And thirdly, to reduce pressure on our healthcare system. There are close to a quarter of a million students in Irish Higher Education and we are in a strong position to reduce the spread of the virus by acting collectively.

      It is important to remember that if you do contract the virus, your health could be severely affected, and you pose a great danger to the older members of society and those with weak immune systems. You could even be unwittingly responsible for putting others at increased risk.

      Scientific and public health advice tells us that it will take some time before COVID-19 can be contained. You can play your part as an individual by keeping yourself healthy so that the healthcare system can continue to function. 

      As a student, you are in a unique position. You are being taught online in many cases and do not have to come into work as many others have to do. All these precautions mean little if you do not stay away from crowds. 

      Reputable information that is constantly updated is available from www.hse.ie or from the HSE (@HSELive) and Department of Health (@roinnslainte) Twitter feeds. 

      Be kind to each other and take care of yourselves and each other.  Let’s give each other the space to find our way through these challenging times and the time to find humanity and meaning here too.  

      Yours sincerely,

      Amanda McCloat (Acting President, St. Angela’s College)

      Andrew Deeks (President, UCD)

      Annie Doona (President, IADT)

      Barry O’Connor (President, CIT)

      Brendan McCormack (President, IT Sligo)

      Brendan O’Donnell (President, IT Tralee)

      Brian MacCraith (President, DCU)

      Cathal Kelly (Chief Executive, RCSI)

      Ciarán Ó Catháin (President, AIT)

      Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, (President, NUI Galway)

      David FitzPatrick (President, TU Dublin)

      Des Fitzgerald (President, University of Limerick)

      Michael Hannon (Acting President, GMIT)

      Michael Mulvey (President, DkIT)

      Patricia O Sullivan (Executive Director, Higher Education Colleges Association)

      Patricia Mulcahy (President, IT Carlow)

      Patrick O’Shea (President, UCC)

      Patrick Prendergast (Provost, Trinity College Dublin)

      Paul Hannigan (President, LYIT)

      Philip Nolan (President, Maynooth University)

      Vincent Cunnane (President, LIT)

      Willie Donnelly (President, WIT)

      With the support of: Lorna Fitzpatrick, President, Union of Students in Ireland

    • Update message to International students from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 15th March 5.56pm

      Dear Students,

       

      The health, welfare and safety of our students and staff has been a priority for us since the start of the COVID-19 / coronavirus crisis back in December and we have been putting in place contingency plans to ensure that your educational journey is not disrupted during these unprecedented times.

       

      On Thursday last, the government of Ireland introduced a series of measures to try and stem the spread of the Coronavirus and this included the closure of all schools, colleges and universities in order to try and reduce the impact in Ireland.

       

      However, I have also listened closely to some of your concerns about staying in Ireland and the desire by some of you to return home. We realise that many in our community are worried and that you may be feeling anxious about the virus, so I wish to advise that all international students have the choice to return home if they would prefer to do so, if you are concerned about your health and well being. 

       

      I have also spoken to some of you who are keen to stay and that is a decision you must make that is right for you at this time. AIT as your host institute will support you regardless of your decision that you make personally.

       

      Given the rapidly evolving situation in Ireland and throughout Europe, AIT will endeavor to make appropriate arrangements through our educational partners to facilitate students taking their exams in their home countries and ensure that you, our students are not academically disadvantaged in these circumstances.

       

      We will continue to work on our Assessment Contingency Plan and will revert to you as soon as the details of the alternative assessment are established.

       

      Wishing you all well and stay safe.

       

      Kind Regards

       

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President 

      Athlone Institute of Technology

    • Update on Friday, 13th March 2020 12:40pm

      Staff, please note that our FAQ section has been updated to inform you as to the arrangements for remote working and GDPR requirements as they pertain to the handling of sensitive data. We will continue to update you regularly as the situation changes.

    • Update on Thursday, 12th March 2020 6.05 p.m.

      Student Health Centre Update

      Normal services at the student health centre have been suspended during the Institute Closure. Students with health concerns during the this time are advised to contact their own G.P.

      International Students: For general advice & queries: Contact Nurse Laura by telephoning +353 87 9977437 or via ltully@ait.ie during office hours

      For Emergency Out of Hours Doctor: An out of hours emergency doctor service is available 6pm – 8am & at weekends via telephone 1850 302 702 fees apply to those who do not hold E.H.C.

      Emergency Services: 112/ 999

       

      For enquiries relating to evoling situation with Covid-19 virus, please check Athlone Institute of Technology website.

    • Update message to all students from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 12th March 2020 5.29

      Dear students,

      Following the announcement made by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this morning, all schools and higher education institutions across Ireland have been requested to close as a measure to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  As of 6pm this evening, the AIT campus will be closed to students and will remain closed until March 29th , as directed by the Department of Education and Skills. During this period, we will be prohibiting access to the campus for all students. We have been planning for this eventuality and have drafted up contingency plans across the institute to minimize disruption and, more importantly, to ensure a continuity in your educational journey this semester.

      So, despite the closure of our campus and no physical lectures taking place, our academic staff will be providing online learning support via moodle and uploading all material in accordance with the academic schedule to ensure you can engage with your course content during this period. Staff will continue to be available to you by email during normal college hours to respond to any queries you might have over the coming weeks. Deans will be in contact with you tomorrow with regards to advice on placement.

      Please note: Exams are still scheduled to take place as per our academic calendar.

      Library resources are available online to support you as part of your self-directed learning and will act as a support to the content provided online by your academic lecturers. An update regarding counselling services will be posted on www.ait.ie/covid19 in the coming days. Further details and advice can be found on our dedicated www.ait.ie/covid19 webpage, which will be updated as the situation evolves. This, along with direct emails from me, will serve as official forms of communications for AIT’s response to this rapidly evolving situation. Our Critical Incident Management Team will continue to meet and to advise you and monitor developments.

      The safety and wellbeing of our campus community remains our highest priority, as does the continuing academic success of each one of you, our students. I would ask you to please keep an eye on emails for updates over the coming days and weeks. Please stay safe and keep well and if you have any issues please reach out to us during this period.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology 

    • Update message to all staff from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 12th March 2020 5.27pm

      Dear staff,

      Following the announcement made by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this morning, all schools and higher education institutions across Ireland have been requested to close as a measure to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). As of 6.00 pm this evening, the AIT campus will be closed to students and the majority of staff with the exception of essential services to maintain business continuity. The AIT campus will remain closed until March 29th  as directed by the Department of Education and Skills. However, we will open our campus to all staff tomorrow, Friday 13th March, to allow staff to wrap up their work where essential and appropriate.

      During our closure period, we will be limiting access to the campus, apart for a small skeleton staff to ensure the essential continuity of services. We have put in place a range of contingency measures that will ensure services to staff and students can be facilitated off campus. Your unit manager will be briefing you regarding the delivery of these services shortly.

      Following this, we are asking all academic staff, where possible, to work from home and to upload all material on moodle as per their timetable. This will allow students to engage with their course content during this period. Deans will be in contact with all staff in relevant faculties with regards to putting material online for students to access as per the scheduled timetable. This function of supporting the students can take place from home, but for those academic staff who are unable to work from home to upload this course material to students, they will be able to access the campus and use our facilities for uploading material online for students. Please note that if you wish to enter the campus, only one gate will be open and you will be required to sign in through our security team. In addition, before you visit the campus you must inform your line manager.

      Please note: Exams are still scheduled to take place as per our academic calendar.

      More information can be found on our dedicated www.ait.ie/covid19 webpage. This, along with direct emails from me, will serve as official forms of communications for AIT’s response to this rapidly evolving situation. Our Critical Incident Management Team will continue to meet and to advise you and to monitor developments.

      The safety and wellbeing of our campus community and visitors remains our highest priority. I would ask you to please keep an eye on emails for updates over the coming days and weeks. We pride ourselves on our community spirit and thank you for your continued support in assisting and supporting our students as we navigate this time of uncertainty.

      Please ensure that you and your families stay safe and keep well.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof.Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology 

    • Update message to all students from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 11th March 2020 4.59pm

      Good evening everyone,

      I want to reassure you that the risk to our campus community remains low as does the risk throughout Ireland, according to the HSE. We understand that the COVID-19 situation may be causing increased fear and anxiety, and we urge you to support one another and please follow all previous advice to best protect yourselves.

      To date, we have received no notification from the HSE of any known cases for the virus. We continue to take all appropriate measures and to work closely with the HSE and relevant agencies. Our goal is to continue without academic disruptions, we have convened the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) and other key personnel to ensure that we are ready to take appropriate action if necessary.

      Information is vital during times of uncertainty and we are committed to providing transparent and timely information to our campus community. We are posting all relevant updates to the website information page www.ait.ie/covid19.

      Your safety and wellbeing remains our primary concern during this period.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology

    • Update message to all staff from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 11th March 2020 4.51p.m

      Good afternoon everyone,

      Following a special meeting of EMT this afternoon, I want to assure you that the risk at Athlone Institute of Technology remains low as does the risk throughout Ireland, according to the HSE. To date, we have received no notification from the HSE of any known cases for the virus. We continue to take all appropriate measures and to work closely with the HSE and relevant agencies.

      Our goal is to continue without academic or operational disruptions, we have convened the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) and other key personnel with a focus on honing our contingency and continuity plans to ensure that we are ready to take appropriate action if necessary. Information is vital during times of uncertainty and we are committed to providing transparent and timely information to our campus community.

      We are posting all relevant updates to the website information page www.ait.ie/covid19. This includes today’s update from HR, which will be circulated this afternoon following a circular letter 0022/2020 issued by the HEA on special leave. This sets a process for staff to follow if they have been advised to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID -19.

      I appreciate your continued cooperation and understanding during this time.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of AThlone Institute of Technology

    • Update on Tuesday 10th March 2020 4.45 p.m

      We are aware that it is an anxious time for people with the level of news and information that is out there now. However, rest assured that we are doing everything we can to protect our community of students and staff. Our Critical Incident Management Team has been meeting daily over the past while to assess the situation and ensure that we are putting measures in place to protect our community. We are operating under the guidance of the HSE and other government bodies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and have been operating in this proactive way since December when the cluster started in China and our contingency planning processes started.

      The safety and wellbeing of the Athlone Institute of Technology community is and always will be, our highest priority and we are carefully considering the official advice available to us, and our responsibility to ensure the welfare of our students, staff and visitors. We are monitoring the situation daily and are following the guidance of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre and Public Health Team. The situation is rapidly evolving in Ireland and ask that people are mindful of the current advice from the HSE.

      At present we have no confirmed or suspect cases and our institute remains open and operating as normal. Please note that our official means of communicating with you, our students and staff, are through two sources 1) Update emails directly from the President 2) Updates to this webpage.

    • Update message to all students from AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin 6th March 2020 2.35pm

      Good afternoon everyone,

      As you all know the situation regarding the public health issue of COVID-19 is rapidly changing across Europe and in more recent days in Ireland. While the country remains in a containment phase, it is a rapidly evolving situation.

      We are aware that it is an anxious time for people with the level of news and information that is out there at the moment. However, rest assured that our institute is doing everything we presently can to protect our community of students and staff and indeed put in place plans for any eventuality that might be needed in the future. To that affect our critical incident management team has been meeting daily over the past while to assess the situation for our community and ensure that we are putting in place continuing measures to protect our community while following the guidance as set out by the HSE. The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff will always be our highest priority and to that effect we are continuing to take preventative steps across the campus.

      However, it is very important to reiterate that for the health of our community everyone needs to remain vigilant and follow all of the guidelines as issued by the HSE. Individually and collectively we all have a responsibility to be mindful of the hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene guidelines as set out by the HSE and to make sure that our campus community is remaining proactive in following these guidelines during this containment period. You will notice COVID-19 posters around the campus, hand dispensers and instructions in every bathroom regarding safe handwashing.

      For up to date information, please check www.ait.ie/covid19 whereby you will find updated information and links to the relevant sites including the HSE-  https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html.

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology

    • Update message to all staff from AIT President Prof. CIarán Ó Catháin 6th March 2020 12.52

      Good afternoon everyone,

      As you all know the situation regarding the public health issue of COVID-19 is rapidly changing across Europe and in more recent days in Ireland. While the country remains in a containment phase, it is a rapidly evolving situation.

      We are aware that it is an anxious time for people with the level of news and information that is out there at the moment. However, rest assured that our institute is doing everything we presently can to protect our community of students and staff and indeed put in place plans for any eventuality that might be needed in the future. To that affect our critical incident management team has been meeting daily over the past while to assess the situation for our community and to ensure that we are putting in place continuing measures to protect our community.

      As this public health issue progresses in Ireland, it is very important that you our staff remain informed and to that affect we will be issuing all staff with weekly updates and briefing managers accordingly. This is to ensure that there is no misinformation and to ensure that if you have concerns you can raise them in the relevant channel.

      Furthermore, it is also very important to reiterate that for the health of our community everyone needs to remain vigilant and follow all of the guidelines as issued by the HSE. Individually and collectively we all have a responsibility to be mindful of the hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene guidelines as set out by the HSE and to make sure that our campus community is remaining proactive in following these guidelines during this containment period. You will notice COVID-19 posters around the campus, hand dispensers and instructions in every bathroom regarding safe handwashing.

      For up to date information, please check www.ait.ie/covid19 whereby you will find updated information and links to the relevant sites including the HSE-  https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html

       

      Kind Regards

      Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin

      President of Athlone Institute of Technology

    • Update Friday 6th March 2020 - 10.00am

      Important Notice Re: Student Health Centre

       

      The Student Health Centre are currently operating an APPOINTMENT ONLY service. Students who are acutely unwell should phone the student health centre on 090 64 68063 to arrange prompt telephone triage with the Institute Nurse. Only those with appointments will be admitted to the student health centre

      Medical Emergencies/First Aid - please contact 087 9977437

    • Update on Thursday 5th March 2020

      At present, there is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus, following an outbreak in late December 2019 when Chinese authorities identified a cluster which has since spread to other countries, including in Europe. The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre is monitoring the situation and updating its website www.hpsc.ie regularly.

      The safety and wellbeing of the Athlone Institute of Technology community, is and always will be, our highest priority and we are carefully considering the official advice available to us, and our responsibility to ensure the welfare of our students, staff and visitors.

      In relation to COVID-19, the Institute is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and are following the guidance of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre and Public Health Team. Our highest priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our community and therefore we ask that people are mindful of the current advice from the HSE.

      The institute continues to monitor the situation closely and is taking preventative steps at present which includes:

      • Placing alcohol-based hand sanitizers at certain building entrance locations across the campus, for students, staff and visitors to our campus.
      • We are providing support to students / staff if they have travelled to or from any of the affected regions.
      • Our student health centre has in place the approved HSE protocol for the treatment of suspected cases, if they were to arise.
      • In addition we will provide information updates to the campus community if there is a change in the current National Health Protection protocols.