Covid19

COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates

    COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates

    This webpage was last updated on Saturday 4th April 2020 

    This webpage contains all of the relevant up to date information issued by the institute in relation to COVID-19. It includes updates issued by the institute to students and staff and updates published on this webpage. Also included below are a series of FAQ's related to students, staff and the institute. 

    Please note for the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19  please visit the HSE website www.HSE.ie

    Athlone Institute of Technology is curently closed to all students until 19th April 2020 but we are working and teaching remotely

    • 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.

    Student FAQ's

    Please find below a list of student FAQ's

    • Advice for Students/Staff who have returned to AIT from affected areas:

      1. Phone HSE Live on 1850 24 1850 if in the past 14 days you’ve been to one of the following affected areas:

      China

      Hong Kong

      Japan

      Singapore

      South Korea

      In Italy, the provinces, Lombardy, Piemonte, Veneto and Emilia – Romangna

      2. You should also contact the HSE if you have been:

      In contact with a person who has coronavirus

      In a hospital or healthcare centre where people are being treated for coronavirus

      When you phone you will be asked:

      details of your stay

      where you were

      if you have been in contact with a person who has coronavirus

      if you have been in a hospital or healthcare centre where patients with coronavirus are being treated

      if you have symptoms of coronavirus

       

      You will be told what you need to do next.

    • I am an International Student in AIT. What should I do?

      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 12th March, 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. On the 16th March we emailed all students directly to their email accounts advising them that all international students have the choice to return home if they would prefer to do so, if they are concerned about their health and well being. 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.

    • What is the update for SOLAS Apprenticeship Students?

      SOLAS is liaising closely with the Department of Education and Skills on the evolving situation and will continue to monitor the advice of the authorities in relation to this matter. Further decisions on apprenticeship training will be based upon this advice.

      Phase 2 Classes starting in the next two weeks
      All payments will be based on full attendance during the period of closures of centres and institutions.
      Two Phase 2 classes, due to start next Monday (in Kerry and Longford/Westmeath) and a further eight Phase two classes are scheduled to begin on 23 March. Given the notice involved and arrangements that would have been made on the employer and apprentice side, these apprentices will be commenced and they will be subject to the same overall arrangements as other Phase 2 apprentices.
      All Phase 2 apprentices will continue to be paid as per this week’s circular and no arrangements are being made at this stage to formally release them back to employers.

      Current Phase 4/6 Classes
      Phase 4 and 6 apprentices, who were due to take exams next week will be paid for next week although the exams will not take place. They will be released back to employers as scheduled and alternative arrangements will be made for assessment once the re-opening schedule is clearer
      Phase 4 and 6 apprentices due to start in April will be put on notice (as will their employers) that they may not be called if the period of closure is extended. In that case, they will remain with their employers.

    • Are counselling services still available?

      AIT Student Counselling Service remains open, and will be contacting students currently attending the service or on the waiting list over the next few days to arrange phone or video sessions. They understand that the rapid changes that are happening daily can cause some stress and anxiety. To this end they will provide a consultation with a counsellor daily, please email counsellor@ait.ie with Call on the subject line. We wish our students and families good health, and AIT aims to offer the best support we can.

    • Will Online Library Services Be Available?
      • Online library and all electronic resources (databases, subject libguides and ebooks) are available 24/7 off campus
      • Support for referencing and referencing software available 24/7 off campus.
      • Access to past examination papers available 24/7 off campus.
      • Access to the undergrad projects/dissertations and repository available 24/7 off campus.
      • Library emails monitored remotely and queries answered promptly (8.15am to 9.45 pm during the week [8.15am to 5pm Fridays], 9am to 4pm on Saturdays).
      • Staff and students can reach library staff on social media platforms. Twitter with direct messaging service and Facebook with private messaging available through Messenger. These will monitored remotely and queries answered promptly (8.15am to 9.45 pm [8.15am to 5pm Fridays], 9am to 4pm on Saturdays).
      • One-to-one Skype sessions with a member of the team for information literacy and resource searching support (8.15am to 9.45 pm [8.15am to 5pm Fridays], 9am to 4pm on Saturdays).
    • How to protect yourself from COVID-19 / Coronavirus

      Like any virus, to help reduce the risk of infection:

      Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and/or alcohol (min 60%) based hand sanitizer for a minimum of 20 seconds and in particular:

      1. after coughing or sneezing
      2. after toilet use
      3. before eating
      4. before and after preparing food
      5. if you are in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms
      6. if your hands are dirty
      7. if you have handled animals or animal waste

      If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue away into a closed bin, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed (bent) elbow.

      Avoid close contact with anyone who you know has cold or flu symptoms.

      Check the travel advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to arranging travel abroad.

      Hand sanitizers on campus

      Hand sanitizers have been placed at each entrance to the campus, please use them frequently throughout the day.

      In addition, please fine below national advice and guidance protocol issued by the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre in relation to COVID – 19. Please note that all live and updated advice is available on the HSE website which can be accessed via www.hse.ie or via the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre www.hpsc.ie

    • What you will need to do?

      If you are well and have not been in contact with coronavirus, you will be told to watch out for symptoms over the next 14 days. You can continue with your daily life and go to work/college as usual.

      If you have had close contact with a person who has coronavirus, you will be monitored for 14 days. A doctor will phone you daily to make sure you remain well. You will be asked to stay separate from other people as much as you can for 14 days. This includes not going to work/college

      If you have been to an affected area in the last 14 days and have a cough, fever, feel short of breath or have difficulty breathing

      DO:

      If you are a student – phone the Institute Nurse Emergency Mobile 087 9977437 during office hours or the Out of Hours Emergency GP Service 1850 302 702 between 6pm – 8am immediately

      If you are staff – phone your GP or Emergency Department

      Stay indoors

      Avoid contact with other people

      Follow this advice even if your symptoms are mild

       

      DO NOT GO TO THE STUDENT HEALTH CENTRE / EMERGENCY DOCTOR – PHONE FIRST. This is so that you do not accidentally put other people at risk.

    Institutional FAQ's

    Please find below a list of Institutional FAQ's 

    • What is happening at the institute in relation to COVID-19 / Coronavirus?

      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 daily and are following the guidance of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre and Public Health Team.

      While the situation is rapidly evolving in Ireland, 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.Our student health centre has in place the approved HSE protocol for the treatment of suspected cases, if they were to arise. Additional cleaning protocols are being implemented with our cleaning contract to clean door handles, lift buttons and other commonly touched surfaces and Coronavirus information posters have been posted across all campuses.

      In addition, we will provide information updates to the campus community if there is a change in the current National Health Protection protocols. ,

    Staff FAQ's

    • What to do if I have been advised to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19?

      Staff Question - What to do if I have been advised to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19?

      1. Call AIT by contacting Louise Doherty – HR Department directly by phone on 09064 83015 or 0831091532

      2. Special leave with pay will apply when an employee is advised to self-isolate/diagnosed with COVID-19.

      3. Medical or HSE confirmation of this advice will be required. The Medical practitioner/HSE or employee should submit this document by email only to hrmedical@ait.ie. Any special leave with pay granted for the purpose of self-isolation/diagnosis of COVID-19 will not be counted as part of the employee’s sick leave record.

      4. The application of special leave with pay will apply for the number of days advised by the HSE/doctor.

      5. When the employee has been certified fit to return to work documentation confirming same must be submitted in advance of the return to work date to hrmedical@ait.ie

      Please refer to the HEA Circular Letter 0022/2020 for further details. Please be advised that all information will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

    • What are the arrangements for staff working from home?

      Staff, please click on the following link to view the “Working arrangements for public servants” correspondence, which was received last night from DPER. This includes essential services in accordance with AIT’s Business Continuity Plan. If necessary, Managers will contact relevant staff as required in accordance with continuity of essential services as explained in the attached correspondence. We would also like you to note that while this emergency situation necessitates staff working remotely, it is still important to take necessary precautions when processing any types of personal data. AIT does provide a secure method for transferring sensitive documents and you are advised to use ‘Filesender’ https://filesender.heanet.ie/1.7/ to share any files which contain personal data. It is vital that you select the encryption option on this process. The following is a link to further advice from the DPC on how to work remotely and still ensure that any personal data is protected. https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/protecting-personal-data-when-working-remotely

    • Are there any services available to staff at the moment for our health & wellbeing, or even counselling services?

      At one time or another we all experience difficulties that can leave us feeling overwhelmed and especially during the current public health crisis. The HR department in AIT is a partner with Inspire Workplaces. You can call them anytime, 24/7 for telephone advise, access to customized online services, specialist information on health and wellbeing and structured counseling. This service is free to all AIT staff members.

      See "Inspire EAP Information" download below 

    Downloads & Links

    Please find below a list of all downloads and links related to the FAQ's

  • HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre webpage, including FAQs and regular updates

  • Latest Travel Alert in relation to China on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website:

  • World Health Organisation - Q&A on coronaviruses

  • World Health Organisation - Myth busters about the novel coronavirus

  • COVID-19 Update on Working Arrangements for Civil and Public Service

  • Inspire EAP Information