Ireland/ 22 September 2020/ Source/ https://www.independent.ie/
By Katherine Donelly
A university the size of Maynooth can expect an average of one student a day being diagnosed with Covid based on the current rate of infection, according to its President Professor Philip Nolan.
Prof Nolan who is also Chair of the Nphet expert maths modelling group advising on the course of the disease, said that they were currently seeing 10 new cases a day for every 100,000 19-24 year olds.
He said in a university like Maynooth with 10,000 students “we are going to see a case a day among the campus community” as it reconvenes.
Maynooth University, like others in the Dublin area, is enhancing protective measures against the spread of Covid-19, as the capital comes under stricter public health restrictions.
Its Welcome Week for first years starts today, with the bulk of activities online and the university will reopen for all students from next Monday.
The university is limiting on-site teaching to laboratory, practical and skills instruction, and will limit classes and tutorials to up to 30 persons. Larger lectures will be taught online.
Prof Nolan said he did not think there would be much transmission of the infection in the classroom, but it could happen at social events while small Covid outbreaks should be expected in student accommodation.
He said transmission of the virus on campus more likely result not because of what happens in a classroom “ but because some people sat down together and had lunch together and weren’t careful.”
He predicted that country be would be living with public health restrictions for at least year because of Covid: “The reality is it will be with us for at least another 12 months”.
Prof Nolan, was among the speakers at a webinar organised by the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) and the Royal Irish Academy. on the theme of safe return to campus.
He said a partnership approach with students was essential , and that it was important for them understand how to learn safely and to live safely and to socialise safely, and to hear that message from their own peers.