Coronavirus: UCD to open library for students without internet access
Limited number of spaces will be provided to students to allow social distancing
University College Dublin will open library services to a small number of students without internet access. Photograph: Alan Betson
University College Dublin (UCD) is to open one of its libraries on campus for students without internet or laptop access at home, despite a two-week shutdown of schools and colleges ordered in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The university is understood to be looking at how to accommodate a small number of students who do not have reliable internet access or laptops to continue their coursework online, following the Government decision to close universities last week.
The university will open one of the smaller libraries on its south Dublin campus in the health sciences building as a study space.
It is believed some university library staff have expressed concerns with the plan, given other third-level institutions have taken steps to entirely close campuses to students.
Trinity College Dublin has shut down its campus and on Monday ordered students in campus accommodation to vacate their rooms in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The UCD library space would accommodate significantly less than 100 people indoors, and would observe social distancing.
The measures will be trialled this week with students to register in advance in order to control the numbers permitted into the library.
In an email to staff, the university librarian Dr John Howard said the measures were needed to accommodate students “who have no access to computers or wifi in their home circumstances.”
“If there is a higher than anticipated demand this approach will be reviewed . . . We will not provide any face-to-face services or active invigilation of the library space,” the email said.
The trial would be run with a small handful of staff , who would do so on a voluntary basis, he said.