In preparation for the academic year 21/22 shared teaching spaces have been assessed and measures implemented to facilitate their use under the prevailing public health guidance and their application to the higher education sector.

The shared teaching spaces portfolio varies from small group teaching rooms to large lecture theatres holding over 500 students. A single set of guidance for the use of spaces of any size or configuration has been developed with a view to providing clear visual aids to support users in the use of the space and provide reassurance that control measures are in place. This is implemented through a number of methods:

A3 Signage at the classroom entry points notes the following:
That all chairs are available for use
A reminder to individuals to sanitise their workspace before use

  • To take note of the number on the chair used for contact tracing purposes
  • That windows should remain open for ventilation
  • That face coverings are mandatory for all teaching and learning events
  • That at the conclusion of the class, students should exit in sequence beginning at the nearest point to the exit door
  • A request to refrain from moving flexible furniture from its set position. As chairs are numbered, moving chairs would disrupt the numbering sequence and compromise contract tracing
covid-classroom-a3-sign
covid-classroom-a4-sign

A4 signage at the teaching lectern provides additional information and guidance to faculty and staff who are facilitating the class. This signage notes the following:

  • That faculty and staff should maintain two metres distance from the first row of occupied seats. The floor is marked to indicate this distance
  • That a face covering is required if teaching at less two metres from the first row of occupied seats
  • As with the entrance signage, that windows remain open and flexible furniture is left in its set position
  • A series of quick behavioural reminders that the facilitator of the class is asked to read out at the beginning and end of the class, if they have the time to do so

Where natural ventilation is in use, there are stickers placed on windows to remind users that they must be kept open for ventilation purposes. A sticker is present on every window. Windows will be opened in the morning and closed in the evening by Estates Services as part of the management of the shared teaching spaces. Windows should be opened (if found closed) when entering the room.

Further information on ventilation in teaching spaces is available in the Return to Campus Guide ventilation section.

window

Where a teaching space has multiple doors, doors have been designated as either an entrance or exit door. This will be clearly indicated to building users via the use of large green/go and red/stop signs on the doors.

The left-hand side of the teaching space, from the perspective of the user approaching the space, will generally be the first entrance door. This facilitates a clockwise movement in and through a teaching space and is in keeping with the ‘keep left’ approach in building circulation spaces where a one-way system cannot be implemented.

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red-stop-png
circulation

In rooms with greater than two doors, each pair of doors is treated as a set with one being an entrance door and the other being an exit door, again facilitating the clockwise flow through the space.

When users exit a space, they are requested to refrain from congregating around the exit area as it may create congestion or impede others from entering the room. Students should exit the teaching space in sequence beginning with those nearest to the exit door(s) as this will facilitate a smooth flow of movement with reduced congestion.

In some instances, exit doors must be used for wheelchair access. For those situations, the signage below will be present on the door.

When approaching a teaching space where there is only a single door that serves as both an entry and exit door, please be mindful that it may be necessary to wait outside the space to allow other students vacate. When waiting outside the teaching space form a queue, maintain physical distancing, and try to not infringe on others in the area.

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All chairs within teaching spaces are available for use. Every chair will be marked with a numbered sticker and users are asked to record the number of their chair in their contact tracing diary and on their lecture notes to facilitate contact tracing if required. In classrooms the number will be present on the table or chair writing tablet, in lecture theatres the number may be underneath the chair but will be visible when the chair seat is in the upright position.

Users of room are asked to please refrain from moving flexible furniture from its set position as the sequencing of numbers is important for facilitating contract tracing.

covid-classrooms-seating-number

There will be an enhanced cleaning regime in place whereby student and teaching desk surfaces will be cleaned twice daily by the cleaning team, once in the morning and once later in the day. During the day, between these times, users of the space are requested to wipe down surfaces with the materials provided in the teaching space. Please note that waste generated by materials used in protecting against the spread of COVID-19, such as wipes and disposable masks, can be disposed of in the General Waste bin.

Sanitise touchpoints on the teaching lectern using the cleaning materials provided.
Touch Points may include:

  • Light switches
  • AV equipment
  • Monitors
  • Handrails
  • PC and PC equipment
  • Microphones
  • Work surfaces

Please do not spray cleaning liquids directly onto AV equipment as it may cause damage, instead spray onto the cleaning cloth before wiping the AV equipment.

This is not a requirement of lecturers; however it would be appreciated if you could read the following at the start of the class:

  • Please ensure your COVID tracker is working and that your Bluetooth is turned on
  • Please wear a face covering
  • Please make a note of your seat number, room, date and time in your contact tracing diaries and on your lecture notes

Maintain two metres distance from the first row of occupied seats. The floor has been marked to indicate the distance.
A face covering should be used if teaching less than two metres from the first row of occupied seats.

This is not a requirement of lecturers; however it would be appreciated if you could read the following at the end of the class:

  • Please exit the room beginning with those nearest to the exit door
  • Please continue to wear a face covering
  • Please do not congregate at the exit door as it may impede others entering the room
  • If your next class is also in this room, please use this break period to get some fresh air outside

Sanitise touchpoints on the teaching lectern using the cleaning materials provided.

In the event that a staff member, or student present with symptoms of the virus while present in a classroom, the University Emergency Line, 7999 should be used to inform Campus Services. The Duty Manager team have procedures in place to manage such scenarios.

Any persons, staff or student, who tests positive for COVID-19 is asked to contact the Emergency Line on ext. 7999 / 01 716 7999 and report their status. This is in order to allow the university to begin the process of gathering information about their close contacts whilst on campus which can then be provided to the HSE.