Enhanced safety measures

Face maskWe all need to take on board a level of personal responsibility to protect the health of our fellow students and colleagues as well as our own. RCSI has invested in increasing the level of general cleaning completed on campus and you will notice an increased presence of our cleaning contractor staff. Extra measures have been put in place for more frequent cleaning of touched surface points, welfare facilities and communal areas and supplies will be available throughout campus to ensure the ‘clean in, clean out’ policy is adhered to.

Given the uncertainty about travel during the year, and the ongoing RCSI requirement to restrict your movement upon returning to Ireland, we would strongly advise against travel overseas during the year.

If travel is necessary, please let your programme coordinator know in advance.

We advice that all RCSI students and staff  download the HSE COVID-19 app – It is an important initiative aimed at suppressing the virus as our country reopens.

Should you be confirmed as having COVID-19, in addition to the HSE contact tracing service, you should inform your programme coordinator. In the event you do not download the HSE COVID-19 contact tracing app, RCSI may need to help you identify any colleagues or students you may have been in close contact with, 48 hours before your symptoms started. As per HSE guidance, close contact can mean spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person in any setting.

Please be assured that there is no cost to the individual for treatment by the Irish health service for a prescribed infectious disease such as COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This applies to patients seen at OPDs, EDs and IPDs/hospitalisations. This is a commitment by the Irish Government.

Welcoming You Back to RCSI - Supporting Health Safety and Wellbeing PDF | 13325.2 KB

Hygiene practices are important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Regular hand washing with soap and water is effective for the removal of COVID-19. It is important to follow good practice for hand washing – washing the front and back of your hands, between fingers and washing for least 20 seconds.

Between washing, regular use of hand sanitisers that have at least 70% alcohol is recommended. RCSI has installed over 90 hand sanitiser units and we recommend you always carry a small hand sanitiser on your person.

All of us should follow good respiratory measures to limit the spread of the virus; these include:

  • Avoid touching the face, eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue (not your hand)
  • Put used tissues into a sealed bin and then wash your hands immediately

Physical distancing measures have also been implemented across all RCSI campuses in high foot flow areas. Across different areas of the campus you will see a variety of implementations including; one-way systems, entrance and exit only locations, signage, screens, floor markings, new entrance and exit measures, plus additional measures to assist with maintaining physical distancing. Lifts are also restricted to one person only, therefore, we encourage all who are able, to please use the stairs and to leave primary access to lifts for persons who have reduced mobility.

We all have a duty to our fellow students and colleagues to maintain physical distancing by keeping a distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and others. Please keep up-to-date with changes onsite through Moodle, student app and onsite signage.

In line with Government and public health advice all students and staff will be required to wear a face covering while on campus. We ask everyone to provide their own face covering for normal, day-to-day activity. In line with RCSI Green Campus initiatives we ask that you wear reusable, washable face coverings to reduce the environmental impact of disposable masks.

Please ensure you avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering, and wash your hands immediately before and after removal. Guidance on safe use of face coverings can be found here

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required for practical, clinical and lab-based work. Students will be educated in the use of PPE as part of their programme delivery.

Do not wear disposable gloves instead of washing your hands. Gloves are generally not required for infection prevention and control and are not a substitute for hand hygiene.

All students and staff will be asked daily to confirm they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. This questionnaire must be completed prior to attendance at campus for lessons or to clinical sites.

It is an important action to support you and maximise the prevention of infection spread.

RCSI and our health services will be monitoring compliance with daily health checks to assist with any outbreaks in the hospital or on our campuses.

Completion rates will be actively monitored as a marker of professionalism. Students who do not complete the forms will be followed up, and if persistent, action may be taken under the RCSI Disciplinary Regulations.

As part of our measures to ensure a safe return to campus you must complete mandatory online training course before attending campus.

We all have an important role to play in helping to control the coronavirus outbreak. The safety behaviours required to keep you healthy, both on and off campus, will be outlined in the training course which is available on Moodle

You can complete the training wherever you are – but you must do it before your first scheduled day of in-person attendance on campus/clinical site.

There is also additional training for those attending clinical placements, such as hand hygiene, infection control measures and donning and doffing PPE. If you are required to complete these, then the links to these will be available on your Moodle pages.

Completion rates will be actively monitored as a marker of professionalism. Students who do not complete the forms will be followed up and action may be taken under the RCSI Disciplinary Regulations.

As part of our measures to protect you, COVID-19 care for students will be coordinated by RCSI’s primary care facility, Mercer’s Medical Centre. There will be no charge for any aspect of COVID-19 care.

In our commitment to our students’ well-being, we will:

  • offer a free of charge, 24/7 GP/family physician service;
  • use a specifically trained team to guide you to the relevant health professionals should you have any symptoms or concerns in relation to COVID-19;
  • have a mandatory online training course for all staff and students on how best to minimise infection spread and protect us all;
  • arrange for all RCSI Undergraduate students to have access to COVID-19 testing as clinically indicated, through our RCSI’s primary care facility, Mercer’s Medical Centre.

For all students who are to attend clinical placements on return, the hospitals have asked that we arrange a COVID-19 swab test at commencement of your year. RCSI will co-ordinate this testing around start dates and arrangements will be communicated to you.

You should download the HSE COVID-19 app upon arrival to Ireland. If a student has any concerns at all about their COVID-19 status they should exercise caution and not attend RCSI campus. If you are based in RCSI campus accommodation, it is recommended that you stay in your accommodation to study. Inform your programme coordinator who will arrange any class materials that you need to continue your studies remotely.

RCSI also requires that all students and staff complete a daily health check questionnaire to help and remind to you check your symptoms and encourage the highest standards of infection control behaviours.

All students should have their own GP. RCSI encourages  students to register with our own Mercer Medical Centre where an expert GP team will manage all your medical requirements. RCSI has invested in this service to ensure you have access to medical advice, testing where required and treatment accordingly.

If you are on campus and suspect you have coronavirus symptoms:

  • Self-isolate immediately: Go to a vacant room/office/meeting room. Close door and avoid any staff member or student entering. If you are located in one of the buildings below and close to one of our designated first aid rooms listed below, please self-isolate there:
    • If you are in 123 St Stephen’s Green (SSG) – go to the First Aid Room across from Exam Hall on the 1st floor.
    • If you are in 26 York Street - go to the Green Room on floor -1.
    • If you are in Beaumont Smurfit Building – go to the Expressing Room on the 1st floor.
    • In all other locations, please go to a vacant room/office.
  • Stay in this room until transport arrives.
  • Your programme coordinator/Health & Safety Office will help arrange for transport to your accommodation as soon as possible.
  • As soon as you can, log on to Mercer’s Medical Centre website and complete the health questionnaire. Once submitted a nurse from the centre will be in touch to provide you with advice and provide instructions to follow.
  • Upon reaching your accommodation, stay in your room while awaiting instruction.
  • If unable to return to campus, telephone your programme coordinator to outline the advice you received from Mercer's Medical Centre.

If you are not on campus please log on to Mercer’s Medical Centre website and complete the health questionnaire before contacting them by phone or attending the clinic.

Once you submit the questionnaire, a nurse will be in touch with you to advise you on next steps. If they think you need to be tested for COVID-19 (coronavirus), they will arrange a test.

If your symptoms are severe then please telephone Mercer's on +353 1 402 230. Do not go to Mercer Medical Centre or any other surgery, pharmacy or hospital until advised by a doctor.

The National Public Health Emergency Team has advised anyone who has symptoms or who has been in close contact with a confirmed case to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you are awaiting testing/a diagnosis, you should continue to follow the advice being issued by the HSE regarding self-isolation for those persons who are symptomatic/awaiting test results. It is also recommended that you consider informing your closest contacts (i.e. colleagues, housemates or partner) that you are being tested and advise them to ensure that they adhere to strict social distancing protocols and do not attend RCSI campus.

Supporting students if they become ill is a priority for RCSI. You will be registered with the RCSI Mercer’s Medical Centre and will have access to free general practice (GP) healthcare.

We have put in place additional resources at RCSI Mercer’s Medical Centre to ensure that all students have rapid access to medical care, should they require it during their time at RCSI. As part of the student registration process all students will be asked to sign a RCSI COVID-19 Health Management Programme Agreement. The agreement is necessary so that we will have the information we need to ensure that we can provide all necessary healthcare and support to students.

Students will be asked to:

  • Agree to comply with Irish Government and RCSI COVID-19 policies.
  • Agree to provide us with your contact details and contact details of a family member, parent and/or guardian so that we can keep them informed in the event you become sick and wish us to keep them informed on your behalf.
  • Agree to take self-responsibility to check your symptoms as required and follow RCSI guidelines which best protect you, your fellow students, clinical colleagues, staff and patients.
  • Agree to contact the RCSI Student Welfare team should you become unwell or are worried in any way and we can advise you accordingly.

If you have a non-COVID related health issue which is causing you concern, in the first instance you should discuss this with your treating physician. Once you have their advice, please contact Mercer’s Medical Centre who will conduct an assessment.

Please note that this may require your programme to progress with reasonable accommodations, or in rare circumstances, you may need to consider taking a leave of absence.

It is likely that the guidelines for managing COVID-19 will change over the coming months as government and medical advice changes. Rest assured that RCSI will always be up-to-date with the current guidelines and will act accordingly.

All students will continue to receive information about our testing measures and physical distancing guidelines.