Enhanced safety measures
We 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.
All RCSI students and staff are requested to download the HSE COVID Tracker App – it is an important initiative aimed at suppressing the virus as our country reopens.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or believe you have been a close contact of someone with COVID-19, please refer to the Mercer's Medical Centre webpage and follow the instructions there. You must also notify the RCSI COVID Control admin team.
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. This applies to patients seen at OPDs, EDs and IPDs/hospitalisations. This is a commitment by the Irish government.
The Irish government continues to update the legislation and requirements for people travelling to Ireland from overseas, which can be found here. It is expected that these requirements will change over the coming weeks, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated. Please check before you travel.
The new requirements depend on where you have been for the 14 days prior to travel and if you are vaccinated with an European Medicine Agency approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or not. Please regularly check the information published by the government.
Please note that RCSI cannot vary these rules for any students, as they are part of the Irish government's response to the pandemic. It is extremely important that you fully comply with the regulations.
Mandatory hotel quarantine
If you have come from any country deemed 'high risk', you must comply with the Government of Ireland requirements, including if you need to avail of mandatory hotel quarantine (MHQ). Full details are provided on the government website.
If you think you will need to avail of MHQ, we advise you to do the following:
- Book the hotel accommodation through this website as soon as possible, as places may be limited.
- Tell RCSI Travel your arrangements by completing this form. This will help RCSI stay in touch with you during your period of mandatory quarantine.
Passenger Locator Form
Prior to your departure, remember to complete the online Passenger Locator Form, as required by the Irish government.
Airport meet and greet
When travelling to Ireland, RCSI Travel can meet you at the airport and transport you to your accommodation, avoiding public transport. If you are planning to travel, please complete this form to advise RCSI Travel of your return date and flight number.
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 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.
We have also introduced our own testing and contact tracing service which is provided to all students before attending clinical sites. The health screening and academic needs of the very few cases that have tested positive and their close contacts have all been effectively supported by Mercer's Medical Centre and our dedicated Covid Administration Team in RCSI. You will find all the information about this support here.
In addition, to continue to keep RCSI a safe and open campus for students and staff, we have commenced an internal COVID-19 screening programme run by our own research team. This has capacity to test over 200 students daily and has the flexibility to alter testing regimes or focus if necessary.
You should have downloaded 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 and contact the COVID Control Admin.
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.
- The COVID admin team/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.
- please contact COVIDControlAdmin@rcsi.ie 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.
Mercer’s Medical Centre website has a dedicated information section for RCSI students. This includes details of what you should do in different scenarios. Please refer to this page for the latest up-to-date information.
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 are registered with the RCSI Mercer’s Medical Centre and have access to free general practice (GP) healthcare. Mercer’s Medical Centre has a specific section of their website dedicated to the detailed services and supports available to RCSI students.
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 who have tested positive are asked to self-isolate and follow the advice provided by their GP. We remain in regular contact with students who are self-isolating and we are on hand to provide the support and help they might need. Students who are the close contact of a confirmed case must also self-isolate and get tested.
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.