24th Apr 2020

COVID-19

CCT College Dublin is continually monitoring the situation and updates will be available on this webpage as well as communicated via Moodle.

The spread of this pandemic around the world has triggered an immediate response from CCT and the Higher Education sector globally. Our response has mainly been underpinned by two important principles:

  1. The safety of our staff and students, and,
  2. The continuance of education in accordance with our current Academic Year schedule

Our incredible staff have never worked harder, to keep all teaching, learning, assessment, pastoral care, and all student services as active and even more active than ever in this online education world. We have been inspired though by a student body who have responded to this crisis with determination, resilience, and understanding, demonstrated through a wonderful spirit of kindness, compassion, and community. These are the student qualities we are most proud, and surpass even the knowledge and competency acquired through your programme of study.

In this challenging and surreal period, the well-being of our students has resulted in us adapting our student services and supports. Along with many academic and library supports, the following are some of the supports on offer at the moment:

  • Fully funded online counselling sessions (subsidised by CCT) with registered counsellors in Ireland, through a range of languages
  • Lecturer interaction with students during and after classes with some dedicated and appointed sessions out of class
  • Daily virtual ‘open-door’ policy for students to engage with faculty coordinators, and some student services officers
  • Mindfulness information with online workshop events where there is a demand
  • Fully funded Virtual weekly yoga sessions (subsidised by CCT)
  • New interactive chat function with dedicated online staff on our website
  • Information resources re mental health and isolation for students during Covid, from Student Services
  • Using interactive creative tools such as Padlet etc to communicate to students
  • Reasonable accommodations for those with specific needs
  • Extension to Personal Mitigating Circumstances policy to reflect and respond to specific challenges of students who are essential or front line workers, carers of a vulnerable person cocooning or who themselves are cocooning
  • Range of online support classes being facilitated in areas such as academic writing, group work, careers, and study skills
  • Recording all lectures so we can continue to facilitate those who are unable to access them at the scheduled time
  • Additional out of office hours student support mentoring sessions which has alleviated anxiety/stress for many students
  • We are using the App Slack to communicate with Class Reps in real time and out of normal office hours, for particularly vulnerable students
  • We have provided laptops and ipads as needed to students without access to laptops

______________________________________________________________

Coronavirus Outbreak Communication – Thursday 26th March 2020, 10.11PM

The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. This week the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, made additional announcements to the public in relation to COVID19. In part he announced that the restrictions implemented on March 12th would be extended until Sunday 19th April. These restrictions mean that the CCT College Dublin building will remain closed to the public until this time and classes will continue being provided in a flipped and tech enabled online way.

In addition to schools, creches, and higher education institutions being closed, the following new actions were also announced by An Taoiseach:

  • all theatres, clubs, gyms/leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets to be closed
  • all hotels to limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons
  • all non-essential retail outlets closed to members of the public and with other retail outlets to implement physical distancing
  • all cafes and restaurants have been limited to supply take away food or delivery
  • all sporting events have been cancelled, including those behind closed doors
  • all playgrounds and holiday/caravan parks have been closed
  • all places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate physical distancing
  • all organised social indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place

We have been delighted to see the introduction of the new COVID 19 Unemployment Pandemic Payment for anyone who has lost their job due to the coronavirus outbreak. The amount payable per week has increased now to €350. This is approximately 75% of average earnings in the sectors most affected, and compares favourably to what is being done in other countries. The first payments will be made on Friday March 27th.

I am very mindful of how challenging and anxious these unprecedented times are for students and staff. A huge thank you to our students for your understanding, cooperation, and initiative in engaging well in our online provision so far. There are many positives of course to the tech enabled online teaching provision and we urge you to remain completely engaged in this process, as we move through the academic year.

Please remember to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Irish government and HSE guidelines, but while keeping your distance – keep in touch. And finally, let your kindness and compassion shine, as we all try to deal with this very difficult situation.

Neil Gallagher
President, CCT College Dublin

_______________________________________________________________

Alternative Assessment Arrangements during College Closure Due to COVID 19

On March 19th 2020 the Academic Council of CCT College, Chaired by Dr Dermot Douglas, considered a detailed proposal outlining the approach to assessment for the period up to May 31st 2020, in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. The proposal was informed by national and international research and good practice in assessment in higher education.

Academic Council approved the proposal that all face to face assessments, including written exams, will be replaced with either an alternative mode of submission or alternative mode of assessment. This applies to all CCT programmes.

In order to protect the academic standards and integrity of the College programmes and the QQI awards they lead to, the approval was subject to the following requirements:

  • All assessments will seek to assess the attainment of learning outcomes and will further incorporate the opportunity for students to evidence attainment beyond the learning outcomes.
  • Semester assessment schedules and proposals will evidence incorporation of good practice guidelines to protect the academic standards and integrity of awards, and are subject to internal approval by the Dean of School.
  • All assessment changes are subject to External Examiner approval.
  • Proposals will be considered in the context of all modules and assessments in the period under consideration and due regard will be given to suitable variety in assessment and the appropriate planning of assessment load and timings.
  • Where possible, students will be given sufficient advanced notification of changes and afforded the opportunity to undertake practice assessments in the same mode.
  • Monitoring of student performance, progression and award will be considered in the context of these unprecedented circumstances.

Academic Council will continue to monitor the situation. A decision relating to assessments scheduled after May 31st will be determined in mid-April. Students will be notified directly of the specific changes for their programme of study.

_______________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus Outbreak – Communication on written exams and in class test assessment – Friday, 20th March 2020, 10.22AM

Dear Students,

I am sure at this point you are probably starting to be put off hearing about COVID-19 and more communication on it.  But, communication at this very unpredictable and constantly changing time is important for all of us within the College.

We recently updated you on plans to continue teaching your programme and supporting you online.  Some of you have already experienced your first classes using this tech enabled / flipped classroom approach.  Most of you will commence classes again after Reading week this week, but in an online setting.  I am sure the question of assessment and what is going to happen with exams, in class tests and other assessments that would normally require you to be in the College building, is something you are thinking about also at the moment.

Firstly, let me say that a mere couple of short weeks ago, many of us could not have predicted where the world would be in terms of dealing with this virus outbreak.  This is a challenge no school, college or university, wants to face particularly in the middle of an academic year, because of the disruption to education.  However, it is a reality and while the last week has been a very tough one for the CCT community, I can confirm that we as a staff have worked tirelessly and constantly to transition to a flipped classroom / online based approach to teaching and learning to continue your education journey with the College, and without compromising the integrity or standards of your programmes.  This is a nationwide effort right across the higher education sector, and with the approval of our national regulatory body – Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).  The aim here is to continue and finish your current academic year.  Our efforts are guided principally with you the student in mind.  We must adhere broadly to our current Academic Year schedule for you all, not least for our Award Year students who we are determined to graduate, should you complete, in November of this year.  We need to all work closely together to achieve these objectives.

The current Irish government advice to close all schools, colleges and universities, is for a period which expires on March 29th.  However, it seems quite reasonable and likely that we will soon receive a directive to remain closed for an extended period.  It is currently highly likely that we may not return to classes before the end of this semester, and that we will not be able to host our normal examinations in exam hall settings over May. We would not be fulfilling our duty to you all if we did not have contingency arrangements in place for the potential provision of alternate methods of assessment, which meet national and international standards, programme learning outcomes and module learning outcomes.

I can advise today that we will not be providing written exams and in-class assessments due to public safety issues with social distancing and college shutdown.  We will replace these assessments with alternative assessments which will be accessible through online means.  These will be nationally accredited, through external examiner approval, and using QQI authorised alternative assessment plans.

As you will appreciate, this takes planning and coordination by your lecturers to ensure the best experience for students and prevent overburdening you with assessment at any given time. It also requires approval by External Examiners. However, we would hope to advise you of the details for each module assessment for this semester, by the end of next week.

Please be assured that this is being dealt with as an urgent priority by your lecturers and senior management, and significant work has been underway for some time now to prepare for this eventuality.

For any assessments scheduled to take place after May 31st, the Academic Council will consider these in mid-April to reach a decision based upon government advice and the perceived public health risk at that time.

Existing arrangements to support students with assessment related matters, such as tutorials, library support classes, PMC and special arrangements or reasonable accommodations will continue to be available to all students through Moodle and other online tools as appropriate. The support services and staff of the College continue to be available for you to contact directly if you have any questions or support needs you wish to discuss. Subsidised counselling is still available through the College Student Services Dept.  Remember, the College remains open and the programmes continue in accordance to the current Academic Year schedule.

With this communication we are hoping to reduce and resolve any uncertainty that you may have had. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding while we progressed this through approval processes necessary to protect the academic standards of our programmes and the award you will receive upon successful completion.  We have worked closely with the Dept of Education, Dept. of Justice, Union of Students in Ireland, and QQI in recent days to ensure everything the government can do is being done for students.  I can assure you that the whole higher ed sector is meeting daily and in correspondence around the clock to ensure the continuation of education and to monitor closely conditions related to student welfare around the country.

Further communication will be issued in due course. In the meantime, please continue to follow the advice of the government and the HSE to protect yourself and each other.

Stay safe and stay in touch with the College.  We will get through this academic year through solidarity, hard work, and our spirit of community.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of help.

Yours in education,
Neil

Neil Gallagher
President, CCT College Dublin

____________________________________

Coronavirus Outbreak – Communication 5
Monday, 16th March 2020, 5:48 PM

Dear Student,
We wanted to reach out to you again in these extraordinary and unprecedented times. Your health and safety and that of our wider college community is our primary concern, which is why we have followed the advice of the government advice last Thursday to close the College to public access.  However, as we communicated last Thursday, we would effect contingency planning around the implementation of tech enabled teaching for the coming weeks.  We are currently contingency planning around the potential of suitable, alternate assessments methods also for previously scheduled examinations.

We appreciate that you are all aware of the health implications of COVID-19 and at this stage are taking action to limit its spread yourselves.  To restate the advice from the HSE, please follow the guidelines around social distancing, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres between yourself and other people.  We also particularly ask that you stay away from crowded places in the weeks ahead and limit your own social interactions.

This does not mean that you should avoid the company of others completely. In fact, it is important for your own mental wellbeing to keep in contact with friends and family; just please maintain social distancing by completely foregoing meeting in groups, especially social gatherings or party environments.

You should also make a point of looking out for each other by checking in with other students who might be lonely or isolated by phoning them, or Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or whatever system you use.  You could also offer your services to volunteer organisations to collect shopping or prescriptions for elderly neighbours or walk their dogs.

Small social gatherings with enough space between participants to follow the HSE social distancing guidelines are still possible. But any events or activities that involve crowds should be avoided until further notice.

We ask you to do this for three reasons. Firstly, to protect yourselves from infection. Secondly, to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect at risk people, some of whom may die if they contract the virus.  And thirdly, to reduce pressure on our healthcare system. There are close to a quarter of a million students in Irish Higher Education and we are in a strong position to reduce the spread of the virus by acting collectively.

Scientific and public health advice tells us that it will take some time before COVID-19 can be contained. You can play your part as an individual by keeping yourself healthy so that the healthcare system can continue to function.

Reputable information that is constantly updated is available from www.hse.ie or from the HSE (@HSELive) and Department of Health (@roinnslainte) Twitter feeds.

We at CCT will do everything in our power to minimise the disruption to your education caused by this outbreak.  Your teachers and support staff at the College will be and have been in touch with you on transitioning to more technology enabled and online learning for a temporary period.

Be kind to each other and take care of yourselves and each other.  Let’s give each other the space to find our way through these challenging times and the time to find humanity and meaning here too.  Let’s do it also in a spirit of solidarity, community, and kindness.

Neil Gallagher
President, CCT College Dublin
______________________________________

Coronavirus Outbreak – Communication 4
Thursday, 12 March 2020, 6:51 PM

The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. In light of today’s announcement by An Taoiseach regarding school, creche, and further and higher ed setting closures, CCT College Dublin is suspending all face-to-face taught provision from 6pm on Thursday 12th March 2020, to Sunday 29th March 2020.

However, this does not mean that learning and assessment stops. The College is in the process of effecting contingency plans to deliver tech enabled provision in an accessible way for staff and students from Monday 16th March 2020 (classes on Thursday 12th March evening and Friday 13th March daytime have been postponed with more info to follow. Also part-time professional Diploma programmes have been postponed on the evening of Monday 16th March). CCT will strive to ensure that the normal schedule of classes will be adhered to using remote access over any period the College campus is not open because of the virus outbreak.

We will be in touch with you soon regarding classes and next steps.

What does this mean for now?

  1. All campus related facilities including library services are suspended for this recommended period until 29th March 2020.
  2. All student social and sports related activities are suspended until further notice
  3. All staff are contactable as normal by email
  4. The College has set up studenthealth@cct.ie email address for any confidential disclosures or indeed any correspondence related to COVID-19 or any individual’s health concerns, staff or students.
  5. We will be making every effort to ensure continuity of learning, support, and communication for you
  6. We have created an FAQ document (here)Coronavirus COVID FAQ March 12 and which is updated as this and further communications are made

To all students, please check your email and Moodle daily and as you would normally.

This is an unprecedented situation for the education sector across Ireland. I would like to thank all of our students for their understanding and cooperation, and thank all of our incredible, dedicated staff for ongoing efforts for continuity of teaching, learning and assessment.

Neil Gallagher, CCT College Dublin President.

________________________________________

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Communication 3
Tuesday, 10 March 2020, 10:01 AM

Students and staff will have seen a couple of communications released through Moodle in the last number of weeks around the emergence of Coronavirus, COVID-19.
Confirmed cases are increasing and will increase further as the virus seems to be spreading across the globe. The risk of contracting the coronavirus in Ireland remains low to moderate.

CCT College Dublin is open and operating as normal and we will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our College community.

The College’s Monitoring and Response Team has been engaged in recent weeks and continues to correspond daily. The health and well-being of our staff and students is paramount and we will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days and weeks. Further updates will be provided here as the situation develops. We have reviewed information from international health agencies (WHO, ECDC and CDC), local government agencies (HSE) and are updating our mitigation measures as required and planning for a range of potential scenarios. CCT is using the Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs info source on international travel advice related to Ireland.

The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we have carefully considered the official advice available to us, and our responsibility to ensure the welfare of the CCT community.

We are going to need your assistance and contributions in helping the College contain the virus. The college has installed hand sanitzers at the main entrance and in other heavy traffic areas of the campus building. Additional cleaning protocols have also been implemented in addition to the regular cleaning contract, to clean door handles, lift buttons and other commonly touched surfaces.

Updates from 10th March 2020

The following decisions have been reluctantly made, but with student and staff safety in mind. We are maintaining a calm, considered and business as usual approach, but one which is vigilant and ready to implement government guidelines and regs, along with supporting the national efforts to contain the virus.

  1. CCT College has suspended all international travel for work purposes in the foreseeable future.
  2. No full-time classes will be held at CCT during Reading Week. This week will be used by faculty and admin alike to work on viable contingency plans around continuation of education in accordance with the Academic Year, using technology enabled solutions.
  3. The CCT Annual Student Ball, scheduled for Friday 13th March next at the Charlemont Hilton Hotel Dublin, is postponed until further notice. It is anticipated and intended to reschedule the 2020 Annual Ball at a more suitable time of the year.
  4. The College has set up studenthealth@cct.ie email address for any confidential disclosures or indeed any correspondence related to COVID-19 or any individual’s health concerns, staff or students. This does not of course rule out face to face interaction.
  5. We have created an FAQ document which can be viewed here and should be read by all students and staff.

Symptoms of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV:

It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of this 2019-nCoV to appear. These symptoms include:

  • Fever (temperature of 38˚C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

Crucial points to remember:

  • There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 at present. But the symptoms of the virus can be treated.
  • Anyone who has been to affected regions in the last 14 days and has a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or fever should self-isolate and phone their GP immediately.
  • The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from Covid-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.
  • If at any point, you think you might have symptoms, do not go to your GP or the hospital, instead call your GP or 999 and follow the instructions provided to you.

What can we do at the moment:

  • Remain vigilant and alert in terms of your own health
  • College lectures / assessment / events / schedule all continues as normal
  • Stay informed with updated and trusted info links such as those below
  • Continue to cooperate with management requests from CCT

____________________________________________

Coronavirus Outbreak / COVID 19 – Communication 2
Friday, 28 February 2020, 1:47 PM

You are probably well aware of developments with the COVID-19 outbreak since our last communication in January 2020. This is a rapidly evolving and fluid situation and we will continue to update you as needed. Please see the linked pdf for a full updated communication as of 28th February.

____________________________________________

Coronavirus Outbreak – Communication 1
Thursday, 30 January 2020, 10:12 PM

CCT College Dublin is aware of the recent coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan City, China and is monitoring the situation. The Department of Public Health, HSE, has provided us with the following advice at this link.