Aontú Limerick asking 3rd level institutions for increased awareness on reducing contacts amongst student bodyThe Aontú Representative for the Castletroy & Annacotty area of Limerick, Eric Nelligan, is asking the governing bodies of the city’s 3rd level colleges to run an immediate awareness campaign and to increase monitoring of locations where gatherings can occur.
Over the past week the Aontú representative has been contacted by numerous locals who live in the vicinity of these educational institutions concerned with the return of students who do not appear to be following social distancing guidelines, ‘I live a short distance from the University of Limerick, I can see the flags of the college gates when I look out my kitchen window, there has been a marked increase in young people over the past fortnight. Two weeks ago the foreign and Erasmus students began arriving, last week it was the return of Irish based students’.
The latest Covid numbers for the 6 divisional areas in Limerick have shown a large jump in confirmed cases for Limerick City East where the University is situated. This week’s figures show that Limerick City East now has the highest number of cases coupled with the largest growth, the previous weeks figures had the locality in 4th out of the six Local Electoral area for numbers and growth.
I am asking all governing bodies and student’s representative groups to contact via all channels available every student they can and remind them of their obligations under level 5 protocols with particular focus on social interaction and gatherings. It would be no harm either to remind students of penalties that could be applied in the event of charges being brought against students for breeching college regulations.
This need is more so important for the international students who may be arriving in Ireland for the first time, ‘these students may not be familiar with the restrictions in Ireland and may unwittingly land themselves in trouble, an accurate and appropriate warming that can be translated into various languages will prevent a lot of needless trouble down the line’. We want these students to enjoy and appreciate our country, being brought in front of a disciplinary committee will not set the right tone in that regard.
Reports are emerging of the Gardaí have begun issuing fines and penalty notices in the Castletroy area where students in UL are most likely to live. Similar patterns were recorded when Colleges returned last September, this resulted in areas with high student numbers recording Covid cases far in excess of the national average. ‘HSE documents show that 18-25 year old age group are a significant driver of the continuous spread of the virus, thankfully they are the age group most likely to recover, however they may unwittingly pass Covid onto a person more susceptible, they need to be cognisant of their older families, relations and neighbours. It would reflect poorly on the 3rd level sector if a rebound in case numbers emerged from these possible clusters, the local residential communities would not take this news well’.
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