Coronavirus Quarantine Zone Being Created in Roebuck Castle

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UCD have informed a number of students in the catered Roebuck Castle residences that they are required to vacate their apartments in order to ensure there is one apartment on campus available to be used as a quarantine space if necessary.

In an email seen by The University Observer, students were informed that they must vacate their rooms by Friday March 6th so that their rooms could be turned into a quarantine space if a student on campus is confirmed to have the Covid-19 virus. They were told they would be moved to a new room that would be available from today, March 5th.

One of these students spoke to The University Observer upon receiving this email and described the experience as a “major inconvenience”; “This week, my roommates and I have taken multiple trips down to Merville Reception and spent hours on emails to university officials in search for answers. In addition, the moving process has been and will continue to be a major inconvenience — as we are going through midterms and getting ready for our travel plans during the break. Some of my former roommates are leaving the country tonight, for instance, and have had to streamline this process despite the pressure of exams and papers.”

In terms of the support they received from UCD, the student said they were left unsatisfied; “Dealing with UCD has been inefficient for the most part. As I mentioned, we have all taken time out of our days to try to communicate with the appropriate university officials, in person and over email. One roommate in particular has been to Merville every single day this week trying to talk to the Manager of Residential Services but was informed that he was not available every single time. When asking for a way to contact him, she was told that a phone number was private information.

“The liaison on the UCD Residences Service team who first emailed us on Monday now seems to be out of the office too. One roommate recently sent a message and instantly received an Out of Office message, leaving us with no one to talk to.”

In the email this student received, they were informed that the move would be permanent for the rest of the semester and that they would not be returning to their current apartment once they had moved. They said that despite contacting UCD to see if they would receive financial compensation for the inconvenience, they have yet to hear back. “We've asked Residential Services before — citing that this order is in violation of our housing contract with the university. However, they have not gotten back to us yet.”

UCD did not respond to request for comment.

To date, there have been six confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland, and two in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of cases on the island to eight.

In February, a student in the Ashfield residences was taken to hospital and tested for the virus after displaying symptoms similar to that of the Covid-19 virus. The student had recently returned to Ireland from China following the Christmas break. However, they were confirmed not to have the virus.