University students advised to wear face coverings under new guidelines

New guidelines for third-level institutions have been welcomed by the Irish Universities Association. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Third-level students will be advised to wear face-coverings or visors if they can not properly socially distance under new Government guidelines.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has published advice for the reopening of universities and colleges in the autumn.

A physical distance of two metres should be maintained under all circumstances, if possible.

If this cannot be achieved, face-coverings, visors or barriers should be used.

If teaching cannot be delivered with a two-metre distance between students, a one-metre rule is acceptable.

In a statement this evening the Irish Universities Association (IUA) welcomed the new guidelines. 

Institutes of Technology represented by THEA (Technological Higher Education Association) also greeted the announcement with approval. 

IUA said the guidelines include a range of measures specific to Higher Education settings and have been approved by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). 

"The over-riding objective is to ensure the safe return of all staff and students to on-campus activity this autumn," the statement from IUA said.