Reopening of GCI / GBS

English Language

Reopening of Galway Cultural Institute & Galway Business School

Posted 28 August

Ready to go

Galway Cultural Institute is proud to announce that we are finally reopening next week August 31st and of course we are planning to reopen in a very careful and phased manner. The safety of our students is our main priority and will adhere to all health and safety protocols, as outlined by the Irish government. We will take a soft and prudent approach to welcoming back our students and staff. 

This means that we have followed the Irish government and industry Covid-19 guidelines for reopening our school to students and staff. This includes having risk assessments in place and a process for maintaining cleanliness and social distancing throughout our school.

The safe reopening of schools is our greatest focus right now and also, cooperation, patience and goodwill by all will be of the utmost importance. 

Dealing with reopening our school and limiting the spread of the Covid 19 virus is a difficult and dynamic situation with recommendations changing daily and weekly. Some things will work well and some will need changing as the school year progresses. We are doing our utmost to ensure we are following all the relevant Department guidelines to limit the spread of Covid19 and make our school safe for the return of our students and staff on August 31st.

Here is some information about the safety measures we will have in place to ensure the safety of our staff and students.

Is the school fully closed now?

While our building has been closed since 16 March 2020, our school has never closed. We moved all our classes online from 30 March for all our existing students and successfully welcomed new students to these online classes in the weeks following the closure of the building.

When is GCI re-opening for students?

We will be reopening for classes on the 31st August 2020. This date is subject to government and Public Health guidelines and recommendations. 

Are there any changes to how classes are delivered?

We will operate a hybrid system of teaching for the foreseeable future, which means that some days the classes will take place face to face in the classrooms while other days the lessons will be delivered online via Zoom.

Class and break times will be staggered to minimise contact on entry, exit, corridor, stairs and in common areas.

Weather permitting, you will be encouraged to take your break in our spacious open deck area connected to Ozone Cafe, where social distancing rules will still apply. Ozone Café will be open as usual with the mention that access to the coffee shop will be available through the outside of the school building.

What are the main changes?

There will have to be some changes to many of our practices and this is inevitable. We have developed behaviours and habits that are second nature to us. Now as staff and students alike we have been asked to reflect and put our practices and routines under the microscope, examine them carefully and plan, adapt and change certain things to make our school a safer environment under the circumstances that we find ourselves in.  

The safety and well-being of our staff and students is our main priority and we have put the following steps and measures in place to manage the risk of infection and facilitate a safe return to the school and classroom.

Staff and students will be required to maintain the recommended social distance at all times.  You will notice the changes upon arrival into school grounds and the guidelines we have introduced include the following:

  • Social distancing signposts and markings throughout the building
  • Hand sanitiser at each entrance/exit and around the building
  • Protective screens at reception area
  • Social distancing inside the classrooms and clearly delimited spaces between teachers and students 
Social distancing signage  in place

Social distancing signage in place

What is our objective in having COVID 19 control measures and supports in place?

  • To support the protection of public health, including of all students, staff and the wider community.
  • To implement and to support measures to manage the arrival and restriction of movements of international students for 14 days in order to support the protection of public health.
  • To provide assurance that international students can arrive safely, and can be accommodated in restricting their movements within the first 14 day period post-arrival. 

Returning to school

Galway Business School & Galway Cultural Institute have adopted the following control measures to protect the health and safety of all our students and staff:

  • Implemented a queue management system with correct distance markings. A one-way system will be clearly signed for entry and exit of students and staff
  • We are taking everyone’s temperature each day on arrival
  • Only one class can use the stairs at any one time, while maintaining social distancing
  • Floor markings will be used to ensure social distance in areas where queues will form or to maintain spacing in classrooms.
  • Cleaning of the school will be increased. Frequently touched surfaces will be thoroughly and regularly cleaned.
  • Hand sanitizers will be provided around the school and signage will reinforce the importance of hand cleaning and coughing/ sneezing protocols.
  • We require that students bring face coverings. These should be worn in class and in common areas throughout the school.
  • Staff and students will be required to sanitize their hands-on arrival and to continue to sanitize at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Set up screens at reception window and taken out couches for social distancing and congregation prevention
  • Opted to encourage use of card payment methods
  • Staggered the use of staff canteen / café / toilet facilities
  • Reduced office density /support staff through working from home arrangements
  • Moved to video/virtual meetings;
  • Limited the number of physical meetings including length and proximity
Sanitising stations

Sanitising stations

Returning to the classroom

This September presents a very different reopening for our whole school and many of the changes to our routines and practices are a consequence of the mandatory requirements set out by the relevant Departments of Government.

  • All level classes will be assigned a room, which will not change
  • Students will be assigned their own desk for the duration of their course
  • Classrooms will be large enough to accommodate all students and their teacher while maintaining the recommended social distancing
  • Classes will be assigned one teacher as much as possible
  • Classes will also be organised to minimise the number of students and staff you have contact with, creating class bubbles where possible.
  • All supplementary material will be provided digitally on our Moodle learning platform.
  • Allocated times for collections/appointments/deliveries to reception/offices
  • Ceased the library & study rooms services temporarily

If you have booked afternoon lessons, these will be delivered in virtual format, in line with current Department of Education guidelines.

Can I still book a course with GCI?

Yes, you can.

We are offering a special promotion for General English courses starting from September onward, where you can save up to 25% on course fees. Read more about the special offer here.

You can still book online courses if you wish to study remotely from your own country in a hybrid style delivery mode.

Will all courses be available face-to-face?

Not all courses will be available immediately. We are running General English, Combination courses and One to One, Cambridge and IELTS exam preparation classes. 

If a course is not available in the school, it may be available as an online alternative.

Galway 2020

Culture is very much back on the calendar this September as Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture’s re-imagined programme gets underway. Studying English in Galway always brings a host of cultural opportunities, because of the city’s rich tradition in music, the arts, and theatre but the following months will be even more special with Galway 2020 launching a range of exciting events throughout the city, of course acutely aware of the public health guidelines. 

Study in the heart of Galway, Ireland