Activity in all third-level colleges will be more restricted than initially planned for the next few weeks, as tighter public health measures are imposed across the sector countrywide.
Higher education institutions in Dublin are already operating stricter rules, and now the same will apply elsewhere.
Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said the enhanced protective arrangements were in line with public health advice.
He denied the move fuelled a narrative that young people were spreading the virus, instead saying it was simply about the virus thriving when significant numbers of people were travelling or socialising.
Mr Harris was asked about the prospect of a reduction or partial refund of student contribution in the Budget and replied: “The Budget could see anything happen in it.” He then said he didn’t mean to be flippant.
The Irish Universities Association (IUA) said the focus of the next two to three weeks would be on limiting the cross-country movement of students and avoiding congregation of large groups on campus.
While university libraries will stay open and research activities will continue as normal, social/club activities on campus will be suspended until further notice.
The IUA said universities would use discretion when deciding between onsite and remote options for the scheduling of particular activities where remote delivery is feasible.
The Institute of Technology Carlow said its focus was on limiting the movement of students and avoiding congregation of large groups on campus, but said the orientation for first years, scheduled for the campus next week, would go ahead.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has asked students to consider whether they should travel to rented accommodation in light of the new restrictions.