There was good news over the weekend and this morning of continued low number of COVID-19 cases related to the Parafield cluster in SA. Whilst things are looking positive, we are aware this week will be critical in ensuring SA avoids a return to restrictions on people’s movements and activities.
SA Campuses re-opening
As advised on Friday, our SA campuses remain physically closed until Wednesday at which time we will re-open our facilities and services. Of course, we remain fully open online. You can still access the buildings before Wednesday if needed.
Study from home if possible
Whilst we will be physically open from Wednesday, students are asked to follow the advice from the SA government today and to avoid unnecessary travel.
This means that you are advised to only come to campus if you need to attend a scheduled event such as an examination or class activity, or to access services and facilities not accessible to you online. These arrangements will be in place from 25-27 November unless advised otherwise.
If you are unwell you should not come to campus. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should get tested and self-isolate until you get the results.
Students with increased vulnerability to COVID-19 should stay at home wherever possible. Advice on those people with increased vulnerability to COVID-19 is provided by the Federal Department of Health here.
Arrangements for students with exams affected by the SA lockdown
Last week’s lockdown in SA created a number of challenges.
Deans Education, Course Coordinators and Topic Coordinators worked very hard last week to put plans in place for those students who had exams scheduled which were unavoidably disrupted due to the lockdown.
Fortuitously, the number of topics with exams scheduled in the latter part of last week was very small and this has reduced the impact on the large majority of students who have already completed their assessment for Semester 2.
For those students who had Semester 2 final exams or assessments due on or after Wednesday 18 November we have and will put in place the following special considerations in recognition of the disruption – albeit thankfully shorter than it may otherwise have been:
- Any student who had an exam or final assessment disrupted, or who were adversely affected by the events of the week have been given the opportunity to have a deferred examination – usually scheduled for the week of 7th December. Students have not been required to submit evidence of the disruption and all requests have been granted.
- I am aware that many students have continued with their exams or assessments online this week as they had worked hard and were ready to put their study to good effect. For these students delaying the exams further would not have been a good outcome and so they were given the opportunity to complete their work for the year if that was possible.
- All face 2 face exams from 19th November onward were postponed. The re-scheduling of these exams is being made on a topic-by-topic basis and students are being advised of these arrangements. I have asked Deans Education in Colleges to ensure students have reasonable notice of the re-scheduled exams, with at least 5 business days notice of a re-scheduled exam.
- After the release of grades, any student in a Semester 2 graded Topic which had a final exam or assessment scheduled on or after Wednesday 18 November (whether or not the exam was rescheduled, or the student had a deferred exam) may make an application to have any passing grade from that topic conducted this semester changed to a Non-Graded Pass, except:
- topics in some courses which lead to entry into regulated accredited professions – this is due to professional accreditation requirements and these can be confirmed by the College.
- Honours level topics – this is due to the need to use a sufficient number of graded topics to determine the overall Honours grades
- Postgraduate dissertation or research topics – this is due to the need to use research-based topic performance in assessment for higher degree admission or scholarships
The above considerations are in addition to those previously announced, which are:
- After the release of grades for Semester 2 2020, any student in a first-year level topic [ie a topic with a number 1xxx] may make an application to have any passing grade changed to a Non-Graded Pass. This is not changed from that which was previously advised.
- Any student who fails a topic in Semester 2 2020 who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the topic coordinator that they have engaged meaningfully with all topic assessments, will be given the opportunity to demonstrate they have achieved the Topic Learning Outcomes through a further piece of assessment or a supplementary examination.
- Meaningful engagement with topic assessment means that all assessments must have been submitted on time and with a tangible attempt to address the assessment requirements.
- On-time submission includes assessments submitted by a revised due date if an extension has been granted.
Exceptions: Work-integrated learning or placement topics are excluded from these special considerations due to the nature of the activity and assessment process. Any student experiencing difficulty during a work-integrated learning topic should discuss this with their coordinator.
Each College has an Examination Board which reviews and approves the marks and grades for all topics taught in that College. The Examination Boards will pay particular attention to the distribution of grades in each topic this semester compared to previous years. Only increases in marks will be approved for students in a topic if any adjustments are deemed necessary and appropriate.
Support for International Students
I am also pleased to advise that the University last week was able to write to International students to advise them of additional financial support available to support them. The University is also considering further extensions of instalment plans into 2021. If you are an international student and did not receive that email regarding financial support payments, please contact ISS.
COVID-19 information series
Flinders is this week hosting a series of mini lunchtime forums to provide insights and advice on matters of interest to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first session was today with Professor Jonathan Craig, discussing the nature of the virus, its reach and impact, treatment, and the latest in vaccine development. The recording will be available shortly on youtube, or on our Brave lecture page, where advice is also available on this week’s other sessions.
Tomorrow at 12pm we have Professor Danny Eckert talking to us on Improving health and well-being through the science of sleep (view session here), Wednesday Professor Mike Kyrios will be presenting on Everything you wanted to know about making it through a pandemic but were afraid to ask... (view session here at 1pm), and on Thursday Associate Professor Cassandra Star is presenting on Climate activism and the COVID moment: securing the green new deal and climate justice (view session here at 12pm).
Information and support
If you have any questions or concerns please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and please check the student website for regular updates.
I realise that the rapidly changing situation, particularly over the past week, may be a cause for concern or worry for members of our student community. Please remember that the student support services are available to you throughout this period.
Take care and look after each other,