COVID-19 clusters in New South Wales and Victoria have reached the point where authorities are suggesting it is no longer feasible for those states to achieve a zero COVID status.
It means more than half of Australia's population is living in states that don't expect to return to being coronavirus-free until vaccination levels dramatically improve, if at all, and lockdowns are set to stretch well into spring as those states pursue suppression strategies while vaccinations occur.
As a result South Australia is adjoined by states with community active COVID cases, and we can expect border restrictions to remain for some time.
As you would be aware, Flinders University has followed SA Health advice throughout this pandemic and that includes in relation to travel.
I’d like to remind students that interstate travel should not be undertaken unless for exceptional circumstances due to the high uncertainty and constant changing of border restrictions in response to COVID-19 outbreaks.
This recommendation to not travel interstate applies to all fieldwork, WIL placements and other reasons such as conferences.
If you believe your study success makes travel interstate necessary, please liaise with your topic coordinator to ensure the following conditions can be met:
- Approval from College leadership.
- The travel must not breach any SA Government travel restrictions – such as to a declared exposure site, or require entry/ exit via a restricted State or Territory border crossing.
- An acknowledgement the individual will be responsible for all costs associated with any required quarantine or self-isolation.
- An assurance you’re able to meet government requirements around social distancing, hygiene and infection control for the travel, the accommodation and the activity.
Meanwhile, careful consideration should be given prior to travel within South Australia, and the Northern Territory too. You’ll be aware from experiences in recent days that risks remain – for example essential workers transiting through SA who turned out to be covid positive. As Professor Spurrier very eloquently put it, the virus doesn’t travel, people travel. The more we can minimise our movements, the lesser the risk.
Another way you can help minimise risk is by getting vaccinated, and we encourage anyone who can get vaccinated to please do so. It’s worth remembering that some placement providers may decline to host a student who isn’t vaccinated, so acting early may help avoid disruption to your studies.
Thorough hand hygiene and mask wearing also remain very effective ways of curbing transmission. And please remember that not everyone can wear a mask, especially those living with disabilities and those with health conditions, so please be considerate – wearing your mask helps protect them too.
If you have concerns or need support, counselling is at hand. If you’re facing financial difficulty FUSA offers emergency support. You can stay in touch with latest updates at our COVID webpage. Meantime, stay safe and well.
Professor Deborah West
Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students)