Dear Staff and Students,
This has been an interesting week for those of us in South Australia, as well as for those watching with interest from elsewhere.
As you may already have heard, the South Australian government has today announced there will be significant lifting of restrictions from midnight on Saturday; in particular there will be lifting of the Stay-at-Home direction.
At the time of writing we have not yet had confirmation that universities will be allowed to re-open and we will confirm for you once that advice has been received.
We had expected and planned for our South Australian campuses to be closed for six days from 19-24 November. I’d like to extend my thanks to our entire University community who have so rapidly responded to the State-Wide lockdown.
We also recognise that the move back to campus-based operations will require some time to put into effect.
If and when we receive confirmation that we can re-open, we will physically open our SA campuses at 7am on Wednesday 25 November.
Staff may work from home as originally advised until that point, returning to work on campus on Wednesday 25 November.
Staff and students will be free and welcome to come back onto campus following the lifting of the Stay-at-Home restrictions, noting that our usual services will not be open until Wednesday next week. In effect, the campus will operate as it does on a weekend on Monday and Tuesday next week. If staff are planning to come to campus on Monday or Tuesday, please advise your supervisor.
The 24-hour access areas of the library will be open, as will the computer labs.
I can also confirm that Sturt campus will be open from Wednesday 25 November if other campuses are able to open. We have had confirmation from SA Health this afternoon that the campus is not a ‘hotspot’ and there are no requirements for quarantine, self-isolation or COVID testing of staff or students who were at Sturt in recent weeks. The University undertook additional deep cleaning of the Sturt campus out of an abundance of caution this week. Whilst this may have been more than was necessary, we acted pre-emptively as a precaution.
No Flinders student or staff member has tested positive to COVID-19 as part of the current cluster of cases and we are gratefully reassured that we can begin to get back to ‘COVID-normal’.
I am aware that students who had exams or other assessments scheduled this week and next have been disrupted. Topic Coordinators will (and have) granted deferred assessments if requested by these students. We are also aware that many students preferred to continue with their exams so that they could finish their topics as planned. We will continue to extend as much consideration as possible to all these students. Further advice will be issued on Monday to students advising of other arrangements that will be put in place to ensure that no student is disadvantaged. Should the disruption be causing you concern with your assessment, please contact your Topic Coordinator to discuss your options.
As mentioned in yesterday’s update, Professor Jonathan Craig, Vice-President and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health, will present a webinar on the epidemiology of the novel coronavirus currently active in our state on Monday. This webinar is now the first in next week’s mini Brave series, Braving COVID – Information and inspiration during challenging times. The invitation to this mini-series of lunch-time webinars will be circulated shortly.
Whilst the immediate concerns are thankfully reduced, it is timely to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and all the previous health advice still applies: maintain physical distancing and great hygiene, wash your hands and stay home if unwell. Masks are recommended but not required and please follow the guidance from SA Health if you are unsure when and where to get a COVID test if needed.
Stay safe and well, and I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend.