Any year can bring its challenges, but for many of you this year has brought more than most.
As we farewell an extraordinary Semester 1 and prepare for the start of Semester 2 next week, it is worth reflecting on how much has been achieved.
It has been inspiring to see the way our staff (and our students) have shown resilience, commitment, and compassion for one another throughout this semester.
Thank you for all you have done.
Whatever we face in coming months, it is clear that our staff can respond with agility and innovation.
I am mindful that the news across Australia about COVID-19 is not as positive as it was just a few weeks ago. Whilst most of us are enjoying regained freedoms on gatherings and activities, our thoughts are with those in Victoria and in some parts of NSW who are facing further challenges.
You will no doubt be aware of continued restrictions on travel across State and Territory borders. The restrictions on crossing the SA-Victoria border are particularly strict and can change with little notice.
At this time and for the foreseeable future, interstate travel should be reconsidered and will need approval from your Vice-President and Executive Dean or Head of Portfolio.
International Travel is not permitted for staff members or students.
Inbound to Australia international travel is only permitted under extremely limited circumstances and with very strict quarantine requirements as specified by State and Federal agencies.
There is no indication of when this restriction will be lifted, and it would be prudent to assume that this restriction will remain for at least the rest of this year.
Please contact the WHS unit if you have any enquiries relating to current restrictions.
Orientation for our new students began this week. We are delighted to be welcoming over 2,600 new students to the University commencing in Semester 2. Some of these new students include international students who will start their course online in their home country before travelling to Australia when it is safe and possible to do so.
Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to all our new students wherever they may be.
For those who may not be aware, arrangements for Semester 2 teaching are that teaching activities such as seminars, tutorials, practical and laboratory work are re-commencing face-to-face in COVID-Safe environments, with online options available to ensure students who cannot attend campus can still continue to study. Lectures which involve gatherings of much larger groups of students will be delivered online.
Health and Hygiene
As more people return to our campuses it is timely to remind ourselves of the need for continued vigilance relating to health and hygiene.
This coming semester we will have fewer students than normal in each classroom, and additional spacing requirements are in place for public spaces such as computer labs and food outlets. Cleaning services have been increased and hand sanitiser and reminder notices are in place throughout the campus.
Nevertheless, it is every one’s responsibility to keep the campus as safe a place as possible.
The recent outbreaks in Victoria and NSW are timely reminders to all of us of the criticality of everyone practising good hygiene and physical distancing .
In addition, staff must not attend university if they are unwell, even with only very mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, sore throat, blocked or runny nose, fever or loss of taste or smell).
Students have also been advised of these requirements and will not be penalised for not attending class because they are unwell.
The Employee Assistance Program is available for all staff, further information for which can be accessed at this link.
Take care and look out for each other,
Professor Clare Pollock