I hope you are all keeping well and safe in these extraordinary times as we all adapt to the ever evolving government and health advice regarding COVID-19.
Following is an update on a number of items of interest to staff, and also to share with you some of the supports and resources we have for students.
Virtual Town Hall
As you may have read yesterday, the Vice-Chancellor will hold a virtual town hall tomorrow to discuss our actions around COVID-19. He will be joined by myself and Mr Mark Gregory, Vice President, Corporate Services. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org today and join the town hall live at 11am tomorrow via https://video.flinders.edu.au/events20/20/VC_Town_Hall.cfm
Community news and social distancing
The University learned late yesterday that a second member of our community was one of the 34 new cases recorded in South Australia yesterday. We have confirmation from the Department of Health and from the individual themselves that they returned from overseas in mid-March and have not been on a Flinders site since returning to Australia. We understand the individual is experiencing mild symptoms and wish them a speedy recovery.
This is a good reminder to all of us that social distancing - whilst difficult at times - is a vital part of what we all need to do to slow the rate of infection.
- Stay 1.5m away from others
- Practice great hygiene including thorough handwashing
- Stay at home if you are unwell
Youth Allowance announcement
We are pleased for our students that the Federal Government has announced new measures to make students receiving Abstudy, Austudy and youth allowance payments eligible for the coronavirus supplement on the same basis as the other jobseeker payments announced on Sunday. Current advice is that the expanded access will begin 27 April 2020 and the information will be on the Centrelink website once it is available.
Update to student services and facilities
We miss seeing our students on campus, but as they transition into more online study, we are moving our support services online too.
Students receive a weekly newsletter Ping! which brings together all the news and updates each week. Tomorrow’s edition will have a full update on our support services for students which are now available online. You can check also these out through the Flinders Support Network website.
Whilst many of our services for students are moving online, our computer labs and spaces for students remain open. We have increased spacing between the work areas so that the areas are in line with the social distancing recommendations and ask users to practice excellent hygiene in these public spaces. These areas are being cleaned more frequently and we have installed extra hand sanitiser in these areas for student use.
The Government restrictions announced on Sunday – whilst important for public health – has sadly meant that Flinders Sports and Fitness, Oasis and the prayers rooms have had to close for now and our food outlets have needed to move to take-away service only. If you can, please support these outlets.
Ongoing information support and advice
Flinders University continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and we are aligning our actions with advice from our federal and state governments. Please check our staff and student websites for regular updates.