In recent days we have seen very low numbers of new COVID-19 cases related to the Parafield cluster in South Australia. The containment of the cluster is extremely pleasing and shows how well the community in SA has responded to the initial concerns. We cannot be complacent, but it appears we can begin to look forward to a speedy return to how we were positioned at the beginning of November.
Working arrangements for SA-based staff
Our SA campuses re-opened physically on Wednesday 25 November and we have returned to providing in-person services for our staff and students. This is particularly important as we continue to research and teach throughout the year and have important activities happening as we bring this year to a close and also prepare for the start of next year.
As an example, this week our re-enrolments opened for 2021. This is a critical activity for the University to ensure our continuing students can and do enrol for next year. Thank you to all who are supporting this process so our students can return to join us to study next year.
On Tuesday 24 November I advised that SA-based staff could work from home in consultation with the supervisors and managers up to today, Friday 27 November if their work could be completed effectively from off-campus. Team splitting and rostering was encouraged for those staff who want or are required to come onto campus.
A similar approach will be taken next week (30 November-4 December), followed by a return to normal working arrangements on Monday 7 December when staff return to complete the academic year with their colleagues on campus.
Managers and/or supervisors are asked to advise their staff members if they are required to be on campus next week, if they may work from home, or the roster pattern which will be used for those staff alternating working on campus and working at home next week.
Staff with increased vulnerability to COVID-19 should work from home next week. Advice on those people with increased vulnerability to COVID-19 is provided by the Federal Department of Health here.
The reduction in the number of staff on campus helps those staff who are required to come onto campus to increase physical distancing for another week.
Restrictions on Activities and Gatherings
In South Australia there are still limitations on activities and gatherings.
Today the Premier announced some restrictions would lift from next Tuesday, 1 December, including for example, a move to allow 1 person per 2sqm in outdoor settings and an increase in the maximum number of people who can gather at a private function to 150.
There is still a requirement for 4sqm per person at an indoor venue and there can be no shared food utensils, shared food or shared drinks.
As we approach what would usually be a festive time when we would come together to celebrate with family, friends and work colleagues, I urge you all to be aware of the current restrictions, act responsibly, and plan a COVID-Safe way to mark the end of the year.
You can find details of the current restrictions here.
Travel for SA-based residents
People are advised to only travel if necessary. Work-related travel within SA is permitted, but you are asked to review the need for this travel to see if it can be delayed or if the outcome can be achieved in another way. Interstate travel still requires approval from the VP&ED or Portfolio Head. This is because there are restrictions on people entering some other states from SA which means that interstate travel is either not possible, or incurs financial cost and personal inconvenience. The SA Government’s COVID website has the latest travel information. From Tuesday 1 December there are no restrictions or quarantine requirements for people arriving from Victoria.
As advised previously, SA Health advises face masks are an additional physical barrier and help to stop the spread of COVID-19. You are encouraged to wear a mask when you cannot maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5m. Mask wearing is not mandatory, except in some specific health and care settings, but it is encouraged.
COVID-19 information series
The COVID-19 mini lunchtime forums held this week have been very popular with staff, students and the broader community. If you missed these, the recordings are available on youtube, or on our Brave lecture page.
Information and support
If you have any questions or concerns please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and please check the staff websites 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 community. Please remember that the staff support network is available to you throughout this period.
Take care and look after each other,