I write with very good news compared to that which we heard at the start of the week when some of our Sturt-based staff and students were asked to take a COVID test in response to SA Health’s review of a COVID-19 case last weekend.
I am delighted that all tests came back negative this week and that no Flinders student or staff member has tested positive in this Parafield cluster.
The teams involved in responding to this most recent event did a magnificent job:
- College staff made sure students’ learning could get back on track quickly
- security staff ensured all buildings were secure
- cleaning staff completed a second deep clean of Sturt buildings
- media and communications teams updated media outlets with correct information
- technical staff created solutions at warp speed so we could collect test results for students who needed to go back on placement
- our workplace health and safety team worked closely with SA Health officials to ensure that every possible step was taken to protect the health and wellbeing of Flinders students, staff and our wider community
- and the many others who also mobilised quickly and worked tirelessly to deal with this incident.
Thank you to all who were involved in this response. You’ve collectively demonstrated what can be achieved when we work together in common purpose.
It is easy to look back and wonder whether the inclusion of all staff and students at our Sturt campus in the COVID testing requirement was required. I would rather focus on our very effective contribution towards suppressing this cluster. I do not envy those who have the difficult job of making such testing decisions. These decisions are made with the best public health interest in mind, and the university will continue to follow the advice of our health authorities.
The latest news at a State level is also excellent. We have seen six days now with no new cases. Restrictions on activities are easing, borders are opening and we are facing a much happier run up to the festive season than we feared two weeks ago.
Of courses the virus still exists, and until there is widespread use of an effective vaccine it is likely that Australia will see clusters of cases somewhere across the country. Each cluster will need a swift response which minimises the risk of an outbreak. Whilst we hope we will not be part of a future cluster, we have proven ourselves to be up to the task of responding effectively and so can look forward with confidence.
Welcome back to campus!
With the very positive response this week, I am pleased to confirm that all our campuses and facilities are now open. There is no longer any requirement for staff to work from home, or for a roster to be used to limit who can come onto campus unless needed to meet physical distancing requirements. Everyone is welcome back on all campuses from Monday 7th December, unless of course you are unwell with any symptoms associated with COVID-19, in which case please get tested and remain at home until you get the results.
I recognise that the move back to campus may be more challenging for some staff and in some areas. I encourage managers and supervisors to work through arrangements with staff and provide support and flexibility where needed, in particular for any who may be more vulnerable.
End-of year Staff Forum
The Vice-Chancellor and I will host a forum for all staff next week to give you an update on latest developments and a wrap-up of the year. Details of the time and how to access the forum will be emailed early next week.
Ongoing updates, information and support
If you have any questions or concerns, please email them to email@example.com.
Please check our staff and student websites for regular updates.
I realise that the rapidly changing nature of the situation may cause concern or worry for members of our community. Please remember that our student and staff support networks are available to you throughout this period and this includes access to support through phone, online or telehealth.
Take care and look after each other,