COVID-19 staff update – 18 March 2020

18 March 2020

Message for staff

There comes a time in every challenging situation to pause and regroup and make sure we are able to keep doing what we do best for the long term.

This is that moment for COVID-19.

Today, the Prime Minister stated that the actions we all take to meet this challenge will need to be for at least six months.

Today I have decided to pause all coursework teaching for one week from Monday 23 March. This means there will be an additional week of teaching after the mid-semester break. We will list any exceptions tomorrow.

This pause will allow the University to focus on four priorities:

  1. Finalising moving our courses to remote learning so we can finish semester one and continue teaching for the rest of the year;
  2. Focusing on safely bringing home staff and students who are currently overseas;
  3. Setting up work from home arrangements for when they are needed, and
  4. Finalising local level business continuity plans.

The University remains open, including libraries, childcare centres, retail outlets and residential halls. Our students are being encouraged to continue studying during this week. Staff and students are strongly encouraged to limit domestic travel to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

This pause is also an opportunity to trial working from home, in consultation with your supervisor. Further information on working from home arrangements will be available tomorrow, including information on IT and safe working.

Classes will resume on Monday 30 March, with the two week mid-semester break occurring as planned. Semester one will be extended by one week to allow for this pause, and the timing of the end of semester and exam period will be adjusted to accommodate this, as below:

  • One week pause: Monday 23 to Friday 27 March
  • Classes resume: Monday 30 March (new Week 5)
  • Mid-semester break: Monday 6 April to Friday 17 April
  • Return from mid-semester break: Monday 20 April (new Week 6)
  • End of teaching: Friday 5 June (new Week 12)
  • Semester one exam period: Thursday 11-Saturday 27 June

During the pause all staff, including casuals, will continue to be paid their usual fortnightly pay, and the pause will not affect any planned leave or self-isolation arrangements.

I understand this may be disruptive and I apologise for the inconvenience. But I do not make this decision lightly. It is in the best interests of maintaining the health and wellbeing of our community, as well as our key operations.

The Community Wellbeing team will continue to work with and support members of our community who are returning home from overseas, and to ensure that staff, students and members of our community have access to travel support, accommodation, food and other essential requirements and services during the mandatory self-isolation period following return to Australia. The team can be contacted on email at, by calling +612 6125 3346 (option 1) during business hours, or calling ANU Security outside of business hours.

If you are feeling worried, anxious or need some support, please make use of the counselling services available to the ANU Community.

Staff and their family members can access free support and counselling through the Employee Assistance program which can be reached on 1800 808 374 (this number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week).

More details can be found at

Students can access support via ANU Crisis Support Line on 1300 050 327 or via SMS Text message service on 0488 884 170.      

If you become ill during the course of the next week, please stay home. This includes if you develop a fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, or muscle pain. Call your GP and seek medical advice.

For urgent or life-threatening situations, please continue to call 000 in the first instance, and then ANU Security on +612 6125 2249.

We're all feeling the pressure, so we need to be kind to one another, even when stressed. I thank you all for your continued generosity and patience. These are challenging times. But working together we can and will rise to meet these challenges.