COVID-19 update – 17 March 2020

17 March 2020

Hello everyone 

The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly and it's important that we all know what ANU is doing to respond. This email covers:  

Remote learning

Our academic colleges are working to put courses online so students can study away from campus or within their campus accommodation. Remote participation will help to reduce the possible transmission of the virus. It will also mean we can minimise disruption to semester 1 if there are further measures put in place.  

We've already implemented remote learning for more than 3,000 students affected by travel restrictions and are working to move to remote learning for all ANU students where possible. This means most courses will start to transition to remote learning from next week, with lectures delivered via Echo360 or other platforms. Many tutorials will also shift from face-to-face learning to teleconferencing platforms such as Zoom. For courses where remote participation isn't possible, such as labs, or studio work, you'll be asked to follow social distancing protocols and implement increased hygiene measures. I know these changes are disruptive, but doing it now means we increase our chances of completing the semester. 

I want to take a moment to thank our staff who are working incredibly hard to continue to deliver a great learning experience for our students despite the changing landscape. This year has tested our community, and I am very proud of the way we are all responding to its challenges.  

If you are a student, you'll be contacted by your academic college with an update on remote learning plans and next steps for your courses. This includes whether and when you will be required to come to campus (for lab work, for example). Please check your student email and WATTLE for updates. All questions about remote learning should be directed to your academic college using the contact details below. 

What do I need to do?

If you are already studying remotely due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, please continue with your study plan as discussed with your academic college.  

If you are currently studying on campus, please follow instructions from your academic college. All colleges will contact their students directly to explain how remote learning will affect your classes and tutorials. Please check your student e-mail regularly. 

Self-isolation after returning from overseas 

We'll support all staff and students returning from overseas on university-approved travel or university-approved study abroad to self-isolate for 14 days. This is in line with the updated Australian Government travel requirements for all arrivals into Australia.  

It's important that we know when you are returning so we can do our best to support you whether you're self-isolating in your home or in university accommodation. Please contact your supervisor and the Community Wellbeing team or phone +61 2 6125 3346 (option 1) during AEDT business hours. 

For more information on self-isolation please visit the Department of Health website

What we are doing in our student residences 

ANU is a vibrant and wonderful community with more than 6,000 students calling our campus home. We've been working hard to ensure that everyone on campus is not only safe but are able to enjoy all that our campus has to offer. 

Across our student residences we're implementing considered social distancing measures for our dining halls, kitchens and self-catering. We've also reformatted social and academic support events and activities so that they have smaller numbers (25 people or less) and in some cases, these will be offered as online connections - we're being creative to ensure pastoral care and community wellbeing are maintained.  

All this has been done in partnership with student leaders across our residences who have shown consideration, carefulness and commitment to both the rich residential experience and the wellbeing and safety of our entire community.  

We're also providing diligent practical and pastoral support for anyone in our residences who may need to self-isolate. We have thorough processes in places which are working smoothly, and which continue to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.  We also have protocols in place to track returning students' travel routes and health; and assist them, if required, to self-isolate by providing self-contained rooms with their own bathrooms and kitchens. We have also supported several students to undergo testing for the virus, all of whom have received a negative result. This is in accordance with the directions from ACT Health. 

Any student who is feeling ill from non COVID-19 related symptoms, should practice sensible precautions as you normally would. Residences will assist students to keep accessing meals and bathroom facilities as would occur at any other time. 

Things you need to know 

Social Distancing

Act as if you have COVID-19 and behave as if you are conscious of passing it on! We should attempt to keep 1.5 metres between ourselves and other people where possible. I understand this is not always achievable but being mindful of this in public places can help. You should also maintain this distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.  

We have a range of social distancing measures in place, all of which can be found on our website.   

What to do if you're sick  

Stay home if you become unwell. 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. If you are due to work at ANU but cannot attend because you are required to self-isolate you will not be financially penalised.   

Mental Health Care  

We're all feeling the physical and mental health effects of this year. It's important we all care for one another and each other and come together as a supportive community. Please don't be afraid to seek support.    

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

Now more than ever, we need to be kind to one another and support everyone in our community.