To those of you on campus today, welcome back. It has been a very challenging start to the year for all of us, and while we are doing everything possible to return to normal, conditions in the ACT and NSW will remain changeable for the coming weeks.
There is important information for you to be aware of as we reopen, including general information, support arrangements for staff and emergency information. Please take the time to read this email this morning.
The Acton and Mt Stromlo campuses are still affected by current conditions including smoke, intermittent power outages and continued fire risk. Staff from several Divisions across the University have been working since New Year's Day to keep critical services running and ensure we can reopen. We all owe them our thanks and I ask you to be mindful of the efforts they are still making for all of us.
As we reopen, there are some things you can do to help:
- If you can work from home, we encourage you to do so with the agreement of your supervisor. This will also assist us in reducing the power load and demand on campus.
- Power supply is affected by current conditions, so please be aware that normally available air-conditioning may not be working in some buildings.
- We need to reduce our energy consumption to assist with power outages in the ACT, so we need to minimise our energy use on campus. We therefore ask that you please don't bring in additional fans and air-conditioners. If you feel uncomfortable, please consult with your supervisor about working from home.
- Many buildings are dust and smoke affected, and while we are working to clean them all, please do what you can, such as wiping down your own desk and workspaces.
- Be mindful that our service areas are taking a high volume of calls, so please be patient.
Most importantly, a large number of people in our community have been affected by fires and smoke, so it is important that we band together as the ANU community to look after one another, be kind, and help get the campus operational.
Please note, we are continuing to monitor conditions, and this means the campus could be closed again at short notice. We will notify you immediately via email, SMS, the ANUOK app, the ANU website and our social media. If you have not now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the evacuation procedure for your building, including the location of your building area.
If you haven't registered your emergency number on HORUS yet, now is a good time to do so by following the links on the employee self-service to contact details to register your number.
A suite of staff support services are in place to assist those affected by the fires. These have been published on the ANU website [go to anu.edu.au/news/all-news/bushfire-related-staff-support-services]
Payroll has not been delayed and you will still be paid through normal arrangements.
This is the toughest of summers.
We are all feeling the physical and mental health effects of the fires, smoke and heat. It is important we all care for one another and each other and draw together as a supportive community. Please don't be afraid to seek support.
ANU provides all staff with access to support and counselling through the Employee Assistance program which can be reached on 1800 808 374. Students can access support via ANU Crisis Support Line on 1300 050 327 or via SMS Text message service on 0488 884 170.
You can find additional information on mental health and wellbeing, as well as links to critical services [go to anu.edu.au/news/all-news/taking-care-of-your-health-and-wellbeing].
With fires and smoke having a major impact across the nation, the University strongly encourages everyone to stay up-to-date with emergency advice. The ACT Emergency Services Authority has asked that all people in Canberra and surrounds familiarise themselves with the ESA website at esa.act.gov.au or social media accounts and download the "Fires Near Me" app to their phone.
For those outside of the ACT and surrounds, please check the relevant State emergency authority website. The ABC is the national emergency broadcaster [go to abc.net.au/news/emergency].
In all circumstances, please prioritise your own safety and that of your family by making sure your fire plan is up-to-date and remain aware of the danger where you are, bearing in mind circumstances can change quickly.
Many in our community have been directly affected by the fires and are facing a long recovery. We have put together some information on donating to the bushfire relief effort [go to anu.edu.au/news/all-news/how-you-can-donate-to-bushfire-appeals].
I want to assure you that we are seeking to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors while also making sure we can provide the essential services needed to support our university community.
Professor Mike Calford