Message from the Vice-Chancellor

ACT is going into lockdown from 5pm - moving to remote study and work
12 August 2021

Hello everyone 

I am writing to you about our work and study arrangements in response to the ACT Government's announcement of a seven-day lockdown from 5pm today. We ask that you go home and work or study remotely from tomorrow until the lockdown ends. Please check the ACT Government's list of exposure sites. 

Quickly locking down cities and states has proven effective in stopping widespread transmission of the virus. If we all behave safely and follow health directions, we will be able to return to our "COVID normal" lives as quickly as possible. 

We have been working for many months to prepare for this. We are ready. Our priority is to continue to keep our community safe while we work together to minimise disruptions to those essential teaching and research activities that are the core of ANU. Lockdowns are hard, and I know some of you may be feeling worried or isolated from family or friends. Anyone in difficulty or distress please reach out for support (student support, staff support). If you can find ways to support your friends and colleagues, please do. By working together, we got through lockdown successfully last year, and I know we can do it again now.  

Studying remotely 

Students will be supported to learn online for the duration of the lockdown and your course convenors will be in touch with information about how your courses will be taught remotely. Our teachers have worked very hard to make online content engaging and interactive and we are already delivering online learning to our students who have been unable to return to campus from other areas in lockdown. 

If you are unable to study from home or need special arrangements put in place to facilitate your learning, we encourage you to talk to you Academic College. 

For those students living on campus, please await advice from your residential hall or college (via email) about what living on campus during a lockdown will look like. 

For more information on studying remotely, visit here.

Working remotely 

The message from health authorities is simple: stay at home. This means we are required to work remotely for the duration of the lockdown. However, there are some exceptions for those in our community who need to come to campus to keep our essential operations going. Staff designated as 'essential' to keep our campus going will have been nominated in their colleges or portfolios, and approved as 'essential' by their Dean or Portfolio Head. If you're in doubt about whether you have been designated as 'essential', please check in with your Dean or Portfolio Head.  

There is no need to call security to have access updated. This will happen automatically. 

If you are unable to work from home for safety reasons, or need special arrangements put in place, please talk to your supervisor and email the Community Wellbeing Team at communitywellbeing@anu.edu.au. We take this very seriously, and we are committed to ensuring you are safe and well during lockdown.  

For more information on setting up a workspace at home and working remotely, visit here. You will not be able to come to the campus and to collect items after the lockdown begins. 

Teaching remotely 

Just as there was last year, we have resources in place to help you transition to teaching online. If you need further support, we encourage you to speak with your supervisor. 

For more information on teaching remotely, visit here.

Research activities  

Essential research activities that need to be carried out on campus will continue during the lockdown. Just as with essential work, your college or service division will determine how these will continue during this period and be in touch with those affected. Decisions on what is essential work will be made by your College Dean.  

Further updates 

How we will update you 

Please download the ANUOK app and turn push notifications on to stay informed. When we have urgent updates, we will notify the community through an ANUOK app notification.  

We will also regularly update our COVID-19 website as the situation evolves, including with information about any services that remain open, and I strongly encourage you to check that page as often as possible.  

When we need to hear from you  

Contact our COVID Response Office if you are:  

  • a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19   
  • identified as a close contact or a secondary contact of COVID-19  
  • required to stay at home or quarantine. 

We've been through some tough times as a community. I want to thank you for your patience, support and resilience as we work together to keep our community safe. 

To reiterate, the escalating situation in the ACT may bring feelings of stress and anxiety to some members of the University. I encourage you to reach out for support (student support, staff support). I also ask you to support your colleagues and friends where and when you can.   

We will continue to provide updates as the information becomes available. 

The last thing I want to say is this: we have weathered a lot of tough times in the past couple of years. Like all those previous difficulties, the challenge of this lockdown will also pass - hopefully before too long. While it lasts, take time to look after yourself and those around you. Please know how much I and the University appreciate your efforts to keep going through these turbulent times. Keep well, stay safe and I will see you back on campus soon. 

 

Brian 

 

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