Social distancing in teaching spaces – Semester 2

Information for teaching staff
7 July 2020

Message to teaching staff from Professor Grady Venville, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) on 7 July 2020

Dear colleagues, 

I trust you are keeping well. As Semester 2 approaches, and we look forward to welcoming students back to campus, I wanted to provide an update on how we will continue our COVIDSafe practices in our teaching spaces. 

Like most other aspects of life, Semester 2 teaching will look very different as we get used to our new normal. As teachers, you have an important part to play in ensuring the health and safety of our staff and students. Our students will be relying on your guidance and support on how to maintain their health and safety. 

What will not change is your responsibility as a teacher to operate a safe teaching environment. What will change is that the type of directions you may be required to give your students will be different this semester. For example, we expect you to identify when students are not practicing social distancing, and to request students respect the ANU Guidelines. I will be reminding students they have a responsibility to protect their own, their peers' and their teachers' health and safety. Please feel free to issue a similar friendly reminder ahead of each class. It is important that you become familiar with the Guidelines including hygiene measures, social/physical distancing requirements and requirements for the teaching environment. You can read the University's return to campus Guidelines and expectations of COVIDSafe practices here.  I recommend sections 5.1 to 5.3 (p. 11 - 13) as the most relevant to teaching.  

All teaching spaces are different so there'll be no one size fits all. I trust you will be able to apply the Guidelines to your teaching context. We understand this may be challenging and we will support you through this. If at any point students do not respond to your direction, or behave in ways that are not COVIDSafe, assistance is available to you. As a general guide during interactions with students, please follow the "three strikes" behaviour approach:  

  1. Politely direct students to respect and enact COVIDSafe practices. 
  2. For the safety of staff and students, ask non-conforming students to leave the classroom. 
  3. If students continue to behave in inappropriate ways, call security.  

Good practice, if space allows it, would be to keep the front row, partial front row or lectern area free of students so that you can project your voice and move freely without concerns for your own safety  and  the safety of your students. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student and University Experience) Professor Ian Anderson and I will be hosting a virtual forum for teaching staff on Monday 13 July, where you can ask specific questions about your teaching space or seek further clarification. We encourage you to join this forum to ask questions and to share suggestions. You can register for the forum here.  

Thank you to all staff for your incredible work and support for our students. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)