Message to students from Professor Ian Anderson AO, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student & University Experience) via On&Off Campus on Tuesday 27 October.
It's been a tough year and as we approach the end of this semester, we're all looking forward to seeing our family and friends. Some of you have asked for advice on whether you should leave Canberra to go home during the summer break and I'll try and answer your questions below.
Our advice is that this is a decision for you to make taking into consideration your mental health and your finances, among other issues.
We don't yet know how the border situation will change over the summer months - and although we are hopeful that international borders may reopen, it is possible that closures will continue, or outbreaks of COVID in Australia may affect travel between states and territories, as we have seen this year. For our students looking at returning overseas, this may mean you can't return to Australia in the New Year, and you should consider this before you make plans.
International Student Pilot Program
We're still working on ways to bring our international students safely home to Canberra through our International Student Pilot Program, but we don't yet have confirmation when this may proceed. Our Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) provided the latest update on the pilot program and international student return last week here and we'll keep you updated as we have more information.
Connecting with our community during the summer break
If you are currently in Canberra, we encourage you to consider remaining here during the holidays and enjoying the campus activities on offer, as well as exploring the Canberra region. For those located away from campus, we'll have a suite of events and activities to keep you engaged with campus, and connect you to fellow students, staff and the Canberra community.
We're working on a program of activities, summer courses, accommodation options, and support and wellbeing resources to keep you connected to our ANU and broader Canberra community during the holidays. There will be options for students staying in Canberra and those of you engaging online.
An expression of interest for this program will be going out very soon. If you're interested in engaging with the summer program, stay tuned!
Travelling to or from the ACT - within Australia
The COVID situation in Australia is improving and whilst easing of restrictions provides more freedom, it doesn't mean that we're back to normal. We're all excited to get out and about in the warmer weather, and we have updated our travel guidance to help you make decisions about travelling in a COVID-safe way.
Please follow ACT Health advice and always be mindful of the ABC of COVID-safe travel:
Avoid COVID-affected areas - check the COVID website of the state or territory you are travelling to, including advice on check in and contact tracing apps in the region for your safety. If you wish to welcome relatives or visitors from interstate, you may wish to discuss precautionary isolation if they are from a state or territory with active cases, and discuss cancelling or postponing the visit if more cases emerge or you are feeling unwell.
Behave in a COVID-safe way - be vigilant with hand and respiratory hygiene, maintain physical distancing from other groups, and stay home if feeling unwell. Talk with your interstate visitors about keeping COVID-safe in the ACT. You may wish to download the Check In CBR app to help them stay safe in Canberra.
Check back when you're home - monitor the COVID website of the state or territory you visited for two weeks to see if they had any cases. Follow the website's advice about testing and self-isolation. If you feel unwell with COVID symptoms while away or when you return, please get tested immediately, notify CommunityWellbeing@anu.edu.au and self-isolate until you get the result.
Please access support if you need it. We have a number of free support services available for our students. It's okay to need a little extra support for your mental and physical wellbeing - 2020 has been a year like no other.
If you are isolating, have been tested, or have a confirmed positive result for COVID-19, please don't forget to contact CommunityWellbeing@anu.edu.au. This keeps our community safe, and ensures we can support you.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please get in touch.
Professor Ian Anderson AO
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student and University Experience)