I hope you are enjoying a safe, restful and happy break.
I returned from my leave today and it seems that the world has not magically reset itself back to 2019 over the past few weeks, with COVID-19 outbreaks across Australia and the world making planning our return to campus for Semester 1 more challenging than we had hoped.
For our students overseas, while we continue to explore all options with the ACT and Federal Governments, it looks like our plans for returning international students will be further delayed - I am sorry, and I know how incredibly disappointing this will be. Although there have been lots of developments recently with the roll out of COVID vaccinations overseas, travel restrictions are still preventing our offshore community from joining us on campus for at least the first part of this semester. We will continue to look for creative solutions for you all, but in the meantime, we'll ensure our classes and events continue to be delivered online and in person, so no matter where you are located, you can stay engaged with campus life.
For our student residents in Australia. Over the past few weeks, our teams have been working closely with ACT Health to develop safe and feasible quarantine plans for students who might be joining us from currently declared COVID hotspots in Australia.
With low community transmission numbers in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland recorded over the weekend, our hope is these plans won't need to be enacted. However, if 2020 taught us anything, it's to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
For the time being, there are no restrictions on people from areas other than the NSW COVID hotspots from entering the ACT. If you are driving through New South Wales, however, you must not stop in the Greater Sydney (including Northern Beaches), Central Coast and Wollongong Local Government Areas.
For continuing students in currently declared COVID hotspots, please complete this short online form to provide us with the information we need to assist with your travel to, and arrival in, the ACT. You should also be reviewing the ACT Health website regularly to ensure your travel plans adhere to the current guidelines.
Professor Sally Wheeler will be hosting several virtual forums this week for students, with one specifically for returning students on Friday 15 January. I encourage you to participate if you have any questions you'd like to ask about returning to campus in 2021.
I look forward to seeing you all around campus soon and I hope you enjoy the remainder of your break.
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