Update 2 June: statement from Professor Andrew Vann regarding COVID-19

2 JUNE 2020

Update 2 June: statement from Professor Andrew Vann regarding COVID-19

Update, Tuesday 2 June 2020: Charles Sturt University response to COVID-19

Charles Sturt University is taking necessary steps in regard to COVID-19.

The University supports the advice of the Department of Health and is sharing this with staff and students along with all other relevant information and advice.

The health and safety of our staff, students and communities, both domestically and internationally, is of paramount concern to the University and we will continue to liaise with our partners and appropriate bodies to assist in our response.

Phased COVID-19 return plan

The University has been working on our COVID-19 return plan.

We will return gradually from 9 June through to 13 November in a targeted approach to ensure we deliver key face-to-face learning and research activities, with the appropriate safety measures in place.

Students:

  • The majority of students will commence 202060 online with the return of specific cohorts throughout the period for key face-to-face learning.
  • The specific cohorts that will return are approximately 26 subjects in the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts and Education.

Research

  • The majority of Higher degree by research and other research activities are continuing on campus with approval.

Campus services

  • Our campus services such as food and beverage, library services, Student Central and counter services will undergo a phased return with limited services in June and July and increasing services in August, with appropriate hygiene and cleaning in place.

Staff:

  • All staff can work from campus from 13 July with management approval, as long as physical distancing is in place.

We expect that by 16 November, all campus activities will resume, as long as there are no COVID-19 outbreaks.

During the phased return, physical distancing of 1.5 metres needs to be adhered to. We encourage staff and students to download the COVIDSafeapp.

We will progress through these stages in line with Government advice and if this advice or the COVID-19 situation more generally changes, we will respond and our plans will change.

This is a complex project to ensure we get our prioritisation, communications and approach right. The wellbeing of our staff and students is our number one priority.

Census date

Session 1 census date is Friday 27 March 2020. We have a range of options available to support students through their study:

  • Students have the ability to request assessment extensions, re-submission of assessments or to re-sit an exam. These requests will be considered case-by-case.
  • All students are eligible to apply for Approved Withdrawal (AW) throughout Session 1 2020. Approved Withdrawal will allow students who are impacted by COVID-19 to leave a subject without any academic penalty.
  • Students will also be able to apply for a refund of tuition fees throughout Session 1 2020 if granted an Approved Withdrawal
  • We’ll work directly with Higher Degree by Research students on submission dates to ensure students don’t incur further fees.

In addition, the university’s prior decisions remain applicable. These are:

In line with updated advice from the Prime Minister on Wednesday 25 March, library collections in the Learning Commons on campuses are now closed, however library services will continue online.

Any staff member who can work from home has been advised to do so.

  • Student Central counter service is closed, though online and phone services will continue
  • Gyms and pools are closed.
  • Cashiers are closed.
  • Dining areas on campus offer only takeaway services for contactless payments only. We are no longer accepting cash.
  • Residential students will be required to take their food away and ensure social distancing is applied when eating within residences.
  • Residential students who are unwell will have food delivered to their residence by the food and beverage team with appropriate personal protection equipment.
  • Charlie’s store will remain open for contactless purchases only.
  • Residential common areas will remain open and students must abide by social distancing protocols.
  • Additional cleaning will be carried out at serving areas and within Charlie’s outlets.
  • The University has suspended all international travel to 30 April 2020.
  • The University has cancelled non-essential domestic travel.
  • The University cancelled all non-essential events.
  • From Monday 23 March, we started moving to online delivery. Some classes, where it is safe, may still be face-to-face in this transition week.
  • We brought break forward to 30 March for two weeks.
  • Classes will resume Tuesday 14 April and will be online for the remainder of session 1 2020.
  • This includes our Study Centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (delivered in partnership with Study Group Australia).
  • Students in residences are encouraged and supported to leave campus and return home.

Campuses remain open with a reduced number of services in line with government advice.

At this stage, we plan to offer on campus classes through online delivery into Session 2 (202060) starting on Monday 13 July, pending government advice regarding social distancing.

We continue to provide information directly to staff and students via our dedicated online portals.

We are supporting any students affected by the travel restrictions and ensuring our materials are being made available to study online in China. We have the appropriate plans in place should an outbreak occur on our campuses or in our local communities.

We encourage all staff and students to check the latest updates from the Department of Health and follow the advice provided if they have concerns regarding exposure to COVID-19. Alternatively, call the National Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Contingencies in place:

We have mechanisms in place to ensure continuity for our students and staff across all of our campus locations should a COVID-19 outbreak occur. At the preventative stage we have deployed extra sanitiser stations and communications to encourage hand hygiene. In the event of an outbreak, we are prepared for additional cleaning, self-isolation and to close residences, or if necessary an entire campus.

As an experienced provider of online learning, we are now moving students to online modes if face to face is not available. Around this, we have student support services and processes to request extensions or special consideration. Our staff will also have ability to work from home if required. Critical operations have continuity plans to enable us to continue operations should an outbreak occur.

We have also considered the potential for our residences to be required by Health services in the instance they are required by the community.

As a multi-campus university it is really important to us that we have the mechanisms in place to ensure continuity for our students and staff.

More information on Charles Sturt and COVID-19 is available on our dedicated site www.csu.edu.au/covid-19

Media Note:

Jessica Mansour-Nahra on 0447 737 948

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Charles Sturt University