Wednesday, 18 March 2020

The University of Western Australia will ramp up campus health and safety measures and move to online teaching from next Monday 23 March, in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Den Hollander said the University campus remained safe and staff were well prepared and continuing to follow all Federal and State Government advice.

“As a university committed to research, we must continue to take a calm and evidence-based approach to the virus and carefully consider how best to keep our students and staff healthy and safe,” Professor Den Hollander said.

From tomorrow, Thursday 19 March all lectures to more than 100 students will be placed online while smaller lectures will continue on campus until the end of the week.

By Monday 23 March, all lectures will only be available online which means students will not be required to attend lectures in person. Tutorials and where possible, practical classes will also be moved to online-only formats from next week.

Laboratories, practical and clinical classes that cannot be converted to online mode will continue to be taught in person on campus, using strengthened social distancing and hygiene principles.

“Such a mass online migration is a significant undertaking that is being carefully implemented by our IT Department and faculties to ensure stability and optimisation of learning for students and staff,” Professor Den Hollander said.

All public events on campus, whether UWA or external, have been cancelled for the next month, in line with the latest Federal Government advice. Access to the campus libraries has also been restricted to current staff, students and registered users who have a swipe card, for essential work only.

“This will assist in ensuring we keep the campus safe for our students and staff as the essential activities related to tuition, research and administration continue,” Professor Den Hollander said.

“Currently our staff are working on campus with enhanced social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Staff who have heightened risk have been advised to discuss working-from-home arrangements with their manager. All staff have been advised to familiarise themselves with working-from-home arrangements, where appropriate, for future reference.”

UWA has also informed staff of enhanced leave arrangements, including three days of ‘short leave’ and an additional 10 days’ personal leave. The additional personal leave will also be offered to casual staff on a pro-rata basis to ensure that anyone who becomes unwell and has to self-isolate, or is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, can do so.

“We understand that this is an unprecedented situation, so we are working to provide solutions that are equitable and the necessary assistance for those who need it most,” Professor Den Hollander said.

“There have been no confirmed cases on campus, and should this occur, we will follow instructions from the Department of Health and Metropolitan Communicable Diseases Centre that will lead to further risk mitigation actions.”

Professor Den Hollander said UWA would continue to respond as the situation evolved, with the UWA COVID-19 webpage updated daily.

“It’s likely the COVID-19 vaccine solution will come from university-led research somewhere,” she said. “The staff and students of UWA are part of that grand tradition of providing solutions to the big issues in our communities and so it is incumbent upon us to keep our University working as efficiently as possible through trying circumstances.”

Media references

Simone Hewett (UWA Media & PR Manager) 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716


Media Statements — University News