Friday, 8 May 2020

Dear UWA staff,

Today the Prime Minister announced a three stage plan to reopen Australia in a COVID-safe way. It is clear there is now significant activity at the State and Federal level focussed on mapping the pathway forward – good news as we are certainly all well over the joy of Zooming. This also means we are now planning the University’s recovery route – it seems, in retrospect, to have been easier to close the campus than it is to open it up again given our shared global experience of this virus.

In short:

  • Recovery Management Team
  • Operational update
  • Research update

Recovery Management Team

The University’s Recovery Management Team (RMT) has now been formed and, like our Critical Incident Management Team, has representatives from areas across the University who will offer their insight and expertise to oversee and coordinate a COVID-safe reopening of campus and a return to face-to-face working, learning and campus activities.

The RMT will have associated work streams connected to the central team to enable detailed analysis, planning and decision making and ensure all operational areas are aligned so we feel safe, supported and informed as we return to campus in the coming weeks.

Our RMT will also work closely with Universities Australia and the Group of Eight to ensure UWA is aligned with the sector-wide recovery response and specific higher education and State health and safety guidelines. We remain committed to providing you with timely and comprehensive operational updates, noting some of this may go slower than many of you are hoping. Please continue to check the staff intranet and our FAQ page for the latest coronavirus information.

Operational update

Stage one and two of the government’s plan announced today indicates working from home where it suits staff and their employer will still remain as a COVID-safe requirement. We will bring you a detailed update on how this is applicable to UWA in the weeks ahead. For now, staff who can work from home should continue to do so.

A reminder that when you are on campus and accessing our facilities, physical distancing requirements must be followed at all times . Even though there has been easing in the number of people who can gather, these interactions still need to be at a distance of 1.5m.

Research update​

For staff and research students whose work requires the use of campus facilities, you are able to come onto campus noting that everyone on campus must follow physical distancing and hygiene measures and supervisors must ensure their teams meet OH&S requirements in relation to COVID-19 and for the workplace more generally as is the normal practice for a safe working environment.

UWA researchers wanting to undertake fieldwork need to follow the usual planning and permissions procedures, and in addition comply with the current intrastate and interstate travel and social distancing requirements related to COVID-19. This means it is sensible to have discussions with the Head of School and/or the School’s fieldwork manager/delegated approver if the fieldwork is necessary at this time.

In response to queries about travel, the intrastate border travel permit application process is required before you travel irrespective of whether it is personal or work related. Researchers must ensure that they have undertaken the complete planning process, have obtained the required approvals, and will carry all necessary documents prior to undertaking any fieldwork.

The Library continues to support researchers and has launched a web page to explain new services available to researchers during COVID-19 .

The sunshine is back after a very stormy week and I hope you all relish the small additional freedoms we now have. We will no doubt, one day soon, look back on this experience with joy that we survived and sadness for the many others that did not. The Prime Minister said today that “ we must walk before we run ”. I agree with him and in that short sentence we now have hope that tomorrow may indeed be better - enjoy your weekend.


Professor Jane den Hollander AO


UWA Forward