I have been advised that a new employee due to start work at UWA this week, has tested positive to the COVID-19 virus. The future staff member was on an overseas trip and returned to Perth on an international flight on Sunday 22nd March. They went straight into self-isolation after arriving in Perth, as per current travel requirements, and underwent COVID-19 testing when they developed symptoms later that week.
Well we are still standing – just! Hopefully you are too. The last two days have seen intense discussions across the nation and across campus with mixed messaging and the inevitable confusion that occurs at times like these. For sure a few things from Canberra came out wrong. For sure we have made the odd blunder here and there. But we are here and we have achieved a week of online tuition that many thought we could never do! Bravo!
You are probably getting a little tired of these missives, but please do take a minute to read as we are now in heading into unchartered waters – the aim as I understand it, is to flatten the curve which effectively means slow down the rate of infection. This will enable hospitals to keep going. We are playing our part in this endeavour.
The saying that a week is a long time in politics is certainly no longer the case in the fast moving confronting world of COVID-19. You will probably know that, in an effort to flatten the curve, the Premier has closed all WA borders and in very firm advice yesterday indicated that there would be strengthened efforts to ensure the appropriate physical distancing was properly observed. Certainly my own observations over the weekend is that work places are safer than some excessively crowded beaches and cafes and we all need to try harder.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our virtual Town Hall yesterday. It was live-streamed to more than 2,300 participants and we received more than 480 questions, many pleased to have received information and a fair few of you with advice and comments which I have noted.
This email is to update you on our collective response to the evolving international COVID-19 pandemic. It includes important information about what each of us must do to protect and support each other.
Dear Heads of Schools and Education Leaders Network,
As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation, I would like to remind everyone of the ongoing support that is available to teaching staff. I hope it will be useful for you and your teams in regards to the support the University can provide for your teaching staff.
UWA continues to closely monitor developments surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on our community. In order to protect the health and wellbeing of colleagues, the University Executive has decided to limit international travel for staff and students. This correspondence outlines the decision and process for staff.
Further to the Vice-Chancellor’s email last week, I would like to provide you with an update on teaching solutions for students impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions who are as a result unable to join us on campus for the start of semester.
As we prepare for orientation activities next week and at the start of first semester on February 24, I write to assure you that UWA remains committed to providing a safe, positive and welcoming environment for all our students; both for those who are joining us for the first time and for those continuing their studies.
We trust that you have seen the Vice-Chancellor’s email to all staff on 2 February 2020 regarding the current travel restrictions from mainland China. We write further to the Vice-Chancellor’s email, to provide more advice and information about how we are acting on the advice of health experts to manage the health and safety for the UWA community.
On February 1 the Australian Government announced that foreign citizens’ travelling from China would be unable to enter Australia. This means that non-Australian citizens, residents, and their dependents are prevented from entering Australia from mainland China.