By Vienna Daniels
If you spent most of last week working out how to use Zoom, here’s the news you might have missed.
In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, ANU has made a number of announcements regarding the University’s transition to online delivery of coursework and services. Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt sent an email to staff and students detailing the decision. The email also announced a week-long teaching “pause” to give conveners and tutors time to organise the transition of their courses to remote learning. Courses will resume on 30 March, which is the start of the new week five, and week six will now commence after the usual mid-semester break.
In line with ANU’s non-essential public and social gathering ban that was implemented last Friday, residents on campus have been subject to designated meal times to prevent large gatherings in the halls. These changes coincide with the Australian Government’s social-distancing restrictions concerning gatherings larger than 500 people.
The ANU has announced a wide range of ex-gratia payments for staff, should they be unable to work due to the impact of the virus. Those eligible for the payments include casual professional and seasonal academic staff.
The ANUSA office and Brian Kenyon Student Space (BKSS) will be closed during the university’s week long pause. They will be providing their services remotely, either online or over the phone. All on-campus club events have also been cancelled until the 20 June.
ANUSA Migration Workshops, Course Rep Training and all future meetings have also been moved online.
ANUSA has announced that they will be paying their casual staff in the event of a shutdown or self-isolation, stating that “ANUSA recognises that Covid-19 will have a significant financial impact on students, particularly those in casual employment.”
The ACT has formally declared a State of Emergency in response to the pandemic. A drive-through Coronavirus testing station has been established at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), allowing people to be assessed while remaining in their vehicles. Testing is still only available to those exhibiting the required symptoms. So far, there have been nineteen confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the ACT. In order to help prevent the spread, non-essential services in NSW, VIC and ACT will be shutting down in the next 48 hours. One ANU student, who is not currently in the ACT, has tested positive for the virus. The student has not been on campus this semester.
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