Face-to-face Teaching Confirmed for Sem One as VC Announces New COVID Guidelines
By Alayna Bourke
With semester one just weeks away, Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt has announced updated COVID guidelines which, among other COVID safe measures, will see the return of face-to-face teaching. Students can also look forward to in-person graduations and campus events under these new guidelines.
Face-to-face learning will return in its full capacity on 21 February, with the University expecting “every student and staff member who can be here to be here.”
In the event that staff and students are unable to attend classes, convenors have developed a number of “contingency plans” to ensure minimal covid disruptions to both coursework and teaching. This will presumably come in the form of an online option. Ventilation improvement in teaching spaces is also currently being prioritised and high-density buildings such as libraries and office spaces are set to receive upgrades over semester two as a part of the University’s new Covid-safe measures.
Furthermore, to accommodate for the difficulties associated with acquiring rapid antigen tests (RATs) the ANU has sourced a limited supply of RATs which students can collect from distribution points on-campus. Students will be given a small supply of N95 and P2 masks as well as RATs as part of a new semester starter pack. It is hoped the provision of these packs “will make access as easy as possible for all current staff and students.” Further details regarding when students can collect these are yet to be confirmed by the University.
Vaccination and booster shots remain strongly encouraged for all members of the ANU community in the latest university COVID-safe guidelines, and ‘behaviour-focused’ regulations such as wearing a mask indoors, hygiene, social distancing and using the Check In CBR app are still in place across campus. However, those identified as a contact are no longer required to alert the COVID Response Office.
Whilst vaccination requirements are currently instated only in “specific university settings” where required by ACT health, the possibility of a vaccine mandate for the wider ANU community (exempting those with medical exceptions) is currently in development. This development pivots from the ANU’s previous stance in October 2021, when mandates were not deemed necessary.
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