Dear Colleagues,

These Universe Special Editions are designed to provide staff with the latest updates on the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation, as they relate to us as a University. Special Editions will be distributed as often as necessary to keep staff up to date on changes that effect your working environment.

Campuses open and operational. Workplace safety and social distancing arrangements in place

All UOW campuses remain open and operational, but in mid-session recess, as staff prepare for online course delivery to commence from Monday 6 April 2020.

We are continuing to follow all government advice and directions in our response to COVID-19 and are maintaining the health and safety of our students, staff and the community as our top priority.

As university staff continue their essential work, appropriate social distancing arrangements are being implemented to ensure workplace safety.

Office space utilisation is being optimised to achieve social distancing and remote working technologies are being tested and applied within each division according to operational requirements.

Although academics predominantly occupy private offices that allow for adequate social distancing, flexible arrangements for remote working are also being made for them as appropriate to meet the needs of workplace.

The University will provide further guidance to staff on workplace social distancing and remote working arrangements on an ongoing basis as this rapidly evolving situation develops.

I am very proud of the collaborative work happening across all faculties to accelerate UOW’s preparation for online course delivery. I am impressed by the commitment been shown by staff to ensuring our students have a positive online learning experience with us. As that work progresses, essential services for students—particularly student residents—and staff remaining on campus are still being provided, albeit in a modified way.

Changes to some facilities

Several cafes, the IGA supermarket, UniShop, hairdresser and banks remain open providing essential campus services, with arrangements in place to ensure appropriate social distancing. In the interests of public health and in accordance with government directions announced by the Prime Minister on Tuesday night, 24 March, we are implementing a range of closures and operational changes to some campus facilities.

The University is mindful of the impact these changes will have on staff, students, customers and community users. These are difficult times and we regret that these changes and closures must be made. We are notifying affected staff and users, and offering what assistance we can. Those facilities that can continue supporting our community via remote means will do so as far as possible.

We will confront these changes together as we look forward to the time when the public health circumstances allow us to restore the enjoyable campus experience for which UOW is renowned.

All closures and operational changes will be effective from midnight tonight, Wednesday 25 March 2020.

Campus facilities remaining open

UOW LIBRARIES

Unlike community libraries, which are widely used as gathering spaces, university libraries are considered critical infrastructure supporting research and education. UOW libraries will remain open, with appropriate social distancing arrangements implemented in library workplaces and visitor areas. Operating hours have also been changed. For details visit the UOW Library website.

Furniture placement has been altered to adhere to social distancing requirements and access systems are being set to limit occupation of the three story building on the Wollongong Campus to a maximum of 100 visitors at any time.

As well as visiting students and academics, library staff will continue to have access to the building so they can continue their essential work supporting faculties as they prepare for remote course delivery and supporting students’ learning needs.

Shoalhaven and Sydney CBD campus libraries will remain open. The library will also remain fully open on-line with an extensive range of services.

CAMPUS CAFES, RETAIL OUTLETS AND SERVICES

The following cafés remain open for takeaway service in compliance with social distancing requirements:

  • Rush Café – Buildings 67 and 7
  • Piccolo Me – Building 11
  • Hemmingway – Building 67
  • Ugly Duckling – Building 21
  • Subway – Building 67
  • Kew Thai – Building 67
  • Cafe on Campus (Shoalhaven Campus)

The following retail outlets and essential services remain open:

  • Kids Uni childcare
  • UniShop
  • Post Office
  • Mac 1
  • IGA supermarket
  • Uni Hair and Beauty
  • STA Travel
  • National Australia Bank
  • IMB Bank
  • Noah’s Childcare (Shoalhaven Campus).

Some of these facilities are operating with modified operating hours. Full details are available on the UOW Pulse website.

Wi-Fi services will remain operational at all campuses.

Facilities/services closing or transitioning to remote delivery

STUDENT SERVICE CENTRE

The Student Central service centre is transitioning to remote delivery to deliver students the same service online they currently enjoy in person.

UNIACTIVE POOL

The outdoor UniActive pool at UOW’s Wollongong Campus will now close.

FOOD COURTS CLOSED FOR DINING

As all campus eateries have transitioned to takeaway only, food courts and indoor dining areas at all campuses have been closed for dining. Where possible, seating is being removed to help ensure the necessary social distancing is achieved.

EARLY START DISCOVERY SPACE AND SCIENCE SPACE TO CLOSE

The Early Start Discovery Space on the Wollongong Campus and the Science Space, located at UOW’s Innovation Campus, will close in keeping with government directives regarding galleries, museums and play spaces. Early Start and Science Space memberships will be extended for the time the facilities are closed to ensure members get the full value from their investment.

DISCOVERY GIFT SHOP PHONE ORDERS ONLY

Although the Discovery Gift Shop will be closed to in-store visitors, customers can still place phone orders by calling (02) 4221 3777 between 9am – 4pm, Tuesday – Friday. Arrangements for contactless pick-up of purchases will be provided on the  Early Start website. The research and teaching work of Early Start will continue.

NORTHFIELDS CLINIC TRANSITIONING TO ONLINE DELIVERY

UOW’s Northfields Psychology Clinic and Northfields Psychology Clinic @ Early Start, which both offer high-quality mental health services to the community, will cease in-person services and transition to remote delivery.

The clinic will remain open to the public via telephone, online and videoconferencing consultations.

To seek services please contact Northfields Clinic by phone on (02) 4221 3747. More information will be available on the Northfields Clinic webpage.

REMOTE DELIVERY FOR CHILDREN’S EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICE

The Early Intervention service operated by Kids Uni from the Innovation Campus to provide early intervention and therapy services to children aged 0 to 5 years who have a developmental disability, is transitioning to remote delivery for families seeking this service. Users of this service should contact staff directly on (02) 4221 5299. Further information will be provided on the service’s webpage.

Kids Uni childcare centres remain open, as per government directions.

WOOLYUNGAH INDIGENOUS CENTRE TO CLOSE

In keeping with government’s directive to close community facilities and gathering points—and its recognition of the vulnerability of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community—the University will close the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre. Indigenous students will be supported to study online and ongoing support and engagement will be provided by our Woolyungah Indigenous Centre staff.

MUSLIM PRAYER SPACE CLOSED

The Muslim Association of Wollongong University (MAWU) prayer space will be closed in keeping with government directions regarding places of worship.

WOLLONGONG CAMPUS ROOM HIRE SUSPENDED

The hiring out of teaching rooms on UOW campuses for use by community groups, student clubs and societies and other users will cease until further notice to help limit public gatherings.

INNOVATION CAMPUS SMARTSPACE ROOM HIRE SUSPENDED

Business meeting rooms in UOW’s SmartSpace facility at the Innovation Campus will be unavailable for hire until further notice.

Other operational changes

SOCIAL DISTANCING IN STUDENT ACCOMMODATION

Arrangements are being put in place to ensure social distancing in student accommodation. These include restricting gatherings to no more than five people and signposting reminders to adhere to social distancing guidelines in common areas—including the maximum number of occupants allowed in each space. Staggered dining hours are being implemented and takeaway food containers are being used. Student residents are being urged to remain in their accommodation as much as possible, and to observe social distancing guidelines while exercising or when leaving to purchase necessary supplies. Enhanced cleaning, maintenance and security arrangements are already in place across all UOW student accommodation. Additional support and assistance is being provided to student residents, including mental health support and flexibility with accommodation contractual arrangements.

More information

The latest information about the University’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is available on the UOW COVID-19 response website. Remember to also install the MyUOW app on your smartphone and check the message feed for the latest coronavirus information.

Professor Paul Wellings CBE,
Vice-Chancellor