Dear Colleagues

The University is continuing to closely monitor the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic locally, within NSW and Australia, as well as internationally. With recent instances of positive community transmission cases in Sydney and elsewhere, staff are reminded to continue to be vigilant by following COVID safe principles outlined by NSW Health.

We continue to plan for, and implement the resumption of limited University activities on campus, including practical teaching, service areas, research and office areas guided by the Return to Campus Roadmap. From Monday, 3 August we enter Stage 3 of the Roadmap which coincides with the start of Spring Session and a resumption of a cohort of practical teaching classes. Most staff are continuing to work from home though limited numbers are beginning to return to campuses under COVID Safe Plans that have been submitted, reviewed and approved.

Yesterday the NSW Premier advised that the NSW Government is actively and strongly encouraging greater use of masks in high-risk public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer specifically recommends the use of face masks in indoor settings:

  • where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport or in supermarkets and
  • with a higher risk of transmission, such as for the staff of hospitality and customer-facing venues, i.e. cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

Staff whose role is in an indoor setting where physical distancing is hard to maintain should wear a mask. The University will be making available supplies of single-use masks for use by staff.  Masks can be obtained by contacting FMD service centre on 4221 3217 or WHS Unit on 4221 3931.

Wearing a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. Masks are a “fourth line of defence” after staying home if unwell and getting tested, maintaining 1.5-metre social distancing and good hand hygiene.

It is imperative that if you have symptoms, you should immediately be tested and self-isolate.

I wish to reiterate that for those staff that fall into the vulnerable person category (or are carers of vulnerable persons), staff reliant on public transport or have other challenges; working remotely remains a viable and preferred option. As the wider situation is somewhat fluid, with NSW currently being described as on ‘high alert’, please continue to discuss any concerns or specific requirements you may have with your supervisor.

I wish to take the opportunity to once again thank all staff for your efforts in enabling the University to continue to move forward despite these challenging circumstances.

Damien Israel
Chief Operating Officer