Eighteen months ago, our university saw research, teaching and work change in ways we’d never imagined possible due to COVID-19. For more than a year now, you have stepped up to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, with the safe easing of lockdowns and restrictions for vaccinated people, UOW can begin the gradual return of some in-person teaching and research activity.
Our COVID Safe Transition Plan details a phased approach to restarting social connections, research, and critical teaching from October to the end of December 2021. The safety of our staff, students and community is the guiding principle behind all decisions made at UOW; that is why our Plan aligns with the NSW Public Health Order and the Reopening NSW Roadmap.
- In accordance with Public Health orders and congruent with the Reopening of NSW Roadmap, until 1 December 2021, access to certain University facilities will only be permitted to people who are vaccinated (fully vaccinated for Greater Sydney or at least one dose for Regional NSW).
- These rules apply to staff, students, and visitors to, hospitality, retail, and sporting venues, libraries, events, and related activities.
- These rules apply to staff and visitors to student accommodation. Residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
- In addition, until 1 December 2021 members of staff who are unvaccinated must work from home. For those staff for whom it is not practicable to perform their work at home, a risk assessment and COVID Safe plan will be undertaken.
Work, research, teaching or events on-campus
UOW’s Wollongong campuses include a diverse range of indoor and outdoor work, education, living, dining, and recreational settings. While the University continues with remote course delivery for the remainder of 2021, we continue to plan and work through the operational issues associated with Public Health Order compliance in preparation for a return to on-campus course delivery and work in 2022.
Work, research, teaching or events on-campus until the end of 2021:
- Until the end of 2021, continue to work remotely.
- Where this is not possible, discuss with your manager. If you are unvaccinated (before 1 December), the requirements referred to above will apply.
- In addition to NSW Public Health Orders or NSW Government advice, work or teaching activities on-campus between now and the end of 2021 must follow the UOW General COVID Safety Plan and Office COVID Safety Plan.
- Research work should be conducted in line with the Research COVID Safety Plan approved by a supervisor. Guidance about this can be sought from WHS Unit.
- Following any lifting of the NSW government requirements to work from home unless not reasonably practicable, from 1 December, employees who wish to return to work should discuss this with their Executive Dean, Faculty Executive Manager or Director, who will be responsible for making these decisions.
If you are working on a UOW campus before the end of 2021 in accordance with the framework outlined above, and the COVID Safe Transition Plan, please continue to respect the basic rules we have learnt to live with:
- Keep a safe social distance between you and absolutely everyone else,
- Wear a mask as outlined in settings within the Plan,
- Check-in wherever you go,
- Wash your hands, and
- If you do not feel well, get tested and stay home until you get a negative result
Work, research, teaching or events on-campus in 2022:
- Teaching and operational arrangements for 2022 will be communicated soon.
While our campuses are safe for our phased return, in alignment with public health guidelines, some members of our community may have medical conditions affecting their transition back to campus. I wish to reassure you that there are processes to address these concerns, and we will support those affected in this way once they speak to their supervisor. In addition, staff who may be experiencing anxiety can access support for mental health and wellbeing.
Some staff have raised concerns about building ventilation. Our Facilities Management Division is currently assessing building ventilation systems and forming recommendations based on the latest testing to ensure a high standard of safety and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Thank you again for your ongoing patience and adaptability and for providing the high quality of teaching, learning, and research that UOW is known for.