We are aware that staff, students and visitors to our Western Australian campuses or sites may be concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and about being in environments where there are a lot of people, some of whom may have travelled recently.
Curtin’s Critical Incident Management Team met recently and this Note provides an update on the work we are doing, and the decisions we are taking, in relation to COVID-19.
We are taking a very measured approach to all activities on our campuses and sites. We recognise this is an extremely fast moving situation and will continue to closely monitor and adjust recommendations as the situation requires.
The response to the epidemic differs around the world and each of our global campuses, led by their Pro Vice-Chancellor, is following the guidelines or directives of their respective governments.
As we notified the Curtin community on Friday 6 March, all overseas travel for students and staff is cancelled until further notice. This means that trips that are booked will not go ahead, even if a ticket has been issued, and no future bookings will be made. The decision will be reviewed in four weeks.
We have taken this decision in the best interests of our community. We have been briefed by our insurer that they will no longer cover Curtin travellers for the impact of COVID-19, and we are aware of how rapidly the situation is changing and escalating in some countries.
Any requests for travel that is considered “essential” will need to meet criteria such as the travel having a significant impact on the University’s operations, or if someone is returning to their home overseas.
Any requests need to be approved by the Provost, Professor John Cordery.
Given the rapidly changing and difficult global situation we ask students to carefully reconsider their personal overseas travel plans. In this fluid environment it is difficult to properly assess the risks that might arise over the duration of the travel.
Safety on campus:
You will soon see slides reminding people of personal hygiene principles appearing on screens around campus, including in lecture theatres. In addition to the existing signs in washrooms which provide advice on hand-washing techniques, we will also be placing large posters around the campus.
Our key staff who are advising us on health matters – Dr Fiona Coombes, Professor Archie Clements and Mr Quentin Hearn – will be providing the campus community with answers to frequently asked questions though a video which we will distribute soon.
In addition to this we will continue to:
- Ensure hand sanitisers are available and have hand washing instructions in all bathrooms
- Provide clear and regular advice to all students, staff and other members of the Curtin community regarding government travel restrictions.
- Implement Curtin’s Pandemic Plan which is being overseen by regular meetings of the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT).
- Maintain regular contact with the Federal Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers and the WA Chief Medical Officer through Universities Australia and the WA Department of Health.
- Consult regularly with the Curtin Health Service Medical Director who is also a member of the CIMT.
- Provide up-to-date information and FAQs on the Curtin COVID-19 webpage.
Most importantly, we need to support each other through this difficult time and remember our values of respect, integrity and courage. We are not going to exclude people from classes or workplaces without medical advice and direction.
I encourage the Curtin community to take all sensible precautions but to continue to participate fully in campus activities.
Please remember that Curtin Counselling is available on 9266 7850.