Two-week recess from 23 March as staff transition courses to remote delivery
The last few weeks have been challenging as we have learned of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to locations across the globe and in various cities in Australia.
These are extraordinary times, with measures to slow the spread of the virus and its subsequent impact disrupting the way we live and interact. Educational institutions in Australia and organisations around the world are experiencing operational interruptions, and UOW is no exception. The full impacts of these interruptions are likely to be felt right through the rest of 2020.
In response we are taking sensible measures to ensure that students can continue to progress in their studies and our world-class research can continue, whilst also protecting the health and wellbeing of students and staff.
Plans are well advanced to move to remote delivery for all our courses. Through these careful preparations, we aim to ensure a high-quality, remotely-delivered learning experience for students, with good support in place for students and teaching staff.
New flexibility for classes this week
We will continue teaching as normal this week. However, to support students and staff who feel or are particularly vulnerable, we are introducing flexibility with immediate effect. Tutorials and other classes will not be mandatory this week. Academic staff who can and wish to deliver lectures online this week may do so.
Mid-session break to commence earlier
I have taken the decision today to bring forward the Autumn mid-session break to commence on 23 March and conclude on 3 April. Note this decision excludes the Faculty of Business postgraduate trimester subjects.
This period will be used to work intensively with academics, including casual teaching staff, and professional services staff to transition all undergraduate and postgraduate programs to remote delivery. Classes will recommence in remote delivery mode from 6 April. In order to accommodate this mid-session break, Autumn session will end on 12 June.
During these two weeks (23 March – 3 April), all UOW campuses, library, facilities, research and administrative functions will remain open. I encourage students to keep visits to the campus to a minimum over this break but assure you that services will be open as usual when you do need to visit.
Students will receive further communications in the coming days with details about the new modes of delivery and restarting of teaching from Monday 6 April.
2020 Annual academic calendar under review
The University’s annual academic calendar and session dates for 2020 will be reassessed and altered as the COVID-19 outbreak develops. The University will make adjustments to the calendar while also ensuring students have the opportunity to complete the necessary workloads to graduate without delay. We will advise you if further changes are needed.
Supporting each other
While there are still no confirmed cases of the virus here on our Australian campuses, we know that there are confirmed cases in our communities. It is inevitable that staff and students associated with UOW will be impacted.
As this pandemic unfolds, students and colleagues will experience disruptions in their personal lives, such as needing to care for and support family members. Students and staff who find themselves in this situation are encouraged to use the support services and leave provisions in place at UOW so that they can support their families.
Please continue to look out for each other and to show kindness and support to all members of our campus community. Please share this message with your family and any other concerned parties.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving issue. To keep up to date I urge you to regularly check the information provided on UOW coronavirus response website.
Thank you for your efforts and patience as we work our way through a challenging situation. While the impact of COVID-19 will be felt through the remainder of 2020, I am confident that UOW will emerge from it stronger than ever.
Professor Paul Wellings CBE