24 August 2021: The ACT is facing arguably its toughest challenge yet in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the latest outbreak testing the community’s resilience and strength.
It is in times like this, when we are adapting to work from home again, juggle parenting, online schooling, facing financial difficulties and coping with lockdown and quarantine, when the power of humanity really shines through, and University of Canberra community members are pulling together and supporting each other during this time.
“Our teams have been putting in very long hours to support our academic and teaching staff as well as our students, to navigate the remote learning environment and to provide support, particularly to those who may be feeling challenged by the current situation,” said Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Paddy Nixon.
“It is inspiring to see the University’s community spirit shine through this tough time.”
The University is supporting a small number of students who are in quarantine in on-campus accommodation through the Student Wellbeing and Medical and Counselling teams, and UniLodge staff. Teams are monitoring the health and wellbeing of all students residing on campus and providing guidance and advice as required.
The University has also facilitated the delivery of free meals to residents on campus, which will be extended to include vulnerable students off campus too.
The UCX Food Pantry team has developed an online system to continue to provide their popular service to students both on and off campus, through a co-ordinated click-and-collect system. The take-up has been extremely strong, with more than 220 students registering for the service in the last week alone.
The fresh produce from the UCX Food Pantry has been made possible through funding from the Student Empowerment Fund (SEF), with generous staff contributing to help students during this time.
The SEF has also funded the purchase of laptops for the University’s Student Exchange Device Program, which helps those students with limited access to continue with their studies.
Staff from the Faculty of Health have rolled up their sleeves to support the Medical and Counselling team in their vaccination clinics over the past week.
“These clinical liaison nurses are providing much-needed support to the Medical and Counselling team as they assist with administering vaccines to staff and students, as part of the Centre’s commitment to supporting the ACT Government’s vaccination program,” said Professor Nixon.
“I commend them for putting up their hands to help where it is needed, while juggling other commitments.”
The University’s Equity, Participation and Welfare team will also be kicking off a new program this week for students and staff to stay connected during this time. Click and Connect is a free four-week photography project that will equip participants with skills, tips, tricks and strategies to capture their world and tell their story through photos. The project is facilitated by university alumna Sophie Green and is aimed at connecting the UC community by sharing snapshots of people’s lives, passions and stories. Students can register here, and staff can register here.
Professor Nixon said the University had built on its experience of successfully working through the challenges of the previous lockdown and has remote teaching, learning and support infrastructure in place for the University community.
“We know lockdowns can be difficult, and we have supports in place for both our students and staff,” said Professor Nixon.
“The safety of our students, staff and community is our primary concern and we are hopeful that active compliance with the ACT Health directions will see activity return to campus as soon as possible.”