I am writing to you as we come to the end of Semester 1, 2020; a semester of immense change for our students and staff here and across the world. It was not the semester any of us hoped for, and I warmly congratulate each of you for making it through and remaining supportive of one another along the way. Wherever you are right now, you all belong to a community that has risen to the many challenges that we have faced in recent times.
Over the last few weeks we have seen our city start to re-awaken with the welcome easing of Government restrictions that were imposed to manage the risk of COVID-19. Staff across the University have also been working on plans to bring our campuses back to life in readiness for Semester 2.
Semester 2 – blended online and face-to-face learning
Semester 2 will begin for most students on 24 August. While most lectures will continue to be delivered online for the remainder of the year, our intention is for seminars, tutorials, workshops, small group projects , practical and lab sessions to return face-to-face in Semester 2. Arrangements for your units of study will be published on Canvas in the coming weeks, and timetables will be made available from 17 August.
We will also continue to provide remote learning for students unable to join us in person. As in Semester 1, there will be no physical attendance requirement for any unit.
Welcome Week will be held from 17 – 21 August with an online orientation experience planned for new and returning students in Semester 2. We are also looking into the possibility of hosting some on campus orientation activities. More information will be provided soon.
Keeping our community safe
We remain committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of our student and staff community, and our plans to return to campus are informed by NSW Government and health guidelines, and the low rates of community transmission of COVID-19. Under the NSW Government’s Public Health Order, the University is generally exempt from the 4 square metre physical distancing rule. This same exemption applies to schools and supermarkets.
However, we encourage all students and staff to follow COVID-safe practices on campus, including good hygiene and frequent handwashing, observing 1.5m physical distancing where possible. Any student or staff member who is unwell or experiences symptoms is also asked to stay home and not come to campus. You will see reminders across campus when you return. Enhanced cleaning protocols will continue with spaces cleaned daily across campus. We will continue to monitor health advice and any risks, and have mitigation plans ready to activate if required.
Please keep an eye on your student email inbox during the break for further updates about the return to campus for Semester 2.
We look forward to welcoming you
The signs of our vibrant campus life starting to return are growing every week. The library has recently re-opened some spaces and will be available through the break for students enrolled in intensive units. Several University of Sydney Union’s (USU) outlets are operating again and Sydney University Sports and Fitness (SUSF) facilities have also reopened for its members. All of our services and facilities on campus are currently working on plans to provide both in person and remote support when we are back for Semester 2.
Please take care of yourselves and one another during the break and I very much look forward to seeing many of you back on our campuses shortly.
Dr Michael Spence AC
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
The University of Sydney