March 18, 2020

COVID-19 campus update

Brehany Shanahan

The UWA Student Guild stands for clear and equitable response to the COVID-19 crisis.

UWA has responded to the COVID-19 by removing compulsory attendance requirements and beginning the transition to online learning. While the situation continues to evolve, we are working through the situation based on the principles below.

1. Movement of all campus activities online

The Guild has taken the position that considering the high levels of anxiety around coronavirus, students should not feel they have to be on campus during this time.

Today it was announced that from Monday 23 March, all lectures will only be available online. Tutorials and, where possible, practical classes will also move to online-only formats. The Guild welcomes these changes.

Additionally, given the announcement yesterday that gatherings with over 100 people are banned, from tomorrow lectures to over 100 students will move online.

2. Assessment policy adjustment

The changes produced by COVID-19 to the student learning experience and to everyday life will understandably have an impact on academic performance.

We are working with UWA to implement a policy of leniency for special consideration, extension and deferral processes. More information on this will be provided in the coming days.

3. Transparent and open communication

The UWA Student Guild urges the university to provide clear and transparent communication on the issue to both staff and students. Students and staff should not be left in the dark, and must be kept up to date on all developments in a timely manner.

4. Adequate staff support

The UWA Student Guild supports the NTEU in ensuring adequate support for both permanent and casual staff in the transition to online learning, and during campus shut down or self-quarantine. We welcome the enhanced leave arrangements introduced by the university today.

5. Consider deferring academic and financial penalties for withdrawal

The movement to online learning will bring new challenges for students. Some students will not want to continue studying through online modes and may not be able to make this decision until the full extent of online learning is understood. We are calling for a penalty-free late withdrawal period found on the principles of leniency and equity.

The Guild would also like to extend our thanks to the academic and administrative staff for their work during this time. As students, we appreciate your commitment and hard work in navigating this situation, transitioning our units online and providing support to students throughout.

If you are experiencing difficulties in any of your units throughout this period, please do not hesitate to get in touch at [email protected]. Remember, if you require extra financial, welfare or academic support, our Student Assist team is here for you and available at [email protected].