I want to thank each and every one of you for the focus and dedication that you have shown towards your students and your work at Swinburne as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued. I trust that you have embraced Swinburne’s Revitalise and Recharge program, including taking additional recharge leave days, to provide you with additional energy during these challenging times.
My energy levels were restored when I saw the Victorian Government’s Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan announced. It provides us all with a clear plan to manage our lives with COVID-19 – one that is based on science and medical advice.
As a university that strongly believes in the benefit of science, we have been encouraging all our staff and students to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. We know that vaccination is one of the best ways that our society can manage the impacts of COVID-19 and will provide a long-awaited liberation and exciting step towards returning to our beloved campus life.
Swinburne’s response to vaccinations and reopening our campuses
I was overwhelmed by the positive response received when we asked you last week about your COVID-19 vaccination intentions. Almost 94 per cent of Swinburne respondents confirmed they had received either one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccination. This is a cause for celebration and a wonderful indication of how we are supporting our community in a meaningful and impactful way.
Now that the Victorian Government’s roadmap has been released, we are excitedly planning for our campuses to come to life again. Once 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, our campuses can reopen. We understand this will happen on or around Friday 5 November 2021.
Specifically, our fully vaccinated staff and students can return to campus from this time. Of course, we expect that some density limits will be in place, but we will be able to start to breathe life back into our campuses. We also expect that visitors and contractors will be fully vaccinated to attend campus, in line with the government’s roadmap.
For our VET and VCE staff and students, the timelines are slightly different. Staff working with secondary school students will need to have received their first vaccination by 18 October 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 29 November 2021.
If you have a valid medical exemption from being vaccinated, we will work with you to identify practical options that may be available for you.
We will also work closely with any students who have a valid medical exemption to access alternative learning and assessment options where possible.
Ultimately, this milestone marks an important and exciting step for our university and our state. I am looking forward to spending time with colleagues in person, rather than virtually, and seeing our students back on our wonderful campuses, enjoying all that Swinburne has to offer.
Swinburne’s new vaccination hub
To support our staff and students to get vaccinated, I am delighted to announce that Swinburne’s new vaccination hub at our Hawthorn campus will open to staff and students from Monday 4 October 2021. The hub will offer both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
More information and bookings are available via our staff intranet and the COVID-19 Hub.
Depending on supply and demand, the hub may be able to offer vaccination appointments to family members of Swinburne staff later this year.
My thanks to the Wellbeing at Swinburne team for managing this fantastic initiative to help protect our Swinburne community.
If you have any questions about vaccination, I encourage you to speak with your GP or visit the Victorian Government's vaccine website for more information.
If you would like to speak about your individual circumstances, including medical exemptions, please speak with your manager, your People and Culture Business Partner, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember to check our COVID-19 Live News Blog for updates on Swinburne's response to the situation and our dedicated COVID-19 Hub. Further information will be available in the coming weeks on the implementation arrangements.
Thank you for your continued support during this time. I have every confidence that, together, we can protect our community and safely reopen our campuses so that we can once again enjoy all that our campus life can offer.