Thoughts, observations and updates about the Coronavirus with a focus on Flinders University and the health and well-being of students.
Just in case you haven’t heard, there is a virus (COVID-19) sweeping the world. Head spin huh?!. Number of confirmed cases worldwide – 174,000.
At first I was kinda nonchalant about the whole thing, assessing my own personal risk as low. But the impacts (health, social, economic) of the virus are significant and wide reaching. People are very concerned. There are significant upheavals and changes to how we need to live our lives at the moment in order to contain the virus (and its impacts) as best as possible. We need to come together as a community to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the community is take care of.
So these brief ‘diary’ entries are simply to point you to the relevant and appropriate sources of information to help you make good decisions about looking after your health, the health of those you love, and the health of the wider community.
We have a relatively small number of confirmed cases in Australia thus far – 375 – but this is likely to increase.
A range of actions have been taken at the national level, all of which can be reviewed on the Department of Health Coronavirus website.
- Testing of high risk groups
- Applying travel restrictions and screening travellers arriving in Australia
- Required 14 day self-isolation for people arriving in Australia from another country
- Widespread promotion of appropriate hygiene activities (e.g. washing hands)
- Home isolation for unwell (suspected or confirmed cases)
- Recommended social distancing measures
- Limits on public gatherings
- Limits on visits to the most vulnerable members of our society
- Set up of the Coronavirus Information Line
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students or staff at this stage.
Information for students at Flinders on what actions are being taken to manage this situation can be found in two places:
- Constantly updated Flinders Coronavirus Information Page
- Via your Flinders uni email – make sure you check it each day
“From Tuesday, 17 March if the lecture you attend is usually recorded and uploaded onto FLO, then you should not attend the lecture in person. Teaching staff will still deliver their lecture in the regular room at the usual time and place and you can watch these online.
All other classes, including tutorials, workshops and seminars, will be moved online as soon as possible. You should check your Topic FLO site for advice. If there is no advice you are expected to attend.
Any class activity which cannot be done online will be reviewed in the coming week to check these are conducted in line with recommendations from health authorities relating to social distancing.”
Information sessions were held to update staff and students, and answer questions.
View the recordings from these information sessions. (Select a recording date in the top left of the window.)
A dedicated email has been established firstname.lastname@example.org for staff or students who may have questions about how the COVID-19 outbreak affects their work or study.
Frequently asked questions
There is a good chance if you’ve got questions, they might have been covered on the Flinders Student Coronavirus information page. Make sure to check that page regularly.
An Australian national email and hotline has been established to answer questions from international students:
email@example.com or 1300 981 621 (8am to 8pm AEDST Monday to Friday).
The Study in Australia website also has information for international students.
Information and support is available from Flinders University’s International Student Services on +61 8 8201 2717.
Overseas students can also contact their private health provider such as the 24/7 Medibank OSHC Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.
Here at the Health Service
Where I work, the Health, Counselling and Disability service (HCD), there are things being put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of students and staff.
- We now have a triage desk on the ground floor (Level 2) of the Student Centre (near the lift) where everyone will be screened before progressing up the stairs to be checked in for HCD appointments.
- If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, please contact the Health service by phone before presenting. That way we can determine if you coming in is the best option.
- Some of our non-essential group wellbeing programs (e.g. Mindful Yoga) have been cancelled until further notice. More information about this coming.
It’s totally normal to feel some fear and anxiety in the context of what is happening. It might be related to concerns about your own welfare or the welfare of others.
In future diary entries I will try to expand on what you can do during these times to keep yourself as calm as possible and take appropriate actions when necessary.
In the meantime:
- Try to maintain routines as best as possible. I am keeping up my meditation, exercise, meal, art and work routines as best I can. Yes there have been some modifications but I try to keep some constants in place, during a time of great change.
- Use the extra time alone to delve into your studies.
- People differ in their need for news/updates, but I would recommend limiting your coronavirus news exposure to a couple of times a day and stick to reputable sources like the Department of Health, ABC, Flinders Coronavirus Information Page
- Take a moment to acknowledge and name your your emotional reactions to what is happening. Where possible, link those feelings to some kind of specific action. For example, if you are concerned about loved ones, ensure you are communicating with them. If you are concerned about your own health, make sure you understand the appropriate hygiene and social distancing requirements (see links above)
- The web is slowly filling up with good suggestions for how to manage the isolation you might be feeling as a result of the various restrictions being put in place. I’ve personally been following Lifehacker.
- Expect further changes and updates and modifications. Us creatures of habit will need to accept that things are changing and will continue to change for a while yet.