Thursday 19 March 2020
There are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus COVID-19 at any of the Bendigo TAFE campuses as at 3.30pm today, Thursday 19 March. This message will be communicated daily until such time as the situation changes. Classes are continuing as normal and all campuses are open.
We are getting a lot of questions about our facilities being open and we understand that is of concern to many students, parents and staff. We must legally stay operating until there is a health-related reason to close, or until we are ordered to by the Department of Education and Training. And we are working hard to transfer our working and teaching capability to an online model where possible.
But for now, we are open and running classes as normal, because the actual risk to us all is still very low. And here is why: of the 24 million people in Australia, only 636 individuals have contracted coronavirus, including those who have already recovered. All of those people have either contracted it overseas or had direct, close personal contact with someone with the virus.
This situation will eventually change but we can still all do our part to keep these figures low for now, and slow the rate that the virus spreads. Please demonstrate your own personal responsibility with regular hand washing after using kitchens and restrooms. Hand washing is simple and effective.
To help reassure everyone on our campuses, our cleaners will be doubling their efforts from tomorrow. You will see more cleaners working in all shared spaces. Please note that hand sanitizer is not yet available everywhere, there is an unprecedented global run on this product. We have our orders in and we will have sanitizer in place across campuses once it becomes available.
To reiterate, at this stage we have no coronavirus cases, and we do not need to close any classes or campuses. However, we are aware that some students are choosing not to come to class, and that a number of staff are taking sick leave/personal leave to remove themselves from any potential risk. This is appropriate, as your health and well-being is very important. Some staff and students are also concerned that by being out in the community or at TAFE, they are putting other family with health issues at risk. If this is the case for you, please consider what you can do to limit that exposure to any vulnerable people by using strict personal hygiene practices and social distancing, just as you would if you had a cold or flu.
The current official guidance regarding self-isolation is as follows:
Everyone arriving into Australia from overseas from midnight, Sunday 15 March, must self-isolate for 14 days. This refers to the person who travelled and is a precautionary measure. It does not mean the traveller is infected.
Anyone who has been a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days 'Close contact' is defined by Department of Health and Human Services as someone who has had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case, or shared a closed space with someone who has a confirmed case, for more than two hours.
What you need to do:
Not everyone will get Coronavirus, but you should take every step possible to care for yourself and everyone around you. Your easiest and best defence starts with your own basic personal hygiene:
- Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or using the toilet
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Use tissues and discard immediately
Even without a global health emergency, staying home when sick is the best defence against the spread of the common cold, the flu, and now also coronavirus COVID -19. There is an international shortage of hand sanitizer, we are no different to any other organisation with this issue, so please do not keep asking our facilities staff for this. Soap and water should be your friend; please wash your hands.
Preparation for a potential class or campus closure:
Because it is practical to assume that some degree of campus closure is likely for us at some stage, our Crisis Management Team is working hard to prepare for all operational scenarios. That means making sure that if we are required to close a campus or need to enable classes to use more online channels, that our systems can all handle that online traffic, that our staff have the equipment to work from home and that our level of cyber security is adequate. We are not quite ready for that logistically at the moment, but we are working quickly to bring that all together.
When this happens, in whatever form it takes, we ask that you all become extra security-conscious. There are digital bandits out there taking advantage of this situation and we need to make sure our cyber-practices are as secure as possible, be mindful of cyber scams.
More important health information:
The Victorian Chief Medical Officer's advice remains that most people who contract the virus will experience symptoms like a bad cold or flu. Please be sensible with your personal health care. Wash your hands regularly and properly, which means rubbing your hands together for at least 30 seconds using soap and warm water. If you have existing health issues which mean you are particularly vulnerable, please do what you need to in order to limit your physical contact with other people.
Please be mindful that some media reports may not have the most accurate or up to date information, and we recommend you check official sites, including:
Updates will continue daily to keep everyone informed.
This update was sent as an e-mail to all current students of Kangan Institute at 5PM on Thursday 19 March, 2020.
These communications have been sent to all students as a duty of care. We understand you may have unsubscribed to receive marketing and promotional communications, and this will still be the case however this is a service message containing information in these unprecedented times.
From this point on if you have unsubscribed to marketing and promotional communications you will not receive these communications either. However in the event of a change in circumstance which could impact on your health and safety you will be contacted.