USU update: COVID-19

Statement from the USU in response to COVID-19

SYDNEY, March 24, 2020:

The University of Sydney Union (USU) wishes to update its members, stakeholders and the entire student community at the University of Sydney about our ongoing response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis.
 
Our highest concern remains the wellbeing of the entire University community. We continue to work closely with the University in our operations planning, following the advice of the State and Federal governments, as well as NSW Health.
 
We are pleased to announce that the USU is catering for students currently self-isolating in University student accommodation. The USU is working with the University to provide three meals a day to these students and is scoping further opportunities to support our student community at this difficult time.
 
Given recent NSW government announcements and this week’s shift to online teaching at the University, we are monitoring the situation closely and may scale down further our face to face campus operations while endeavouring to deliver as many of our services online as feasible.
 
Updates are as follows:   
 
USU Campus Operations
In relation to our operations on campus, enhanced hygiene measures continue and our USUEats outlets now provide takeaway service only.
 
Regrettably, the Verge Gallery will be closed from today. Carslaw Kitchen will close from this Wednesday 25 March.
 
For details of the current status of all USU operations and activities, please see the Annexure to this release. We will continue to update these arrangements as necessary so please check our social media and our website for the latest information.
 
USU Staff
Following our trial and transitional arrangements last week, all USU staff who can feasibly work from home are now doing so and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
 
USU Board Elections
As foreshadowed last week, the USU will conduct its 2020 Board election online. The Notice of Election has now been published, along with the Election Timeline. These are accessible on the USU website (www.usu.edu.au/elections) and on our noticeboards.
 
Again, thank you for your support and loyalty. If you have any questions, please contact info@usu.edu.au and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

SYDNEY, March 16, 2020:

The University of Sydney Union (USU) wishes to brief its members, stakeholders and the entire student community at the University of Sydney about our response to COVID-19 and how it may impact the student experience.
 
Our highest concern at this time is the wellbeing of the entire University community. That includes our members, staff and all students, including those who are yet to arrive on campus due to the travel ban. Our heart goes out to you and we are devastated that we haven’t yet been able to welcome you to this new academic year.   
 
Regardless of whether and when the University authorises any shutdown, it is clear that the potential spread of COVID-19 will significantly impact the USU’s normal operations.
 
The Board and senior management of the USU have together worked through responses that balance necessary precaution with our role in providing diverse services to students and staff on campus. At every stage we have remained in close contact with the University.
 
The USU relies on the revenue from our business operations, as well as on SSAF funding from the University. The loss of this revenue will have a significant negative impact on the USU’s finances this year. We will provide guidance to members on the extent of this impact at our AGM in May.
 
Our approach to the uncertainty we all face in the coming months is to scale down our face to face campus operations as far as possible, while endeavouring to deliver as many of our services online as is feasible in the short term. In all our efforts we are following the advice of the State and Federal governments, as well as NSW Health.
 
USU Campus Operations
In relation to our operations on campus, the USU has put in place enhanced hygiene measures to safeguard our community. The USU is taking a number of other urgent and necessary measures in response to COVID-19, as indicated in the Annexure to this release. We will be updating these arrangements as necessary during this evolving situation and we request that our members and stakeholders check our social media and our website for the latest information.
 
USU Staff
The Union will be trialling working from home arrangements tomorrow, 17 March, with as many staff members as possible. We ask for your patience as we transition into these different working arrangements. It is likely this will be the dominant mode of work for USU staff from Monday 23 March onwards.
 
The USU is currently working through the complex matter of staffing arrangements during this time. However, we can confirm that in relation to USU casual staff, the USU will mirror the University’s approach: if a USU casual staff member is required to self-isolate, becomes ill with COVID-19, or has to care for someone who is required to self-isolate or becomes ill with COVID-19, they will have access to special paid leave for any rostered hours that they miss in a 10 working day period. Should the campus be shutdown, such leave will also then be available to all casual staff who have not already accessed it.
 
USU Board Elections
The USU Constitution stipulates that the USU Board Elections must take place in May each year. As such, the USU is reluctantly planning to implement an online voting system for the 2020 Elections. We will provide specific election updates in the coming days.
 
As a student-led organisation with over 145 years of continued operations, we have faced many challenges in the past. In this extraordinary situation we will continue to support our members and communities through online communications and activities.
 
The USU will utilise the next few months as an opportunity to rebuild, refocus and reimagine what we provide to the student community. These next few months will be challenging for us all: we send our support to all those affected by COVID-19 and ask that each of you takes the precautions you need to stay safe and healthy.
 
Thank you for your support and loyalty. If you have any questions, please contact info@usu.edu.au and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Kind Regards, 

Connor Wherrett
USU President
 
ANNEXURE
AS AT 24 MARCH 2020
USU STUDENT PROGRAMS  
Student Info Hubs Both ISL Student Info Hub at Wentworth and Manning House Student Info Hub will close from Tuesday 17 March.
Student Spaces Queer, Ethno-cultural, Wom*n’s Rooms will all remain open.
ISL Lounge will close from 17 March.
Clubs & Societies We are asking that Club events on campus be cancelled following the email from the Vice-Chancellor last Friday. The USU is communicating with Club Execs to discourage gatherings.
Debating The Easters, Australs and their trials have been cancelled.
Revues All 2020 revues have been cancelled.
Palladian Cup The 2020 Palladian Cup has been cancelled.
Campaigns The SSAF-funded Know Your Rights & Racism Sux campaigns are postponed until further notice.
Hermes Creative journal Hermes will not be published in 2020.
USU OPERATIONS  
USU EATS Takeaway service only. Additional hygiene measures in place for kitchen and serving staff. Arrangements for social distancing at USU Outlets are being implemented.
  The following USU Outlets will close from Monday 23 March:
Engo Grill

Deck Café (Architecture)
Carslaw Kitchen (closed from Wed 25 March)
  The following USU Outlets will remain open for trading:
Courtyard Restaurant & Bar
Footbridge Station
Manning MilkBar
Coffee @ Fisher (now closed weekends)
Laneway
Snack Express
Abercrombie Terrace
Mallett St Café
  We also confirm that both foodcourts in Manning House and Wentworth Building will remain open for trading as usual.
USU RETAIL USYD Store @ JFR remains open.
USYD Store @ Holme will close from 23 March.
Online trading continues (www.usu.edu.au/usyd-store)
USU BARS From Monday 23 March Hermann’s Bar and Manning Bar will close for day trade and gigs. We are working with partners to assess our current schedule of events and will be in contact with ticketholders.
VERGE GALLERY The USU’s Verge Gallery in the JFR Plaza is now closed.
INCUBATE The Incubate Hub is operating remotely (www.incubate.org.au)
FOR FURTHER UPDATES SEE USU SOCIAL MEDIA AND WWW.USU.EDU.AU

Contact


If you have any questions, please contact info@usu.edu.au and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Mail to:
The Holme Building, Science Road, The University of Sydney NSW 2006

Email us:
info@usu.edu.au

Call us:
02 9563 6000