13 October 2021 9.38am

All staff email from Professor David G. Lloyd, Vice-Chancellor and President

Dear colleagues,

I know you’ve had a number of recent communications on the topic of vaccination and its role as the most important part of our armoury in the fight against Covid-19, and, I do recognise that a great many of you are already among the 55% of eligible South Australians who have now had their double vaccination doses.

As you’re no doubt aware, many of the universities in Victoria are now mandating Covid-19 vaccination for staff and students as part of their roadmaps for re-opening. As we haven’t had to close or endure the world’s longest lockdown, our circumstances here in South Australia are somewhat different. However, as we look at national and local trends of reaction to the pandemic and the restoration of ‘normal’, the question of whether we will find ourselves in a position where vaccination becomes mandatory to access services such as higher education is now very much a live one.

This is an important topic on which we would very much welcome your views, and I enclose a link to a very brief survey a bit further down in this email for that purpose.

Personally, I have an irrational fear of sharks. Great white sharks to be specific. Thanks to seeing Jaws at what was probably too early an age. I’ve never seen one in the flesh and if I ever do, I hope it will be from within the relative safety of a shark cage – as that affords proven protection from being wholly or partially eaten. I sometimes wonder at the laissez-faire attitude of beachgoers as they wade happily into the depths, without cages, fully aware that there is a chance that Bruce or one of his many pointy-toothed hungry mates may have rocked up for the afternoon buffet and feeling a little peckish. I usually say to any friends within earshot at such times, ‘if we lived in Africa, on the Serengeti plains, and I told you there were lions spotted just over that hill, and they ate someone last week, you wouldn’t go for a bloody walk there would you?´ My friends are used to this and normally counter with a shrug and comments along the lines of ‘sure what are the odds?’ or ‘just make sure there’s someone further out than you are.’  Fair enough. We each take our chances every day.

If Covid-19 was the size of a great white shark I’m guessing that people would take more and greater steps to avoid it or protect themselves from it. And many of us already are. Vaccination is our metaphorical shark cage. But there are still those saying ‘what are the odds…’ or worse, and dressing this position up as somehow being a conscientious objection to an action which they interpret as infringing their civil liberties. These same people are required to sit and pass a driving test and to wear a seatbelt for their protection and the protection of others. Or if they choose not to drive and only ever walk places, they are still required to stop and wait to cross roads at a red light signal, for their protection and the protection of others. You get my point. Civil liberties are not only about the individual. They’re different to choices. Choices are always linked to consequence and should be informed. So, I’ll stick to a few informative facts. You’re welcome to check them.

We in SA have been blessed with low Covid-19 infection numbers to date, with lower impact from the pandemic and enjoying greater freedoms than almost anywhere in the world. So far so great. The delta strain of Covid-19 will however breach our state borders in due course and give rise to locally acquired infections. It is as inevitable as the tide. It is not a question of if, but when. What it will bring is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We can say this with absolute certainty because that is exactly what has happened everywhere else. Modelling from our own state’s last (and thankfully short lived) cluster shows that over 20% of the people in a single room at an exposure site – which was appropriately set up under existing covid management protocols – caught the virus on that occasion. That’s more than a one in five chance, for the ‘what are the odds brigade’. And as for cages – none of those infected had been double vaccinated (or to put it another way, 100% of those infected were not fully vaccinated).

Our last cluster was one of thankfully small numbers though, so let’s look to more statistically sound populations – say for example, New South Wales – who are only now returning to something approaching the levels of freedom we enjoy in South Australia after 110 days of lockdown, and only after reaching a 70% double vaccination level on Monday of this week – which as we know from modelling studies is still some way short of the 80%+ levels that are really needed to minimise the wider health impact. And remember – in SA we are only at 55%.

In NSW, as I type this today, there are 6,299 active, locally acquired, diagnosed cases of Covid-19. Today. Of these, 766 have been hospitalised, 155 of those are in ICU and almost half of those are on ventilators. Which is awful. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s almost completely avoidable.

Dig deeper and we can see that 97% of all NSW Covid-19 hospitalisations in the first week of September were people who were not double vaccinated. Looking back at the data available from the beginning of the NSW outbreak, from June to date, shows that more than 98% of all ICU admissions were not doubly vaccinated.

What are the odds? Well. It seems that they’re pretty high that if you’re not double vaxxed and you’re exposed to the delta strain of Covid-19, not only will you be more likely to acquire the infection, you’ll have a much higher chance of hospitalisation and experiencing acute and debilitating illness. Here, now, in SA, we just can’t see the danger. That is in no way the same thing as assuming there is no danger. That would be terribly foolish. It’s waiting out of sight, but it absolutely will arrive. The only choice here is one of either choosing protection for oneself and those around you or consciously choosing not to do that. You can choose to gamble with your life and future health, you can roll the dice and take the consequences.

Remember though, a pandemic of the unvaccinated is preventable.

I seem to have wandered away from my opening remarks, and from sharks, apologies – this email is intended to solicit your views on the matter of requiring vaccination for attendance on campus. Please follow the link below to a quick survey page which will allow you to express your view on this matter, as well as allowing us to get a better picture of the vaccination status of our campus population. It’ll take less than a minute to complete - it’s certainly much shorter than this email!

UniSA Covid-19 Vaccination Survey

Stay well and safe,

Best regards

13 October 2021 9.36am

All student email from Professor David G. Lloyd, Vice-Chancellor and President

Dear students,

I know you’ve had a number of recent communications on the topic of vaccination and its role as the most important part of our armoury in the fight against Covid-19, and, I do recognise that a great many of you are already among the 55% of eligible South Australians who have now had their double vaccination doses.

As you’re no doubt aware, many of the universities in Victoria are now mandating Covid-19 vaccination for staff and students as part of their roadmaps for re-opening. As we haven’t had to close or endure the world’s longest lockdown, our circumstances here in South Australia are somewhat different. However, as we look at national and local trends of reaction to the pandemic and the restoration of ‘normal’, the question of whether we will find ourselves in a position where vaccination becomes mandatory to access services such as higher education is now very much a live one.

This is an important topic on which we would very much welcome your views, and I enclose a link to a very brief survey a bit further down in this email for that purpose.

Personally, I have an irrational fear of sharks. Great white sharks to be specific. Thanks to seeing Jaws at what was probably too early an age. I’ve never seen one in the flesh and if I ever do, I hope it will be from within the relative safety of a shark cage – as that affords proven protection from being wholly or partially eaten. I sometimes wonder at the laissez-faire attitude of beachgoers as they wade happily into the depths, without cages, fully aware that there is a chance that Bruce or one of his many pointy-toothed hungry mates may have rocked up for the afternoon buffet and feeling a little peckish. I usually say to any friends within earshot at such times, ‘if we lived in Africa, on the Serengeti plains, and I told you there were lions spotted just over that hill, and they ate someone last week, you wouldn’t go for a bloody walk there would you?´ My friends are used to this and normally counter with a shrug and comments along the lines of ‘sure what are the odds?’ or ‘just make sure there’s someone further out than you are.’  Fair enough. We each take our chances every day.

If Covid-19 was the size of a great white shark I’m guessing that people would take more and greater steps to avoid it or protect themselves from it. And many of us already are. Vaccination is our metaphorical shark cage. But there are still those saying ‘what are the odds…’ or worse, and dressing this position up as somehow being a conscientious objection to an action which they interpret as infringing their civil liberties. These same people are required to sit and pass a driving test and to wear a seatbelt for their protection and the protection of others. Or if they choose not to drive and only ever walk places, they are still required to stop and wait to cross roads at a red light signal, for their protection and the protection of others. You get my point. Civil liberties are not only about the individual. They’re different to choices. Choices are always linked to consequence and should be informed. So, I’ll stick to a few informative facts. You’re welcome to check them.

We in SA have been blessed with low Covid-19 infection numbers to date, with lower impact from the pandemic and enjoying greater freedoms than almost anywhere in the world. So far so great. The delta strain of Covid-19 will however breach our state borders in due course and give rise to locally acquired infections. It is as inevitable as the tide. It is not a question of if, but when. What it will bring is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We can say this with absolute certainty because that is exactly what has happened everywhere else. Modelling from our own state’s last (and thankfully short lived) cluster shows that over 20% of the people in a single room at an exposure site – which was appropriately set up under existing covid management protocols – caught the virus on that occasion. That’s more than a one in five chance, for the ‘what are the odds brigade’. And as for cages – none of those infected had been double vaccinated (or to put it another way, 100% of those infected were not fully vaccinated).

Our last cluster was one of thankfully small numbers though, so let’s look to more statistically sound populations – say for example, New South Wales – who are only now returning to something approaching the levels of freedom we enjoy in South Australia after 110 days of lockdown, and only after reaching a 70% double vaccination level on Monday of this week – which as we know from modelling studies is still some way short of the 80%+ levels that are really needed to minimise the wider health impact. And remember – in SA we are only at 55%.

In NSW, as I type this today, there are 6,299 active, locally acquired, diagnosed cases of Covid-19. Today. Of these, 766 have been hospitalised, 155 of those are in ICU and almost half of those are on ventilators. Which is awful. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s almost completely avoidable.

Dig deeper and we can see that 97% of all NSW Covid-19 hospitalisations in the first week of September were people who were not double vaccinated. Looking back at the data available from the beginning of the NSW outbreak, from June to date, shows that more than 98% of all ICU admissions were not doubly vaccinated.

What are the odds? Well. It seems that they’re pretty high that if you’re not double vaxxed and you’re exposed to the delta strain of Covid-19, not only will you be more likely to acquire the infection, you’ll have a much higher chance of hospitalisation and experiencing acute and debilitating illness. Here, now, in SA, we just can’t see the danger. That is in no way the same thing as assuming there is no danger. That would be terribly foolish. It’s waiting out of sight, but it absolutely will arrive. The only choice here is one of either choosing protection for oneself and those around you or consciously choosing not to do that. You can choose to gamble with your life and future health, you can roll the dice and take the consequences.

Remember though, a pandemic of the unvaccinated is preventable.

I seem to have wandered away from my opening remarks, and from sharks, apologies – this email is intended to solicit your views on the matter of requiring vaccination for attendance on campus. Please follow the link below to a quick survey page which will allow you to express your view on this matter, as well as allowing us to get a better picture of the vaccination status of our campus population. It’ll take less than a minute to complete - it’s certainly much shorter than this email!

UniSA Covid-19 Vaccination Survey

Stay well and safe,

Best regards

8 October 2021 1.56pm

All student email from Tom Steer, Chief Academic Services Officer

As you may be aware, yesterday the South Australian Police issued updated Covid-19 Emergency Directions and these directions will have a potential impact on you and your studies if you are in a health environment. Please take a moment to read the new directions and also reach out to your program director if you require further information.

The new directions stipulate that any healthcare worker, including students on placement, must have evidence of at least the first dose of a TGA approved Covid-19 vaccine by November 1st 2021 (unless there is a medical exemption) in order to enter a health setting. Vaccinations for those working in Aged Care are already mandated by a separate Commonwealth order that came in October 2021.

Therefore, If you haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 already, I encourage you to book an appointment through the SA Health booking system if you are located in South Australia at your earliest opportunity.

Again, if you are unsure if the new directions apply to you or have any concerns about the impact on your study, please contact your Program Director who will be able to assist you.

Regards,

1 October 2021 3.13pm

All student email from Professor Allan Evans, Acting Vice-Chancellor

Dear Students,

As we complete another successful round of graduations, I have taken the opportunity to thank all UniSA staff for their efforts to minimise the multiple impacts of COVID-19 disruptions on student progress. It hasn’t been ideal, and no one would have wished for the situations we have found ourselves, but the fact that students continue to complete their studies and have the ability to walk across the stage in front of family and friends to collect their parchment from the Chancellor is something worth celebrating. Virtual graduations, which have been common interstate and overseas, don’t quite hit the mark!

The entire UniSA community has worked extremely hard these past two years to ensure our own safety and I want to thank everyone again for excellent compliance with social distancing and mask use (destined to become just a little more frustrating as the summer months arrive).

While South Australia has, so far, avoided many of the longer-term COVID-19 restrictions thatare prevalent interstate, there is no guarantee that our situation will remain trouble-free in the coming months. Until we reach the appropriate vaccination targets, any outbreaks in South Australia may lead to temporary restrictions, including the possibility that staff and students will be unable to attend campus. And when the virus does move through South Australia, as I believe it inevitably will, we will be challenged in much the same way that Victoria and NSW are currently being challenged.

You are no doubt aware that some universities interstate have recently mandated vaccination for people wishing to attend campus – students, staff and visitors. While UniSA has not, at this point, taken such a step, I cannot guarantee that vaccination will not become mandatory, at least for a period of time, for attendance at UniSA campuses.

Indeed, COVID-19 vaccination has been mandated for students who need to attend certain placement sites, particularly health services, as part of their studies. This is no different to the requirements that have been in place for some time around vaccination against other serious diseases. Accordingly, students in certain health programs have been informed that lack ofvaccination may impair their progress through their degrees as we may not be able to secure appropriate health placement for their studies. UniSA relies a great deal on our industry partners and I believe it is their prerogative to request students (and UniSA staff) be vaccinated before attending their premises or engaging with their staff, clients and customers.

For your own protection, and for the protection of your colleagues and those who for medical reasons are unable to be vaccinated, I would like to encourage you to make COVID-19 vaccination a priority. This will not only provide you with an immediate health benefit, but it will ensure we can keep any future disruptions to your studies at UniSA to a minimum.

On the University’s COVID-19 website you will also find a range of useful information and resources. Vaccination is our best path to restoration of the lifestyle and activities and events we long for, and together it is a contribution we can all make to shaping our future.

Regards,

1 October 2021 3.08pm

All staff email from Professor Allan Evans, Acting Vice-Chancellor

Dear Colleagues

As we complete another successful round of graduations, I would once again like to thank all academic and professional staff for their outstanding efforts over the past two years to ensure the multiple impacts of COVID-19 disruptions on student progress were kept to a minimum. Those who were able to attend the ceremonies would have left with a strong feeling of pride.

We have also worked extremely hard these past two years to ensure our own safety and that of our colleagues and our students, and I also want to thank everyone again for their cooperation, collegiality and dedication in continuing to provide high quality services and support during these challenging times. The compliance with social distancing and mask use has been exceptional – with our ongoing commitment fully on display at each and every graduation ceremony.

While South Australia has, so far, avoided many of the longer-term COVID-19 restrictions, there is no guarantee that our situation will remain trouble-free in the coming months. Until we reach the appropriate vaccination targets, any outbreaks in South Australia may lead to temporary restrictions, including our ability to attend campus. And when the virus does move through our community, as I believe it inevitably will, we will be challenged in much the same way that Victoria and NSW are currently being challenged.

You are no doubt aware that some universities interstate have recently mandated vaccination for people attending their campuses. While UniSA has not, at this point, mandated COVID-19 vaccination for staff and students, I cannot guarantee that vaccination will not become mandatory for UniSA campus attendance, at least for a period of time, over coming months.

Indeed, COVID-19 vaccination has already been mandated for students who need to attend certain placement sites, particularly health services, as part of their studies. This is no different to the requirements that have been in place for some time around vaccination against other serious diseases.

Accordingly, students in health have been informed that lack of vaccination may impair their progress through their degrees as we may not be able to secure appropriate health placement for their studies. UniSA relies a great deal on our industry partners and it is their prerogative to request students be vaccinated before attending their premises or engaging with their staff, clients and customers. 

For your own protection, and for the protection of your colleagues, our students, and those who for medical reasons are unable to be vaccinated, I would like to encourage you to make COVID-19 vaccination a priority if you have not done so already. As a university, I believe we have an obligation to lead the way and ensure we adhere to the best possible scientific and medical advice which signals, quite clearly, that the best way of minimizing the individual and community impacts of COVID-19 is to become double vaccinated.

On the University’s COVID website you will also find a range of information and resources about, for example, the availability of leave for the purposes of getting a vaccination. 

Thank you.

17 August 2021 3.04pm

All student email from Professor David G. Lloyd, Vice-Chancellor and President

Dear Students,

For once, a ‘good news’ email on the topic of COVID-19.

Around the world we are still dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on our way of life and on our connections with our families, friends and each other. We have all adapted, pivoted and shown great cooperation to manage our way through all the changes and complexity of new rules and ways of studying and learning.

It has often felt over the past eighteen months that we had little control, and that the capacity for planning for the future has been taken away from us - and we haven’t enjoyed that feeling. However, among all those uncertainties and speculations, I don’t think we have recognised or celebrated enough the scientific achievement that has delivered high quality vaccinations to the world in record time. These breakthroughs present us with the opportunity to win back some of that sense of control.

Vaccines are backed by clear and strong science. We are all aware of the history of achievement that vaccination has given the world in dealing with many so many seemingly intractable diseases through so many generations – since 1796, if anyone’s counting.

Tried and tested.

As an institution of science and evidence, UniSA celebrates that achievement – and continue to contribute to that fundamental body of knowledge.

While we will clearly experience the other tried and tested measures of infection control - lockdowns, masks and physical distancing - for some time, the single most important and very best action we can all take now is to get vaccinated.

All adult age groups in South Australia are now eligible for vaccination against COVID19 and I urge you to take this up as soon as possible – simply book in, roll up and get jabbed.

If you’re based outside SA, my fundamental message is the same – as soon as the opportunity presents itself, please book your appointment for a vaccination. It’s the very best way to protect yourself, those you care about and to get our community and society back to normal.

Thank you all once again for your ongoing flexibility as we navigate these extraordinary days. Stay well and safe. Look out for one another.

Regards,

17 August 2021 10.49am

All staff email from Professor David G. Lloyd, Vice-Chancellor and President

Dear Colleagues,

For once, a ‘good news’ email on the topic of COVID19.

Around the world we are still dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on our way of life and on our connections with our families, friends and each other.  In our own institution we have adapted, pivoted and shown great collegiality and cooperation to manage our way through all the changes and complexity of new rules and ways of working. 

It has often felt over the past eighteen months that we had little control, and that the capacity for clear planning for the future taken away from us - and we haven’t enjoyed that feeling.  However, among all those uncertainties and speculations, I don’t think we have recognised or celebrated enough the scientific achievement that has delivered high quality vaccinations to the world in record time.  These breakthroughs present us with the opportunity to win back some of that sense of control.

Vaccines are backed by clear and strong science. We are all aware of the history of achievement that vaccination has given the world in dealing with many so many seemingly intractable diseases through so many generations – since 1796, if anyone’s counting.

Tried and tested. 

As an institution of science and evidence, we celebrate that achievement – and continue to contribute to that fundamental body of knowledge.

While we will clearly experience the other tried and tested measures of infection control - lockdowns, masks and physical distancing - for some time, the single most important and very best action we can all take now is to get vaccinated.

Now that all adult age groups in South Australia are eligible for vaccination against COVID19 and I urge you to take that up as soon as possible – simply book in, roll up and get jabbed.

If you’re based outside SA, my fundamental message is the same – as soon as the opportunity presents itself, please book your appointment for a vaccination. It’s the very best way to protect yourself, those you care about and to get our community and society back to normal.

Thank you all once again for your ongoing commitment and dedication as we navigate these extraordinary days. Stay well and safe. Look out for one another.

Best regards

2021

2020

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