On-Campus Events to Return
By Brandon How
On Sunday, the University announced that its ban on hosting functions on campus will be lifted from 7 September onwards, after being in place since March.
On 13 March this year, the University announced that it would “cancel all public events and social gatherings” until 20 June as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19. This timeline was later extended indefinitely to comply with changing ACT Health directions.
In a Facebook post made by the ANUSA Clubs Council it was clarified that the University’s new regulation will allow the return of “in-person events on campus”, as well as the ability to “book venues and rooms on campus”. Clubs Council Chair Jacob Howland told Observer that the implications of this regulation for clubs are “overwhelmingly positive”, as many “have not been able to run events at all for the past five and a half months”. He further suggested that the new regulations would “allow some life back on campus, in a safe way”.
All events will remain subject to existing ACT Health and ANUSA Clubs Council COVID-19 Event Requirements. These include social distancing, basic sanitation measures, an event capacity of 100 attendees, and a two-hour time limit. As outlined in the University’s Functions on Campus Protocol, event organisers must also nominate a “protocol officer” to be responsible for ensuring their event is compliant with the protocol regulations. The protocol officer will also be required to complete the Australian Government’s COVID-19 infection control training course, which is available online. Organisers must also submit a COVID-19 Risk Assessment Plan and a COVID-19 Safety Plan alongside the standard Functions on Campus Form. The former can be downloaded from the Functions on Campus Protocol document.
Furthermore, “physical inspection of events” may be carried out by the ANU’s Functions on Campus team, depending on the expected risk of COVID-19 spread. Cancellations may be enforced “at short notice” in the event of an “outbreak or identified case” at a “specific venue or on campus”. Any incurred costs will be the “responsibility of the organisers”, not the University.
The move to reinstate on-campus events was accompanied by the University’s implementation of a new COVIDSafe Campus Alert System. On Tuesday, Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt announced that the University’s current risk level is “low”, indicating “no or low community transmissions in the ACT”. This is only one level above “normal”, which will only be reached when “COVID has been eliminated”. According to the Functions on Campus Protocol, public events and functions will only be cancelled again if the alert level reaches “high”.
Graphics by Brandon How
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