The University of Canberra campus is slowly coming back to life as students and academics prepare for the start of semester two in the COVID-19 world.
When coursework begins on Monday, there won't be the usual large lectures and tutorials teeming with students. There will be hand sanitising stations and extra cleaning of shared spaces.
Deputy vice-chancellor academic Professor Geoff Crisp said large lectures and classes that would exceed four people per square metres would be delivered online while smaller classes that could respect physical distancing rules would go ahead on campus.
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"Particular things like laboratory classes, studios, clinical classes, all of those where students actually have to physically be on campus to actually do the work, we've given priority to those on campus," he said.
"And so we've actually gone to quite long trouble in those facilities to set them up for safe practice."
Professor Crisp said the university had learned a lot about remote learning from semester one and would be implementing similar strategies this semester. Lecturers and tutors will host virtual classrooms where students can ask questions, see slides and reference materials and break off into small groups to discuss concepts.
Staff will be working on and off-campus based on roster systems devised by their managers to keep numbers low in shared offices. Residences will continue to operate at a lower capacity to reduce the risk of transmission in high-density accommodation.
The Australian National University implemented similar strategies when it began coursework on July 20 with all courses available remotely so that no student would be disadvantaged if they couldn't return to campus.
The universities will be keeping a close eye on outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales and are advising students who have travelled to COVID-19 hotspots to monitor for any symptoms and keep up-to-date with the latest advice from ACT Health.
The University of Canberra has 350 students who have listed a residential address with a Melbourne postcode while 1600 ANU students have listed a residential address in Victoria.
However, it does not mean all of these students have travelled to the state recently.
ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said in a blog post that wearing a mask on campus was a personal choice but he encouraged the university community to start thinking about sourcing a mask to avoid a panic if they became mandatory in the future.
Professor Crisp said it was likely physical distancing in some form would be in place at universities until at least the first half of next year.
"We're going to have to just basically align with whatever the government requirements are at the time, but that's okay," he said.
"I think we've learned a lot in these past months about how to make basically continue our business at the university.
"We want students to be able to complete their degrees. We want staff to be able to continue to work we want, researchers to be able to continue doing their research."