King’s College Coronavirus Update 16 March

King’s coronavirus status update: There are currently no cases of coronavirus at King’s College. To date we have followed the advice of Queensland Health in our management of the community and actions taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The University of Queensland late Sundat suspended teaching this week in order to allow them time to prepare to deliver more of their course content online. The UQ campus remains open.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) remains open and has not suspended teaching this week, but it has announced plans for online delivery of lectures from next week.

King’s College remains open and there is no plan to close or send students home. We recognise that King’s is home to its residents and as such we are committed to working together as a community in confronting this pandemic.

To date we have been very active in educating our members on best practice in the prevention of coronavirus spread. This has included an emphasis on the advice from Queensland Health and includes:

  • Washing your hands frequently and properly (sing Happy Birthday twice is an idea!)
  • Cover up coughing and sneezing
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Practice appropriate social distancing (i.e. avoid hand shaking, being in close contact with others)

We have also placed hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes throughout the common areas of the College.

Further prevention measures: While our actions to date have been effective we are cognisant of the need to be doing everything that is reasonable and in line with the advice from medical professionals that we can to assist with ‘flattening the curve’ – reducing the potential spread of the coronavirus. As such, we will be introducing a number of measures from Monday 16th March that particularly assist our community in ensuring that transmission points are minimised and social distancing is easier to achieve.

We are aware that some of these measures may impact the day to day lives of the College, but we are confident that all of our members understand how important it is to be doing all we can. At this stage these measures will include:

  • Dining Hall – To increase social distancing the number of seats per table has been reduced to four per table, which means that there is 84 seats available at any one time. Resident’s are still able to utilise the outdoor dining areas. In addition, all food will be served by catering staff to reduce handling of serving utensils and salads will be available in single serve portions. All residents should note that the use of hand sanitiser when entering the servery is a requirement and that disinfectant wipes are available should people wish to use them.
  • Tutorial program – Tutorials will continue as normal this week, however some tutors will already be offering their sessions online and we will be utilising additional locations (Dining Hall, Common Room Terrace, Dining Hall Terrace etc.) to increase social distances. We are working toward the majority of tutorials being available online from next week.
  • Cleaning – In addition to the comprehensive cleaning program already in place we are increasing the amount of ‘touch point’ cleaning (door handles, bannisters etc) undertaken each day.
  • Staff – Some administration staff who are able to work from home will do so for this week.
  • Gym – The gym remains open but we require all users to use the disinfectant wipes on machines used and hand sanitiser before and after use.
  • Visitors – We are asking that all non-essential visitors do not enter the College throughout this week. Signage will be placed at reception and other access points to communicate this.
  • Counselling – Our College counsellor, Vicky Dawes, will be providing this service online. Session times remain the same and full details of this change will be posted in the 2020 Facebook group.
  • King’s Café – Remains open but we will not be able to utilise personal keep or reusable cups until further notice.
  • Events – Some events have been cancelled or postponed. The Wise Wyverns lunch has been cancelled and the ICC Ball has been postponed. We are awaiting further information regarding the various upcoming ICC sports and cultural competitions, which we will update you on as information comes to hand.

We will continue to monitor the situation and the advice from Queensland Health and the Government, making adjustments or additions to our measures as needed.

What else can you do? Along with the prevention measures already outlined perhaps the most important thing our members can do is take stock of the events and activities that you typically take part in or are planning to attend. While the Government has banned events over 500 we would strongly encourage you to consider whether you need to attend an event or activity that brings you into contact with others, especially those that include going to bars and nightclubs. We have a social responsibility to do our best to increase social distancing and reduce potential transmission of coronavirus and we’re sure you’ll make the right decisions in this respect.

Thinking of heading home? All other aspect of life at King’s will continue to operate as normal at this time. While we do not require residents to go home temporarily we completely understand if some wish to take advantage of the suspension in teaching to take a break at home. Please ensure that your Residential Assistant knows of your departure if you do elect to take up this option.

If you are unwell: Please let your RA know if you are feeling unwell, even if you think it is minor. While isolation is not required for other illnesses it is strongly advised to practice social distancing if you are unwell, which may involve having meals away from the Dining Hall and not having close contact with others. If you need any advice, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please note that complete isolation and coronavirus testing is only required for those people who are identified as having close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Questions or concerns: As always please do not hesitate to contact one of the King’s team if you have any questions or concerns about coronavirus, the measures we have taken, or any other matter.