King’s College Coronavirus Update 27 March

King’s status update: King’s College remains open and there is no plan to close. No residents are currently undergoing testing for COVID-19 or are in isolation at this time.

Recent changes: Since our last update on 23 March there has been few changes to Government requirements and, as a result, only a few modifications to our policies and procedures have been made:

  • The outdoor Physical Training sessions being coordinated masterfully by Tom Baulch are limited to 10 people. A note of thanks here to Tom for the outstanding work he is doing here keeping us all fit and active during this time!
  • All residents are reminded that due to room occupancy guidelines there should only be one visitor in your bedroom at any time.
  • All gatherings outside should not exceed 10 people.

We have increased the focus on spatial distancing over the last week and the team have been doing a great job. Keep up the great work on spatial distancing, it does take some getting used to it – it’s not a normal thing for us humans! So remember to remind your mates if they forget at any stage.

Alternative events: Our team is continuing to find new and inventive ways to keep our community entertained and together at this time. Our movies on the quad have been a great success, as has the PT being run by Tom. We’re also looking to introduce a series of health related challenges in the next few days, bringing our choir together virtually, and a range of other community building activities. Our residents should keep an eye out, particular in our Facebook groups, for more information.

Going to be away from King’s? Please help us ensure that you are safe and sound by letting us know if you are going to be away from King’s over the coming weeks. We’ve even made a quick and easy form online to make that happen.

What’s next?  We continue to monitor the situation very closely and will be doing everything we can to keep our community together even when we are at a distance. We’re also aware that, like the rest of the country, it is a tough time for everyone out there and it’s important that we help each other in getting through the current pandemic. How can we help? (Even those of you who are away from the College!)

  • If you need to talk to someone about your academic situation or concerns don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Academic and Career Services, Tony Andres, via email, online, or catch him at the office (but spatial distance!).
  • Don’t forget that your Residential Assistant is still your RA! They’ll be making contact with those who are away this week, but don’t forget you can contact them if you need something or just want to chat.
  • Greg and Peter might be slightly greyer than a few weeks ago, but both are still here every day and more than happy to help you with whatever you need.
  • We know that some of our families may have concerns about fees at the moment, if this is you please email our Bursar, David Warren, to discuss this further.

King’s Corona FAQ’s

As at 27 March 2020

What is King’s doing to help prevent a coronavirus case here?

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.

In addition, we have also:

  • Dining Hall – To increase social distancing the number of seats per table has been reduced to two per table, which means that there are 32 seats available at any one time. Residents are still able to utilise the outdoor dining areas, as along as appropriate spatial distancing is observed. 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. Appropriate spatial distancing has been marked out on the floor for easy reference.
  • Tutorial program – Tutorials are now offered online. The tutorial schedule is available on Facebook or in the Weekly Wyvern.
  • Room limits – In line with indoor gathering and room occupancy requirements we have identified the appropriate and maximum occupancy for our common spaces. These limits are displayed on signage outside each room.
  • Cleaning – In addition to the comprehensive cleaning program already in place we have increased the amount of ‘touch point’ cleaning (door handles, bannisters etc) undertaken each day.
  • Staff – All staff who can work from home are working from home.
  • Gym – The gym is now closed. We are working on an option to lend out equpment to individuals (but are checking the cleaning requirements etc first).
  • Visitors – We are asking that all non-essential visitors do not enter the College. 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 and is takeaway only.
  • Events – Some events have been cancelled or postponed. The Wise Wyverns lunch has been cancelled and the ICC Ball has been postponed. All events currently being run comply with Government requirements (for example no more than 10 people at outdoor PT).


What happens if there is a case of coronavirus at King’s?

At this point we would expect the following to happen if there is a case of coronavirus at King’s College:

  • That person would be isolated in a hospital
  • Public Health would conduct contact tracing to identify contacts (they would identify and locate everyone who spent >15min of close contact or >2hours in the same room)
  • Those people identified as contacts would likely be required to do 14 days of self-isolation
  • Areas of the College that required additional cleaning as a result of this coronavirus case would be identified and sterilised.


Can you self-isolate at King’s?

King’s has already successfully assisted residents with self-isolation at the College. We do this by ensuring that your RA becomes your primary care person, making sure that meals are delivered to your room and that you have what you need. Where required bathroom cubicles are isolated for your use.


What if I feel unwell?

If you feel unwell at any stage, please do the following:

  • let one of the RA’s or Peter know ASAP.
  • Stay in your room.
  • Call 13 HEALTH.

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 13HEALTH will provide instructions on next steps and we can assist you with that.

If your illness is not COVID-19 related we can still assist you with meals and may ask that you refrain from using the common areas until you are well again, but these decisions will be made in consultation with you and be based on the particular ailment.


Will King’s close at any stage?

King’s is your home and we are very aware that, for many of you, your entire lives are here. We know that some of you come from overseas and returning to your original home is not so easy. Please be assured that we have no plans to close at any stage and are confident we can implement sufficient risk mitigation measures, such as the reduction in Dining Hall seating to increase social distancing, to manage any requirements that occur over the coming months.


What if there is a community lockdown?

If a community wide lockdown is introduced by the Government King’s will remain open to all those who require accommodation. Based on the experience of residential colleges overseas, New Zealand being the most recent example, those living in a college would enjoy much the same experience as they do now, with access to facilities and services remaining.

During a community lockdown residents would, as per the Government requirements, not be permitted to leave the King’s campus unless it was essential (for essential work, supermarket shopping, etc) however we want to assure our residents that they would not be confined to their bedrooms.


Should I just go home now?

The advice we have received is we are doing everything right in tackling the coronavirus. And not only do you continue to have all the food, cleaning and toilet paper you need, but we’re also continuing to operate our extensive academic support program, the KCSC are planning a range of alternative events (such as movies on the Quad) over the coming weeks, you still have access to the learning centre, basketball court and common room.

Being here also means you have access to all of the support from the team at King’s, as well as access to the teaching staff at UQ and QUT (who are still accessible here on campus).


How prepared is King’s to manage the things like the shortages of food and toilet paper?

We’re really lucky here at King’s that our cleaning and catering companies do not use supermarkets for their supplies and have existing arrangements with wholesalers for stock, which means we have a very safe supply of food, toilet paper, and cleaning materials. These companies also have huge teams, so we’re extremely confident that everyone here at King’s will be well taken care of over the coming months.


If I’m away from King’s for a little while who should I tell?

If you plan to pop home for a break or head away at any stage over the coming months we’d really appreciate it if you would let your Residential Assistant know and complete the ‘I’m going to be away from King’s’ form.


I’m worried about my studies – who should I speak with?

Tony Andres, our Director of Academic and Career Services, can help you with an academic concern you have. Tony may be working from home from time to time during this time, so if he is not in his office you can send him an email.


I’m worried about paying my King’s accommodation fees – what should I do?

Like any great community we are determined to get through this crisis by ensuring that we face it all together. We know that this is a stressful time financially for everyone involved. If you need help in making it through this tough time please make contact with our Bursar, David Warren, to discuss what we can do at this time.

How we can help, particularly on the financial front, is something we are spending considerable time working on. This current situation is in a state of flux, changes frequently, and we are working hard to ensure we can produce the best outcome for all involved. As further financial decisions are made we will ensure they are communicated to our community.


I’m feeling a bit stressed about the coronavirus and everything that is going on – what can I do?

It’s quite common to be feeling stressed at this time – there is a lot of uncertainty with what is happening! But we are all, largely, in the same boat here and this is when the King’s family is at its best. Make sure you are talking to your friends, your Residential Assistant, to Peter, to Greg, or anyone here at King’s you feel comfortable talking with about this.

We’d encourage all of you to regularly ask each other – are you okay?

And we have our fantastic counsellor, Vicky Dawes, who is still available for sessions.


I have a question that is not answered here – what should I do?

Send me an email or a message on Facebook. I’ll do my best to get back to you as fast as I can.