The University of Sydney will continue with remote learning until the mid-semester break, meaning that the first 8 weeks of Semester 2 will be spent online.
In an email to all staff on Thursday morning, Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott confirmed that USyd has decided to extend remote learning until 27 September, which is the Monday of the mid-semester break.
USyd had originally planned to deliver its activities remotely until Week 4.
Scott says that the decision was made “in recognition of the challenge created by the current uncertainty” caused by the Delta COVID-19 outbreak in NSW.
As before, “critical teaching activities that currently require an on-campus presence or in-person components,” including placements, can continue.
The University is also permitting “critical research activity” where pausing the project would lead to animal welfare or safety issues, but does not consider research by Honours or Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students as critical.
Staff will need to seek approval from a University Executive member for in-person activities.
10 days of special leave is available for permanent, fixed-term and casual staff members to “support them in dealing with the impacts of COVID-19,” as well as 10 days of carers’ leave.
NSW faces an ever-growing COVID-19 crisis caused by a slow vaccination rollout and a failure by the NSW Government to control the spread of the Delta variant early. The state set a record of 681 new cases on Thursday.
NSW Health is offering priority Pfizer vaccinations for 16 to 39-year-olds in Local Government Areas (LGAs) of concern. Data shows that young people have “borne the brunt” of the latest outbreak, with more than half of cases being people under 30.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has indicated that the Government is abandoning its “zero COVID” strategy, saying earlier that residents “can’t pretend that we will have zero cases around Australia.”