Following a meeting with staff this morning, Students’ Representative Council (SRC) President Liam Donohoe announced that the SRC will temporarily close due to the threat of COVID-19 outbreaks. The first case of a University of Sydney student contracting COVID-19 was confirmed yesterday.
In-person visits and consultations between students and casework or legal staff will be temporarily suspended, but staff will be accessible via phone or Skype. All SRC staff have been strongly encouraged to work from home, for which support has been provided. Those with swipe card access, including student office bearers, Honi Soit editors and members of the Executive, will be allowed to enter the building, but the front door will be locked to the general public.
Donohoe has vowed to “join the USyd branch of the National Tertiary Education Union in demanding that all employers, including the University and University of Sydney Union, ensure that no employee (including casuals) ends up with less pay or leave due to the COVID-19 outbreak, whether as a result of less shifts, smaller cohorts / less classes, quarantining, future shutdowns, or anything in between.”
As a hub for student activism and protest preparations, some questions remain surrounding the feasibility of the grassroots organisation of protests. The SRC-convened Autonomous Collective Against Racism cancelled a protest against fascism in India, scheduled for last Sunday, over coronavirus fears. Several collectives have moved meetings online this week.
Donohoe has formed a COVID-19 response team, with a formal review of the situation also planned for Friday.
The SRC closed briefly earlier this year over coronavirus fears.
More to come.