An outbreak of COVID-19 at on-campus residential halls has bookended ANU’s first “fully open” O-week in two years. As of 5pm Sunday, over 200 positive cases of COVID-19 were detected across 12 residential halls, which has resulted in a large number of RATs sent to colleges in a mass testing drive. 

Burton and Garran Hall (B&G) sent an email on Saturday afternoon instructing all residents to complete a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) provided to each floor from 7.30-9.00pm. 

Negative results required no further action, but positive cases were advised to self-report via a web form or directly to the Head of Hall and await further instructions. Students were asked to remain in their floor groups for the evening and all indoor and outdoor activities have been temporarily paused while the situation unfolds.

A University spokesperson confirmed that all residents at several other halls were required to undertake RAT on Saturday night. 

All residents across all residential halls were instructed to complete a RAT this morning. Additionally, all residents will be tested every 48 hours for the rest of the week. 

Students who test positive to COVID-19 must self-report their result to the University via this form and also to ACT Health here. COVID-19 positive students will be moved to appropriate facilities across campus where they can safely self-isolate for eight days. ANU staff will support these students by providing meals and ongoing medical and well-being support. 

An ANU spokesperson confirmed that the University is in “daily contact” with ACT Health who “are assisting the University where necessary.” 

For those students who are not in isolation, in-person learning is continuing as planned. Meanwhile, students who test positive to COVID-19 should access remote study options for their courses.

Social events in all halls will be paused until Sunday the 27th February. Other ANU campus events will go ahead in line with ACT Health directions.

A spokesperson for the ANU stated, “As expected, we are seeing a number of COVID-19 cases in our student residences. This is unsurprising given restrictions are lifting in the ACT and we have had a full calendar of campus and social activities for O-Week.” 

Despite this uptick in cases, the spokesperson for the University reassured that “We are prepared for these cases and have processes and protocols in place to support any resident who is COVID-19 positive. We are also well placed and prepared to help prevent potential further transmission in our residences as well as the wider community.” They underscored that “the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is always our highest priority.”

Woroni will continue to report on this situation as it evolves. Stay tuned for updates.

If you or anyone you know is affected by the content of this piece, please contact one of the support services below:

ANU Counselling

(02) 6125 2442

1800 RESPECT

1800 737 732

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Crisis Line

(02) 6247 2525

ANU Women’s Department

sa.womens@anu.edu.au

ANU Queer* Department

sa.queer@anu.edu.au

ANU Respectful Relationships Unit

respect@anu.edu.au