Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson answers your questions

From reopening campuses for face-to-face learning to managing the return of international students, Australia’s universities face some big challenges as they emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Universities Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s three-step plan to restart the nation’s economy.

Australian universities had moved to online learning to comply with COVID-19 guidelines around physical distancing.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said universities were now carefully considering on how best to resume face-to-face teaching when appropriate to do so and welcomed the inclusion of face-to-face teaching in all three stages of the plan.

“Universities have been working closely with government and health authorities around a carefully staged return to campus,” she said. “Small classes, in areas very difficult to teach online like labs, are likely to be an early focus.”

She acknowledged that students and staff were eager to restart face-to-face learning, but a cautious and gradual approach would be taken with the safety as the top priority.

“The detailed arrangements will differ from university to university, and from state to state, but all will adhere meticulously to guidance from the medical authorities and governments,” Ms Jackson said.

She also acknowledged the fact that step three of the plan referenced international student travel.

“We welcome the inclusion of international student travel down the track, in step three,” she said. “We are keen to welcome all our students, from home and abroad, back to face-to-face teaching, but when it is safe to do so.”

Ms Jackson will be online at noon today (AEST) to answer your questions in an hour-long Q&A.

You can ask your questions in advance in the comments below or during the session.

Due to the number of questions, Ms Jackson may not be able to answer everyone.



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