The COVID-19 pandemic has seen us working through many new considerations in order to keep our residents and broader community as safe as possible. For both your information and interest, I am sharing with you an update on life at Sancta.
Firstly, I regretfully confirm that all community events, including the Annual Gala Dinner & Alumni Awards 2020, have been postponed. It is our sincerest hope that some of these events can occur before the end of the year in the same or reimagined formats, but we have halted planning until we have more clarity.
Secondly, you may be wondering what this global health emergency means for a residential community such as ours. Here is an overview of our current situation.
Heading Home / Reducing Resident Numbers
In recent days, I asked all remaining residents to seriously consider whether their being at College was necessary and/or their only option. This was in response to the imminent closure of state borders and guidance from authorities to significantly reduce our resident numbers.
Our resident numbers continue to reduce, with less than 80 students remaining at the College. I have been grateful for the understanding and cooperation of our students and their families.
Those now remaining at Sancta fall under one of the following categories:
- International students with no immediate family in Australia
- Students with family members at home who have compromised health and/or are very young or elderly
- Students who have made the careful assessment that remaining here is the most sensible and safe option
Albeit in undesirable circumstances, I do encourage all community members to take advantage of this rare chance to hit the brakes, rest and reconnect with loved ones.
This is a non-exhaustive list of measures we have or will put in place to reduce the risk and/or spread of COVID-19 at Sancta:
- Elevated hygiene and cleaning measures, including hand sanitiser stations and hygiene communications throughout the College
- Increased protection for all staff and students (including work from home options and the availability of personal protective equipment)
- Changes to where, when and how we serve and consume food
- Total ban on outside visitors (including conference and accommodation guests)
- Postponement of all major student and community events
- Strict social distancing measures and room capacity protocols
- Disclosure and isolation protocols for any residents or staff who become unwell or believe they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
- Ongoing liaison with NSW Health, industry bodies, other USyd colleges and the College Council
Confident in our decisions thus far to protect our community, we will now turn our focus to ensuring the Sancta community remains connected and as strong as ever. We have been delighted to observe students’ efforts to lift one another’s spirits through social media – you can see re-shares of student-generated content by following the official Sancta Sophia College Instagram account: @SanctaSophiaSyd.
I welcome suggestions on how we can maintain the momentum of what has been an outstanding year of community and connection. We face uncertainty but, as always, we know who we are at Sancta, and we will continue to operate according to our mission and values.