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Covid-19 Update: A message from the Vice Chancellor

Tuesday, 24 March 2020


Dear students,

This post is to update you on ECU’s response to COVID-19, particularly how it impacts your studies at this time. I hope this message will leave you feeling more confident about our way forward.

Please take a few minutes to read this email as it covers a lot of important information.

Latest news

A number of government announcements were made over the weekend as the situation continues to evolve. In WA, the State Government announced that as of this Tuesday afternoon our state borders will close (except for essential services and workers).

What this means for ECU is that a number of students from interstate may need to travel home to be with their families before this deadline. I want to firstly let this group know that our thoughts are with them at this stressful time. Please travel safely, take care and know that you’ll not be any way disadvantaged in your studies by this development. Your unit coordinators will provide you with advice about alternative study arrangements.

Your semester moving forward

From Monday, 23 March, we are making some changes to the way we deliver teaching to ensure continuity, flexibility and adherence to social distancing guidelines recommended by the Australian Government. These changes include:

  • ECU’s Academic Calendar for semester 1 will be extended to 26 June, with results released on 5 July. This will ensure our staff have enough time to deliver all teaching and assessment, including consideration for exams to achieve your learning outcomes.
  • The scheduled mid-semester break will be extended for 2 weeks from the 13 April to 24 April. This mirrors the WA school holidays.
  • From tomorrow we are moving all larger lectures and some classes to an online learning environment. You will receive advice from your School or unit coordinator about changed teaching arrangements.
  • Some smaller on-campus classes will be continuing, with provisions made for social distancing and increased hygiene practices and subject to government advice.
  • There may be a number of other adjustments made to our teaching delivery in the weeks ahead and we will keep you constantly updated. Please keep a close eye on your student emails, SMS and social media during this time.

Please note that our libraries, cafes, Student Hub and most other services remain open for your use, with visible guidelines for social distancing protocols.

We know our libraries in particular are critical resources for our students, so I want to be very clear that they remain open, fully operational and welcoming across all ECU campuses.

Supporting your learning in changing times

If you’re new to online learning, or lack confidence in this area, ECU has some terrific resources and advice to get you up and running. Improving your digital literacy will be an important investment in your future career long after the COVID-19 situation has ended, so please make the most of this experience using all the digital tools we have on offer.

We are currently working very hard to source more laptops for loan through the library, as well as data-pack provisions where required. Please be patient as we do this work and in the meantime email IT Services with any questions about sourcing hardware and software requirements for online learning. You can also book online appointments with a Learning Adviser here.

Your wellbeing at this time

ECU staff, including myself, are very aware that the evolving COVID-19 situation may be causing considerable extra stress and anxiety for our students. If this is your experience, please don’t try to manage it on your own. ECU’s Student Counselling Service staff are ready to help if you need them.

Equally, this is a time for looking out for each other. Hugs might be off limits, but there are plenty of other ways we can help each other feel supported. Kindness and care have never been more important.

Indeed, this is a perfect time to look for ways to make a difference. I know many ECU students are already engaged in volunteering activities to help people in the community impacted by COVID-19, and I’d love to see more of this. Foodbank WA is particularly in need of donations right now.

If you and your peers have found ways to make a difference during the current COVID-19 situation, our Corporate Relations team would love to hear about them. Please email

Social media

ECU wants our students to feel connected and supported during this time, especially those that are doing online learning at home.

We’re going to be significantly increasing our social media activity in the days and weeks ahead to provide you with more positive content and engagement opportunities – welcome distractions from the news cycle! Please join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s keep looking out for each other during these challenging times.


Professor Steve Chapman


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