Novel Coronavirus Response Plan

About us

UPDATED: Thursday 20 March

In meeting with our School Executive on 19/3, Gareth Jones reminded us of the Hong Kong experience, where they only way to beat this pathogen is by leap-frogging way ahead of it. By being hyper-cautious, we will do just that.

The basic rule is, stay off campus and stay at home. It will seem a little like play-acting at first, until the virus surges. If the virus doesn’t surge, it will again seem like play, so you are tempted to cut corners and be cavalier. Please don’t! If the virus does not surge and nothing happens, it means the community’s precautions are working, which is great. But don’t decide ‘it’s all over now’ until we decide that together. We’ll all come out of our holes again when this thing is dead and gone.

So, for sometime hence when physical isolation feels like unnecessary play-acting, re-read my next points. They will alarm you, because they are alarming:

  1. Every community around the world has seen a pattern that goes: case-case-case; then cluster-cluster-cluster; then general epidemic. Australia is now in the cluster phase.
  2. The spread is ‘logarithmic’, which means it grumbles along slowly, or so it seems, until it goes super-fast everywhere all of a sudden. I want us safe and cosy at home before that bit.
  3. This disease is not the flu. It is worse. It occasionally kills young, fit people; and anecdotal evidence is emerging that even some ‘recovered’ young people have been left with significantly impaired lung function. Your outcomes are worse the older you are, and the more health issues you have. There are many mild cases, true. But at least 15% are very, very severe. You do not want to get this thing.
  4. Looking at St Mark’s own business continuity, because we are small, we are in deep doodoo if several of us are infected. Sending you home early, and asking you to stay away from nearly everyone, is my best hedge against that possibility.
  5. Everyone’s best defence against this thing is to go home, and stay home. I can’t make you stay home and away from others, but I sincerely hope you will, for about four weeks at least. Handwash 10+ times a day with soap, because soap does kill it.
  6. Several of our students have significantly compromised health, in part because they are on average much older than an average university cohort. They are therefore at much higher risk overall than compared, say, to the generally younger students of other universities (including CSU).
  7. Health professionals are desperate to ‘flatten the curve’, meaning to prevent a surge in cases that overwhelm hospitals. The more people who go home and stay home, the flatter the curve. I think of it as our civic duty—even as a way to help Canberra’s poor and homeless, who will suffer first if the curve goes large.
  8. I don’t want to risk any surfaces in St Mark’s being infected, because that means JB, AH, TH and SY cannot come in and use the place (see on them below). Then St Mark’s and the Library are completely closed. Help me guard against that, with no special-pleading about why you can come in whenever. Please be very firm and clear with all students others: doors are closed, no exceptions.
  9. Personal note … I am in the category of men (55+ with extra issues) that they are not giving ventilators to in Italy. So, I am not coming on campus for anything. I will help you in every way I know how from home, but am not coming in, so don’t ask. I’m looking forward to heaven so this is not fear talking; it’s the disruption that will be caused to St Mark’s if I get ill.

But that is enough of alarming stuff. There is now every chance you won’t get it, and I am looking forward to us being a beacon of Christian hope, joy and connection with everyone we meet online.

  1. Before leaving campus properly, tidy your surface so cleaners can go nuts (i.e. clean them a lot while we are gone).
  2. Julia and Alan and Thyme and Sylvia have ‘privileged access’. Julia will staff reception (doors locked) Monday to Thursday, and Alan on Fridays. Thyme and Sylvia will take turns in the library (and at home) helping students with books and erources. (They’re able to digitize as normal, and post books to distance, internal and RTO students.) 
  3. It is imperative to keep Julia, Thyme, Sylvia, Alan (and all our surfaces at St Mark’s) free from infection. Quite apart from our love for these friends they are mission-critical to our successful functioning ‘at this special time’ (to quote President Xi!). So although I accept you will need to come in from time to time, can you please keep that to an absolute minimum, and out of hours where possible. My goal is to reduce their risk to zero.
  4. If you do come in, handwash handwash handwash handwash … handwash … and guess what? Handwash.
  5. DON’T GO NEAR ST MARK’S IF YOU ARE FEELING ILL. If you come down with any illness, please tell me as soon as you can. If you or a family member come down with COVID, you MUST INFORM ME IMMEDIATELY. Given its long period of asymptomatic transmission, the authorities will need to contract-trace backward for several days prior to your first symptoms.
  6. Can I urge you to physically distance yourself from everyone outside the home? While I have no say over how you live your life, our purpose in closing the campus is to keep everyone well. It follows that by removing yourself from others, we can continue unscathed.
  7. It is important that you continue to work safely whilst working from home. This means having both a safe, appropriately equipped work space and  following safe work practices.  St Mark’s NTC is following the Guidelines outlined in CSU’s Working Safely from home. You should complete the self-assessment checklist in that document and provide me with a copy of the outcome (phone shots will be fine). Please take note of the staff responsibilities outlined in this document, including the need to report and hazards, incident or illness to me as soon as practicable. I”ive been flippant about WHS, but no longer; it’s important.)
  1. On Mondays through Thursdays at 9.30am we will have CSU conference to check how we are travelling. Follow the conferencing instructions below using Conference ID 26264. Obviously you won’t be able to make it to every one, but please make it to most.
  2. On the whole, please respect normal hours. That is, best not to be calling each other outside the hours each other normally works. I won’t list everyone’s hours as you probably know them.
  3. You many need help to manage a work plans, or you may not. The work we do is known to us; all I care about is the work getting done; you can do it to whatever schedule suits you and I won’t be tracking that. However if you’d like support or ideas or ‘scaffoling’ in any way, let me know.
  4. We will aim for chapels to livestream 10.00am – 10.45am Tuesdays to Thursdays. Again, use the conferencing function using conference ID 26264.


  1. Comms: Conference calling

There will be reasons to conference call together. CSU instructions are at https://www.csu.edu.au/division/dit/services/service-catalogue/conferencing-at-csu but they’re still a bit confusing, so here it is more simply.

CSU conferencing is very handy. You can join via the web using a computer with webcam and mic/headset; or you can dial in using a phone. Both take you to the same conference.

  • If you are HOSTING a conference, you need to get and keep a ‘VMR’ (= pin number) from DIT (x84357).
  • If you are JOINING a conference, you do not need a VMR. (But maybe get yourself one anyway.)
  • Every conference also has a conference ID. If hosting, use your five digit extension number above as the conference ID.

To join or set up a conference using a phone:

  1. Dial 02 6933 7555
  2. You will then hear: ‘Please enter the number you wish to connect to, followed by the hash key.’
  3. Enter the conference ID e.g. if hosted by Andrew C, he enters ‘26264#’ (no quotes).
  4. You will then hear: ‘Please hold while I connect you. <pause> Waiting for the conference host to join. If you are the conference host, please enter the conference pin number now.’
  5. If starting a conference, here you enter your VMR ‘<four digit number>#’ (no brackets or quotes).
  6. You will then hear: ‘Welcome to the conference.’ … and hopefully some conferees.

To join or set up a conference via web browser:

The same principles apply if you are hosting or joining a conference using your via web browser.

  1. Go to https://conference.csu.edu.au . (It uses an app called ‘Pexip’, if you see that.)
  2. Enter your name
  3. (Maybe:) Allow your browser to access your webcam and mic
  4. (If needed:) Click the three dots to the right of your name, then ‘bandwidth’, then ‘Low’ or ‘Medium’.
  5. Click the video camera icon or mic icon
  6. In ‘Search to call’, enter the conference ID
  7. (If hosting):Enter your VMR
  8. (If not hosting): click ‘Just Join’ below that.


  1. Comms: Phones (not relevant to sessionals, except for how to contact us):

Set this up on your desk handset before you leave the campus:

  • Check the extension number listed for you below is correct, and tell Andrew if it is not.
  • Dial 99 (enter your extension and PIN if necessary) (this MUST be done prior to leaving campus)
  • Press 5 + 1 to change your current state to ‘Forward’
  • Select 5 to add a forwarded number

Note: If a caller leaves you a voice message and you have not forwarded your phone, you will receive this as an email as usual

To make calls: use personal mobile or home phone. Track costs for reimbursement or tax deduction, if needed. (You’ll need to list time of each call then get the cost later from your phone bill.) The goal is that we should be able to contact each other by calling 02 627x xxxx where ‘x xxxx’ is as follows:

Bell, Julia262520432 272 926
Broughton, Geoff 262670408 050 265
Cameron, Andrew262640410 983 763
Doherty, Bernard262300425 877 023
Errington, Andrew262140476 374 056
Foulcher, Jane262690450 478 225
Gladwin, Michael262680407 900 650
Hansson,Thyme262570402 708 971
Hibberd, Chevelle262550423 248 138
Lock, Nickyn/a0415 312 557
Mathews, Jeanette262490439 620 603
Neville, David 26259
Pringle, Elizabethn/a0439 462 017
Teo, Kevin262050448 007 928
Young, Sylvia262560488 982 279

Students: Census Date. CSU may extend sensus date beyond March 27th (to be confirmed). It is normal for some students to withdraw for various reasons prior to census date. It would be great to see if we can help them not to withdraw solely due to covid – invite them to talke it over with you id they are thinking about it, and assure them of the value of online learning for their sanity in the weeks ahead!

Students: Announcement

Please post this test to Announcements in ALL SUBJECT SITES:

Courses in the School of Theology are delivered through several centres. Each is handling COVID-19 a little differently. For information relevant to you, go to one of the following links:

Distance learners and St Mark’s Barton campus: https://stmarks.edu.au/about/covid-19-response-plan/

St Barnabas’ Adelaide campus: https://www.sbc.edu.au/latest-news/sbc-covid-19-update/

St Francis’ Brisbane campus: https://www.stfran.qld.edu.au/coronavirus-response

United Theological College Parramatta campus: you will receive information directly from your lecturers(s) about UTC’s teaching arrangements. You are welcome to contact your UTC lecturers via email at any time.


Students: Pastoral support. Take some time to ask students how they are travelling re covid, either privately by email, or during online chats, or on the forum. Many will feel very isolated and the connection will be invaluable. Specimen message to CD cohorts from me:


I hope you are having an OK week. Everyone is a little crazy about covid, so if you’d like, drop me a line on how you are feeling about that (ancameron@csu.edu.au). But life goes on and we’re meeting safely online already, which couldn’t be better. Think of this subject as an opportunity to restore sanity, be with others, and think about what matters.

[messages about subject content etc …

…  Depth of thought and soul about these matters will long outlast the darned virus! [end]


Students: Get participating students comfortable with i2, but refer them to Student Central for IT help. Jeanette has sent info on how but here’s the link again: https://www.csu.edu.au/current-students/support-services/help-information/technical-support/online-meeting-adobe-connect

Audit Students: If they wish to continue via Adobe, remember to make your Adobe sessions available for them should they wish to join online.

  1. Select ‘Meetings’, then select ‘Edit Information’.
  2. In ‘Edit Information’ you select the button next to ‘Anyone who has the URL for the meeting can enter the room’.
  3. Then select ‘Save’ at the bottom of the page. Simples!

Screenshot for auditing lectures


Students: Library services. Good news! Sylvia and Thyme will be able to post books and (hopefully) add to digitised collect. You can continue to ask for e-resources, but the pressure is off a little since students can still borrow physical items.

Teaching: To ensure someone can cover if you fall ill, every week from now on please complete your subject progress template.; Either save it to S: drive
S:\Academic\FOAE\SOT\1 St Mark’s\202030 subject progress
or simply email it to Jeanette Mathews (jmathews@csu.edu.au) each week.

IT: Set it up with Kevin before leaving campus. Based on info from CSU you will be either:

  • Using your own personal laptop or desktop (having installed VPN);
  • Using a CSU-managed laptop (having installed VDI and Duo MFA); or
  • Taking home your CSU-managed desktop (not recommended).

You can definitely survive on your personal computer without VDI/VPN by using various web portals (i2, conferencing below, Adobe Connect). VDI/VPN are really only necessary if to access S: drive, and maybe for other rare circumstances.

Mac users should check use of Adobe Connect at home as it can be baulky.

Take home if you want:

  • A webcam
  • A headset
  • An HDMI cord to plug into your TV as a second screen.


General: Each day at home:
a) Follow CSU WHS advice. Don’t damage yourself in a dumb way.
b) Join the 9.30am conference and 10.30am chapel. (See above.)
c) Devote first part of each lecture to seeing where people are at, etc … pastoral care will become increasingly valued and valuable.
d) Keep an ear open for if they have unsupported health issues or other emerging needs … not sure how we would handle that, but let’s try.
e) Internet will fill up the more people work from home. Best to freeze your video during lectures.
f) CONTACT CSU DIT FIRST if anything breaks: 1300 653 088 or CSU Internal 84357; or ‘log service request’ at www.csu.edu.au/division/dit .
g) If recording lectures: it might be best to prefer audio recordings. There are a few ways to do this – easiest to use the one you know, or ask Andrew C for a suggestion


Comms: Phones (sessional lecturers): to be on the safe side, text your mobile number to:
Andrew Cameron 0410 983 763
Jane Foulcher 0450 478 225
Jeanette Mathews 0439 620 603

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