Griffith campuses which transitioned online during COVID-19 will spring back to life next month as the University prepares to progressively ramp up on-campus teaching and learning activities from the start of Trimester 2, Monday July 13.
Griffith University Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Debra Henly said Griffith was implementing a staged and considered return of on-campus activities, in line with government and health guidelines.
“Many teaching and learning activities will resume on campus in a staged manner during Trimester 2, including the return of on-campus amenities and support services,” Professor Henly said.
“We have also advised students they will have the flexibility to continue their studies online for the remainder of the trimester, should they wish.”
Third year Bachelor of Midwifery student Nhi le Nguyen said she was excited to get back onto Logan campus and join her midwifery friends.
“In the midwifery group we rely on each other for support through our placement and our clinical and theory journey, so being disconnected a little by COVID has been hard but we still have our online connection,” she said.
Thoughts echoed by Imke Barnard, a fellow third year midwifery student.
“We have really grown as a group this semester especially during COVID,” she said.
“We have relied upon each other for support, not only academically but emotionally as well!
“It has really been a time that solidified our desire to want to be better midwives.”
Second year Bachelor of Nursing student Danielle Ramsay is looking forward to socialising and reconnecting with friends when campus re-opens.
“Facetime has been an amazing way to stay in contact with my friends from uni, as well as group chats, it isn’t the same as in person, but with all the craziness it was a pretty good substitute,” she said.
“The uni has provided plenty of support, via live streamed classes and Q&A sessions. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been manageable.”
The 20-year-old even did a four-week placement at Logan Hospital during the pandemic.
“Even with the ongoing worries surrounding ‘Covid-19’, hospital staff still carried on as normal, doing their job and saving lives.
“Placement was an amazing experience, and I built on my nursing knowledge and skills, learnt in practical sessions at Uni.”
Hazel Rands, Deputy Program Director, Bachelor of Nursing at Logan Campus said the School of Nursing and Midwifery was well placed to deal with COVID-19 measures.
“One of the things in our favour was a review of our curriculum four years ago where we did a lot of work around blended learning, so we already had a lot of content available to students that they could view in their own time, online,” she said.
“We were also really lucky in that part of the move to the trimester model a couple of years ago included teaching intensive opportunities for our second and third year nursing students and midwifery always uses teaching intensive methods, which meant our students were placement ready and were not disadvantaged at all from that perspective.
“We had very few of our clinical placements cancelled due to COVID-19.”
In another positive, Hazel said student feedback for Trimester 1 had been fantastic.
“We’ve just had the student evaluation of courses back this week and we’ve actually had the best evaluations, of courses across all nursing and midwifery programs, that we’ve had in years,” she said.
“They have been really positive in relation to the way that the course was taught and assessed and feedback that students received.”
Hazel says planning is underway in earnest to ensure social distancing measures are a consideration when learning and teaching resumes in a few weeks.
“We are currently working on a process to get our second years in the clinical laboratory spaces in early July, and our technical staff have done a mapping exercise around social distancing.
“For our labs to safely accommodate 900 second year students spread across Logan, Nathan and Gold Coast campuses, we probably need to run about 15% more lab classes, so there will be additional teaching sessions available to allow the students and teaching staff to socially distance.”
The safety, health and well-being of students, staff and the wider community is Griffith’s key consideration in managing a campus return.