Having moved into my home 'office' back in March, I am approaching this coming month of July with somewhat mixed feelings about a return to campus.
Although I have enjoyed spending some extra time at home, and have benefited enormously from the forced improvement in digital communication, I am overwhelmingly relieved to be getting back to some pre-COVID-19 routines.
Charles Sturt University has set out a detailed return to campus plan, prioritising learning and teaching. The plan covers all areas of the University from students, academic and professional staff, through to research, recreation and events. With a staggered approach in place, the Dubbo campus will begin to come back to life over the coming months.
In light of these eased restrictions, the University has released the dates for upcoming Open Days to be held both online and, under strict conditions and scheduling, on campus. The virtual offerings, scheduled for 15 - 16 September, will complement the face-to-face events, which for the Dubbo campus will occur on Saturday 19 September.
This year, the Open Day series has been fine-tuned to align with COVIDSafe regulations as stipulated by Federal and State governments. To ensure the safety of our staff, students and wider community, the series will take on a structured format with additional shorter information sessions, mandatory registration and longer event times.
I have also been invited to represent the education industry, alongside representatives from other industry and business leads, on Dubbo Regional Council's Economic Recovery Taskforce. With the aim of providing expertise and advice to Council in developing a strategy to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever, it has and will be a great collective effort to ensure the best possible outcomes for our community.
To date the Council, through its Economic Development and Marketing Branch, senior staff and elected officials, are facilitating a strategic and innovative COVID Response Plan.
Finally, I'd like to provide a brief update on the Sports Hub Stage One, which is planned to be constructed on Charles Sturt University land. The land will be gifted to the project in due course as a symbol of the University's commitment to the Dubbo community.
Charles Sturt has been working with other stakeholders on the development of a Master Plan. Public Works, contracted for the project, will release the draft plan to the public in the coming weeks.
It is an exciting project for the Dubbo community, with the potential for wide spread community benefit both for Dubbo locals, and the wider region. It continues the great work of different agencies and State Government working together to realise this project.
James McKechnie is the Director of External Engagement in Dubbo.