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The WATTLE defence against COVID-19

While 2022 saw the return of in-person teaching at ANU, COVID-19 continues to weigh on staff and students. Face masks, social distancing and absences are a constant reminder of the global pandemic and its impact on ANU.

Assisting to deter its spread across campus, a collaboration between the Work Environment Group (WEG) and the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) began in February through an unlikely defence system, WATTLE.

The WATTLE defence process:

When a student or staff member at ANU receives a positive COVID-19 test result (PCR or RAT) they fill out the ANU Covid form to notify WEG.

This form asks pertinent questions, such as, ‘What date did you receive your positive test?’, ‘When and where were you during the two days prior to your test results or first signs of symptoms?’ and ‘Were you part of a class or course?’ 

This information is used to establish who may have been exposed to COVID-19 while on campus.

Additional information such as, ‘Were you wearing a mask?’ and ‘How long were you at a location for?’ is gathered to assess whether risk of exposure to others was low, moderate or high.

All information gathered in this process is confidential and used only for this purpose.

CLT uses the collected information to create an appropriate notice to post on the course’s WATTLE announcement forum with the date, time, location and risk of the exposure, as well as other relevant advice based on the current ACT health directives.

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Thank you to those who have been diligent in reminding students to fill out the ANU Covid form and for filling it out themselves, when necessary. Please also continue to email when a student notifies you of a positive test, as it allows us to post a WATTLE announcement as swiftly as possible.

Together with your efforts of wearing masks, social distancing, testing regularly and isolating, WATTLE has been a useful ally in the University’s defence against COVID-19, assisting the containment of the virus’ spread across campus and allowing students and staff to continue invaluable in-person learning and teaching.

April 2022

Caitlin Jones is a Support Officer working in the Communications team, ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT).