Thursday 2nd January 2020
As you will be aware, many parts of Australia have been impacted by severe bushfires. As a result of these fires, Canberra is experiencing significantly high levels of smoke and low air quality which is impacting Session A of the NYSF Year 12 Program.
The NYSF has been and will continue to actively monitor weather conditions and smoke/air quality in real-time during the program. We are closely following the advice provided via ACT Health and are actively advising participants and staff to restrict outdoor activity as is appropriate dependent on the air quality rating.
Participants who are sensitive to smoke, especially those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, are being monitored more closely. Students, staff and volunteers are being supplied with a P2 Mask with an active carbon filter as required and are being supported by the NYSF to be transported with extra buses instead of walking and to remain indoors as much as possible.
The conditions have resulted in a number of organisations in Canberra either closing or reducing to essential staff. I am contacting you as these closures may be of concern to you. Today the ANU issued a release notifying the closure of their campus until Tuesday 7 January. In this communication, they state ‘there is no immediate threat to the campus and this is a precautionary measure'.
We want to reassure parents that we have spoken with the ANU College where students are staying and they are remaining open (as are all Colleges hosting residents and visitors over the summer) and like us, they are following precautions to minimise smoke and support participants. Likewise, ANU is keeping their facilities open to us, and we still have use of lecture theatres and a range of facilities on campus. Some of our planned STEM visits may change depending on smoke accumulated in venues which are being carefully monitored.
Please rest assured that the participants, volunteers and staff are in high spirits, and feel they are being well supported in the adverse conditions. We are in constant communication with them and checking on them constantly. Likewise, we will immediately seek medical attention for any participant who is unwell.
Again, we wish to reassure you that the NYSF has a Risk Management Plan and mitigation strategies in place for extreme heat and other weather conditions that could eventuate during the height of Australian summer. In the event of extreme heat, the NYSF ensures that students travel on coaches instead of walking to visits, that students remain out of the sun, are well-hydrated, wear sunscreen and are actively monitored by our volunteers and staff. The safety and wellbeing of our students and volunteers is our first priority.
As always, for any emergency matters where immediate action or notification is required, please do not hesitate to contact the NYSF Canberra Duty Phone on 0487 821 781. For any other non-emergency matters please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melanie Bagg, CEO, and the NYSF Team