Operation shutdown and reopen

Photo of IT, WH&S and Operations teams at ANU Medical School
10 June 2020

How difficult can it be to shut down a few buildings? You empty the fridges, turn off the electricity and lock the door on your way out. Right?

Think again......it’s actually not that simple, especially when one of the buildings has an anatomy lab in the basement with donated cadavers in fridges. What about mail and deliveries? And scheduled building works? Which technology and security measures need to be in place so that staff can continue to work and students can learn remotely?

And, with the reopening of our buildings – can we all return safely?

These questions are the tip of the iceberg!

Thanks to Tim Borough (Operations), Vojislav Zeljkovic (IT), Ricardo Gallardo (IT), Sinisa Nesic (IT, Rural Clinical School) and Dannielle Conway (WH&S) we have answers.

These Medical School staff have been instrumental in the move to remote work, the continuity of business during the lock-down, and with the reopening of ANU……the return to our campuses.

In the week before and during the lock-down the IT team physically moved chairs, screens, keyboards and other work items into people’s homes and set-up staff to work remotely.

Online web based collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Teams and Webex were installed. And of course, the team have been on hand to resolve various IT issues.

“I feel like we had a slight advantage”, said Vojislav, who is also the ‘artistic director’ behind the video communications to staff and students . “The bushfire crisis forced us to think about contingencies and put us in training for this shut-down. It hasn’t been easy but it’s probably been easier than if we hadn’t dealt with the need for remote working and teaching during the bushfires.”

“All of sudden I was dealing with a variety of Internet Service Providers, different data coverage plans, various modems, computers, printers and operating systems. I had to configure home hardware and software to connect with the Rural Clinical Schools IT structure. It was mind boggling at times.” said Sinisa.

Dannielle said, “Ensuring work health and safety requirements are met at our Acton campus, NSW rural clinical sites, and hospitals, has been difficult at times. It’s not just the mammoth task of ensuring documentation is up-to-date, I’ve had to keep myself and others informed about the different state and territory restrictions which are constantly changing. But, it’s all worth it, especially knowing that our efforts have contributed to students being allowed to return to clinical skills teaching at hospitals and general practices. And our Anatomy Laboratory has remained functional during the shut-down.”

“Reopening our buildings is something we’ve been planning and working on since lock-down,” said Tim. “Our current challenge is supporting the split between working from home and on site as people return to the workplace. There are IT and safety challenges we need to address.”

Riccardo said, “I’m proud of what we’ve achieved as a team. We’ve supported each other. We’ve all had a common goal to ensure the Medical School can continue to operate for both our staff and students. And we achieved this with good humour and a smile on our face.”