SIMS Response to Covid 19

Last updated: 21stJuly 2020

Please note this is a living document and will be updated regularly as things change. Please check back regularly.


A message to Staff


Given the COVID situation in NSW and Victoria is becoming more dynamic each day, we ask that SIMS staff, affiliate researchers and volunteers keep up to date with the latest government advice and emerging areas of infection risk. Information can be found from the federal Department of Healthand NSW Health.

We will continue to revise and refine our COVID response in consultation with our University members and NSW health, these updates will most regularly be sent by email.

To ensure that SIMS is able to best manage our return to on-site operations we need to remain vigilant regarding safety and hygiene, and also track those who come to site to ensure ready to react appropriately in the event of potential COVID case at SIMS. All staff have now submitted their Return to Work Self-Management Plan to allow us to best manage the safety and numbers of staff on site each day.


From Wednesday 22ndJuly please be aware of the following changes:


    1. All non-SIMS attendees at meetings on-site (i.e. those that don’t have a permanent desk located at SIMS, and do not have a swipe card) must sign-in via a QR code which will be available in each space. If you are a SIMS staff member, you can choose to sign-in all non-SIMS attendees with one entry or ask each attendee to sign in individually. This does not apply to meetings that are only between SIMS Staff.
    2. If you host a meeting in your office with non-SIMS attendees, please also have them sign-in via the QR code.
    3. Contactless delivery & pickup for couriers will be in place.
    4. Entry to Building 19 will be only via the reception door and exit only via the ramp at the southern end, nearest the conference room. This applies to all people entering Building 19. We understand that at times access via the ramp may be required for manual handling and deliveries; this can be accessed by contract reception.
    5. Entry to laboratory spaces will have an entry and exit point marked to encourage flow of traffic and avoid congestion at doors.
    6. Laboratories will have disinfectant stations set up with adequate supplies to clean your workspace prior to and post work.
    7. Small kitchenette spaces such as those in Building 22 will be a self-service area; please bring your own cutlery and drink bottles and take these items home with you at the end of each day. We recognise this is a busy location and a encourage users to not leave behind their items for hygiene purposes


We will also step up hygienic cleaning of common areas, with commercial cleaners coming through each night. It is still expected that you will maintain the hygiene of your own space by wiping down door handles and workspace items.

Updated safe work procedures and risk assessments for vehicles and vessels covering disinfection protocols are available and will be implemented for your next booking – please allow extra time to read & sign these documents. We have not adjusted fieldwork policy yet, and we expect teams to keep up COVID management while heading out on field trips. However, locations with known COVID cases may become restricted again, so please keep aware of emerging hotspots and discuss any concerns with the SIMS Field Work Manager during planning.

As the situation changes, and we all hope in the right direction, we’ll keep reviewing and updating our management response and communicate these changes with you. As always, ask questions of anything that’s not clear. And stay healthy and hygienic!


Items still relevant from our last update:


SIMS’ Covid-19 Action plan

In the event a SIMS staff member or researcher suspects they may have symptoms of or tests positive for covid-19 SIMS has developed an Action Plan which can be located here.

Currently SafeWork NSW considers a positive case of covid-19 as a notifiable illness.

Working from home arrangements

Staff are still encouraged to work from home where feasible and in line with their return to work self-management plan.


Other general reminders

As much as possible, please try to use Zoom/Microsoft Teams etc over having face-to-face meetings. Face-to-face meetings are fine so long as

  • meetings are to be held in the conference room, boardroom, on the balcony or external open areas only
  • always keep 1.5m between attendees and try not to sit directly across from each other
  • ensure hand sanitiser is used regularly
  • we have set maximum numbers for each meeting space, do not exceed these
  • additional cleaning if spaces will be provided between meetings, please let administration staff know at the conclusion of your meeting
  • please try to avoid using public transport during peak times as much as circumstances allow
  • NSW Health recommends that the community avoids non-essential travel at this critical time
  • most importantly do not come to work if you feel at all unwell, regardless of symptoms.