More than 2000 Bribie seniors have been anxiously waiting news of the possible restarting of classes at the University of the Third Age (U3A) Hopes have been dashed by the continued spread and threat of Covid-19 in recent weeks, despite the measures imposed..
The U3A Management Committee met recently to review the many limitations and requirements involved in safely conducting classes at the U3A Centre in the Recreation Hall.
After extensive discussion and consideration, the 14 members of the Management Committee reached a unanimous decision not to re-open until next year. Understandably, many of the 2000+ students who attend the 150 classes will be disappointed, and in some cases unhappy at this decision. Several factors influenced the decision, not the least of which is the volatile situation now spreading throughout Australia and inevitably into Queensland.
The Covid safe guidelines issued by the Queensland Government, as well as MBRC Council expectations in relation to use of the facilities, require a complex re-organisation of the timetable and room usage. Complex measures and strict supervision would be essential to ensure social distancing, avoiding members assembling before or after classes, and sanitising of furniture and common areas after each class. The number of members able to attend any class is limited by the size of the U3A rooms and the current space per person restriction.
The Management Committee did not make this decision lightly, with the primary focus and concern being the insurmountable challenge of providing a Covid safe environment, and the welfare and health of vulnerable members.
Difficult and disappointing that this decision has been, it is hoped that the logic and reasons will be clearly understood, and that members and the public will understand and endorse the reasons for it.
Several Tutors have already arranged to conduct class sessions for appropriate subjects at off site locations, or by on-line communication. Monthly Newsletters will continue to be published, and sent to all members by email, or personally delivered to those without.
Further details of proposed classes and Timetable for Term 1, commencing in January 2021, will appear in future Newsletters, and we sincerely hope that by then we will be able return to our classes, and the much loved and supportive culture of U3A ………. knowing it is safe to do so.