What does physical distancing actually mean? 

Social and physical distancing are the words of the day, but what does this actually mean and why is it necessary? Firstly, we need to look at how COVID-19 is transmitted between people. The virus is spread via airborne droplets which spread from one human to another via contact and proximity. To minimise our exposure to the virus we therefore need to maintain a safe social distance from others wherever possible.

The Australian Government’s most up to date social distancing guideline recommends the following:

  • Stay at least 1.5 metres away from others
  • Do not shake hands or exchange physical greetings
  • Practice good personal hygiene (such as thoroughly washing your hands, especially after you have been in a public place).
  • Stay at home and only go outside if it is absolutely essential
  • Use tap and go and cashless payments wherever possible
  • Travel at quiet times and avoid crowds
  • Avoid public travel and at-risk groups such as the elderly
  • Public gatherings have been restricted to two people

Reasons for leaving the home include shopping for food, exercising in a public park (with no more than 2 people), attending medical appointments, and going to work or education provider if it is not possible to do this from home. Within your home there are further actions which you can take including

  • Keeping visitors to a minimum (read: no house parties)
  • Increasing ventilation by opening windows and doors
  • Regularly disinfecting commonly touched surfaces such as door-knobs and light switches

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and guidelines can change daily. Check this website for updates. https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/social-distancing-for-coronavirus-covid-19

How to stay connected safely

While undoubtedly disrupting our ordinary lives, these measures are absolutely necessary to slow the spread of the virus, protect our communities, minimise the burden on our healthcare system, and save lives.

Physical distancing does NOT mean you socially distance too! One positive from this pandemic is that we will learn fun and creative ways to keep in contact with friends from afar. Staying connected is so important for our mental health and overall wellness. Check out the following ways to keep your social life thriving from your own home:

  • Netflix Party is great for a long-distance movie night with your pals.
  • Craving a house party? There’s an app for that.
  • FaceTime and Facebook Messenger are perfect for video chats with multiple people. Why not schedule in a ‘video chat hour’ every day with your friends?
  • Discord, while mainly used for gaming, can also be used for communication and chatting.
  • Bring out old school multi-player digital games like Words with Friends, Club Penguin, Minecraft (there are literally hundreds out there!)
  • Bunch is an app which lets you play mobile games with your friends
  • TikTok is the perfect way to showcase your wacky and wonderful home dance routines
  • Drawful is an app where you can be weird, artistic, and creative (like an online version of Pictionary).
  • Online meeting platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts can host one MASSIVE group chat
  • Use Twitch to watch livestreams and join an online gaming community
  • To keep it really simple, why not have a simple phone call with your best mate?

We are SO fortunate to be living in this era when staying connected is as easy as clicking a button. There are literally hundreds of apps designed for long-distance socialising. Schedule in some rituals, find something which you and your pals love, and make sure you get that compulsory dose of social interaction every day! Netflix party anyone?


For info updates on the University’s response to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 page.

Feature image via Unsplash

Every morning I wake up and think: “Yep, there’s a literal pandemic outside”. Something very serious I didn’t ever think I might see in my lifetime. But here we are, still going to class via the magical power of the subpar Australian Internet Infrastructure, still handling life however fast it comes at us. So let’s put on some pants, put on a cool shirt, and go through the ways we can make sure we can work in tip-top shape, despite the fact we’re working at the place we once spent 8 hours watching YouTube videos about some kid from London reviewing chicken shops… okay maybe that was just me, but here are some tips on how to stay healthy while studying from home.

Studying from home is a change of pace for many students. Adapting to a new way of learning can be difficult and is especially tough during this time. Setting up a healthy routine and sticking to it when studying from home is essential not only for your own wellbeing but also so you are able to work to the best of your ability.

We know that being healthy means getting enough sleep, exercise and nutrients – but with things in the world changing every day, the added stress can make it difficult to stay on top of things. It’s ok to be overwhelmed! Try and follow these tips to make sure you are looking after yourself throughout this period.

Are you trying to study at home by yourself but finding it impossible to motivate yourself and get into a groove? Want to know how you can adapt and kick your academic goals for the rest of the semester? The secret comes in a well-planned and organised home study timetable. Whether you are a seasoned professional or this is your first time trying to study at home, a study timetable will keep you on track, accountable, and ready to tackle the rest of the semester (self-isolation and all).

Well, we’re in the early stages of a lockdown and if you’re being a responsible member of the community you’re currently at home riding out this pandemic. It’s still full speed ahead for university and you’ve realised you have three quizzes, two essays and a group work assessment due. If that isn’t stressful enough, all your housemates are in the same boat and you’re all a bit stir crazy.

You’d swear that housemate 1’s new Apple watch was telling them to reach a spoken word goal because you’ve never seen someone needing to talk this much. Housemate 2 has turned the living room into a home gym and decided now’s the time to play fitness videos 24/7 because “I’ve never had as much time as I do now to get the body I want.”

So how are you possibly meant to get anything done? Well, allow me to give you tips and tricks – as someone (an introvert) who has somehow made it through four years of uni whilst living with absolute hooligans (Hi guys, I still love you). 

Let’s face it, we weren’t all exactly ready to pack up all of our things and start studying from home. And we weren’t really prepared to swap our University funded desks for the op-shop dining table that mum picked up last Christmas.

I bet some at-home study spaces are looking as bare as the Australian economy right now (too soon?) which means it’s time to spend an afternoon of isolation getting your makeshift home office looking like it stepped straight out of Queer Eye!

But because we don’t all have Netflix money, we’ll be doing this on a student budget. Here are a few (affordable) tips for you to get your home study spaces looking absolutely fly.

It can be incredibly hard to find focus at home during this trying period of global pandemic. There’s a sudden surplus of time for Netflix, reading, social media, language learning, and creativity, we’re all on permanent staycation! Except, we’re not. There’s still work to do, bills to pay, and, of course, assignments.

Assignments can be hard enough to get done on a regular basis. How are you supposed to manage your time and complete that quiz when you’ve just remembered that the guitar you’ve been meaning to restring for three years is sitting in the cupboard, calling your name? And how could you open a textbook in a time like this, when this is the perfect opportunity to finally get around to reading War and Peace? Procrastination can be a killer of productivity. Luckily for you, Navigator has compiled a volume of handy tips all sourced from university staff and your fellow students.

You wake up with a sore throat and assume the worst is coming. You check your inbox and see the bills you need to pay, even though you’ve lost your job. Maybe you’re not worried about yourself, but you are concerned for a family member.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our mental wellbeing. When everything feels out of balance, it can feel impossible to keep up with something so ordinary as uni.

I Zoomed in for a cup of tea with University Counsellor, Dr Emma Kerr, to talk about the ways the pandemic is affecting students’ mental health. Emma also shared her top 3 tips on how to manage those feelings while soldiering on with uni.

The past few weeks have been a tumultuous time for Australians, as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread around the globe, eventually being announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

UON Students are now studying from home – some have lost work; others are balancing their course loads with caring for sick relatives or home-schooling children. It is important to note that amid all the chaos, support services are available.