NAISDA Dance College was the Coast’s first educational facility to cease onsite operations as a Coronavirus precautionary measure.
College CEO, Kim Walker, announced on March 18, that NAISDA had taken the bold step to cancel onsite operations from March 20, that it would be moving its holiday break forward and would be implementing online learning options.
Walker said the decision was made with the best interest of students and staff in mind and aligned with NAISDA’S risk management/mitigation plan.
In keeping with the plan, the College has also opted to cancel its upcoming Class of 2019 graduation ceremony, scheduled to take place on April 9.
Walker said both decisions had been tough to make but necessary.
“These unfortunate announcements are in line with health authority recommendations in relation to COVID-19.
“It is part of NAISDA’s preventative approach to secondments, excursions, events and public engagements to ensure the safety of our developing artists, staff, families and communities,” he said.
Walker said both decisions reflected current advice to Indigenous groups and communities that have been identified as being at greater risk from COVID-19, as well as mounting issues surrounding air travel.
“The decision to move from onsite to online was made to ensure students are able to return home should they need to.
“The majority of our students come from interstate and with so much uncertainty at the moment, we wanted to ensure their wellbeing by making this decision now and to avoid the risk of students not being able to travel if conditions change,” Walker said.
Walker said online learning modules would incorporate video lessons and tutorials with students able to seek additional one on one support from staff through email and video calls.
Walker said NAISDA staff had been working hard to ensure the online transition was ready to go once the holiday break ended on April 6.
“We’re very confident in what we’ve prepared and believe this was the best option for our students,” he said.
Walker also confirmed that graduates would still be receiving all applicable qualifications and awards and that the College would be exploring alternative arrangements to mark the occasion and achievements of its outgoing cohort.
“Just like everybody else, NAISDA is simply putting precautions in place to keep our people safe, calm and happy.
“We will still honour the wonderful achievements of our artists,” he said.
The College hopes to return to onsite learning by April 20 but will monitor the situation closely and make a decision closer to the date.
Press release and interview, Mar 18
Kim Walker, NAISDA
Reporter: Dilon Luke