Friday 29 May 2020
The Australian screen production industry today released COVID-Safe Guidelines to help get the industry back to work.
The Guidelines have been developed by the Australian Screen Sector Task Force, comprising the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), Screen Australia, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), Screen Producers Australia (SPA), State and Territory Agencies, Guilds, ABC, SBS, Ausfilm and major production companies, to support a safe return to production in Australia. The Guidelines have been drafted in consultation with the Commonwealth Department of Health and global law firm, Clyde & Co.
AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood said, “The number one priority of the Task Force is the safety and well-being of production teams and those who work with them. The Guidelines have been an incredible collaborative effort across the industry and are a significant step in getting screen production back on the road to recovery.”
Responding to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, every production will need to draw up its own personalised COVID-Safe production plan that identifies the specific control measures needed to mitigate the risks COVID-19 poses to its personnel, given each production’s location, scale and content.
The Guidelines detail both mandatory controls, informed by the latest government medical advice and State WHS legislation, and a detailed, department-by-department range of control measures that each production can draw on to create its own COVID-safe plan, covering guidance on a number of people on set, shooting in close proximity, use of personal protective equipment, hygiene control measures, medical advice, and travel and transport.
The Task Force has consulted widely with industry and will continue to do so. More than 300 MEAA members attended a recent Zoom meeting to provide input and feedback into the draft and SPA consulted with approximately 60 of its member businesses during including Fremantle Australia, CJZ, Every Cloud Productions, Aquarius Films, Porchlight Films and Ludo Studio. Production companies with projects either in or about to return to production, such as Fremantle Australia, Endemol Shine and See-Saw Films, also contributed to the Guidelines with their experience of managing and planning COVID-safe productions.
The Guidelines are a ‘live’ document that will continue to evolve alongside continuing advice and as industry sector best practice develops as project return to production.
Monday 30 March 2020
All AFTRS short courses and degree courses will now be delivered online until further notice. AFTRS continues to be guided by two principles through this period: to do what we can to support the health and safety of our community and to ensure the continuity of high quality learning for all our students.
Our faculty staff member who tested positive with COVID-19 no longer has symptoms and is feeling much better. We are pleased to share with you that all close contacts have been identified with the assistance of NSW Health Unit and tested and we have no other confirmed cases of COVID-19. AFTRS continues to work closely with the NSW Health Unit to ensure the safety of our students, staff and community.
Our faculty is rising to the challenge of delivering teaching remotely with ingenuity and creativity, and we are working closely with students to ensure we maintain the highest level of delivery. In line with government directives on social distancing restrictions, we have postponed all productions to next semester.
AFTRS will continue to support, however possible, the screen and broadcast sector and the wider community.
SUNDAY 22 MARCH 2020
An AFTRS faculty member has tested positive for COVID 19. He and his family are doing well – he did have mild symptoms but is now much better. He will self-quarantine for 14 days or until he receives a negative result for the virus.
AFTRS has worked very closely with the staff member and the NSW Health Unit to identify people he has been in close contact with over the past 14 days, and these students and staff have been contacted. They have information from the NSW Health Unit about self-isolating and other measures they must take and we are also providing them with ongoing support and assistance. The source of the faculty member’s transmission is known.
To ensure the safety of staff, students and our community, the school is closed today for an intense clean of the premises.
The AFTRS Award courses (BA, MA and Graduate Diploma) were suspended last week from Monday 23 March to Friday 27 March to allow staff to prepare course material to be delivered online to support the government’s social distancing measures. All staff and students will work from home this week while this course preparation takes place. From Monday 30 March all courses will be delivered online.
All short courses will be delivered online from Monday 23 March.
AFTRS continues to work closely with the NSW Health Unit to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of students, staff and the community.
This information will be updated regularly.
TUESDAY 17 MARCH 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AFTRS is putting in place precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of our community.
We have temporarily suspended all public events and bookings and closed the building to the general public until further notice. Please note that we have postponed our graduation ceremony and graduate showcase until spring. Students will graduate in absentia.
For now, we continue to deliver our courses in the building, with additional cleaning and hygiene measures and social distancing measures in place to support the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
In this rapidly developing situation, our first priority is the continuity of high-quality learning for all our students. We are working on a plan to transition our course offerings where possible to online delivery if we are required to do so.
For our short course customers, we understand that during this period, when the situation is changing day by day, your circumstances and capacity to study, in person or remotely, may be affected and so please contact our short courses team to discuss your particular needs and concerns.
On Thursday 19 March, AFTRS will be running a test day to trial delivery of all courses online. The building will be closed to all students and staff. All courses will be delivered online and staff will work remotely. We ask for your patience on Thursday if we take longer than normal to respond to queries.
From Friday 20 March to Friday 27 March, all AFTRS Award courses will be suspended to allow staff to prepare course material to move online, or to be delivered in an alternative form so we can support the government’s social distancing measures and its work to contain the spread of COVID-19.
We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the Australian Government to ensure that recommendations from health officials are implemented, and we will continue to review and update operations in line with the latest advice.