Being on the front lines, Professors Michael Toole and Deb Williamson have to navigate not only the changing situation and constant influx of information, but also the media. Michael was not prepared for the media storm – since April 2020, he has had 520 media engagements with news outlets around the world. Similarly, every study on COVID testing published by Deb’s team has been picked up by the media and she has sometimes felt ambushed.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve globally, we wish to provide our members, tenants, partners and clients with an update on the steps our Society is taking to minimise disruption to our operations and enduring mission to promote science, the work of scientists and the scientific literacy of the Victorian community. We understand that this is an uncertain time for all, and we would like to reassure you of our preparedness and commitment to maintaining our various programs in these constrained circumstances. At this time we have decided to close our building in the Melbourne CBD. This means our premises will be unavailable for meetings and events until the end of 2020, subject to further assessment of the pandemic situation. We remain open and committed to our programs, if not physically present at our historic headquarters.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents our community with some unexpected situations. The RSV is no different, which is why I am writing to update you on our plans until the end of May. When the Executive met last Thursday, we discussed and approved a plan to keep our activities going for the benefit of our members and supporters – but in a way that keeps everyone safe. We agreed that from today until the end of May 2020 all our meetings and lectures will be held online to ensure the safety of our members, tenants, clients, guests and staff. The plans outlined here are subject to change as the COVID-19 situation continues or finishes. These are difficult times for all of us, but I want you to know that the Executive, Council and staff are all working to keep you informed of our activities and plans during this difficult time, and for ways to support the Victorian health authorities.