U3APP has enjoyed enormous success in 2020 in moving 70% of classes online. Not only that, we have been kept connected via our highly entertaining weekly e-bulletins, stimulated via our well attended Saturday seminars, engaged via our holiday programs, and creatively enhanced via our photography exhibition. Our membership has increased!
But what of next year? The U3APP COVID 19 Working Group is on the case. The Working Group is planning for a COVID safe environment, consistent with Government regulations and City of Port Phillip processes and procedures. The Group is scenario planning options for the delivery of classes and will be consulting soon with tutors and members.
September marks 6 months since U3A Port Phillip ceased face to face classes and activities. Thanks to the work of the COVID Working Group, the IT team and the enthusiastic tutors and you, our members, we have risen to the challenge and over 70% of U3APP classes are online with over 600 participants.
Nevertheless, we understand that the conduct of online classes by Zoom impacts on the sense of connectedness of some members that comes through direct in person participation. This sense of connectedness built up over the past years is such an important aspect of U3APP operations and the basis as to why we have been able to continue to be successful in the online environment.
In the meantime, the closure of all facilities used by U3APP is set to continue and there is no indication as to when they may reopen. In light of this situation, for the remainder of 2020 all classes and activities will continue to be conducted either online using Zoom technology or via email in limited circumstances. Those classes that have been postponed since the closure will not recommence in Term 4, with the possible exception, post restrictions, of the courses conducted outdoors.
The U3APP Annual General Meeting this year will also be held utilising online facilities.
On a personal reflection Thursday this week was national RUOK day. This day and the phrase arose out of one family’s tragedy but now serves as a great reminder that whilst many members are coping well and enjoying life many others are struggling. A simple genuine gesture of asking “are you OK” can have a very positive impact. I urge you to consider this with family, friends, acquaintances and your fellow U3A members.
As of midnight on Wednesday 22 July 2020, the Victorian Government requires all those in the Melbourne Metropolitan area (and including Mitchell Shire) to wear face masks when out for one of the four acceptable reasons for leaving home:
Shopping for food or other essential items
To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home
You can view a four page pdf provided by the DHHS for making your own face mask by clicking the mask below. You can increase the size of the pdf by double clicking and then clicking on "zoom in" - you can repeat this process until the document is the most suitable size for you.
Below is an email shared by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for all U3A's :
From: Funded Agency Channel (DHHS) <[email protected]> Sent: Tuesday, 21 July 2020 4:03 PM Subject: Mandatory face coverings for Victorians
Community sector colleagues,
As the Premier announced on Sunday, people living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will now be required to wear a face covering when leaving home for one of the four reasons, following a concerning increase in coronavirus cases in recent days.
This new direction will be enforced from 11.59pm Wednesday 22 July to allow people time to purchase or make a face covering. However, we ask you to start wearing a face covering immediately if you can.
There will be some reasons not to wear a face covering. For example, those who have a medical reason, children under 12 years of age, or those who have a professional reason. However, you will still be expected to carry your face covering at all times to wear when you can.
For those in need of face masks to continue providing vital services to the community, please complete the request for PPE form online. Demand for PPE is very high and all requests will be triaged with priority given to facilities and programs where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.
How do I wear a mask correctly? (surgical mask - single use)
Before putting on the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser that is made up of over 60% alcohol.
Check for defects in the mask, such as tears or broken loops.
Position the coloured side of the mask outward.
If present, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the mask and positioned against the bridge of your nose.
If the mask has:
o Ear loops: Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.
o Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.
o Dual elastic bands: Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck. Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head
Mould the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
Be sure the mask fits snugly.
Don’t touch the mask once in position.
If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.
What’s the best way to take off a face mask?
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
Don’t touch the front of the mask or your face.
Carefully remove your mask by grasping the ear loops or untying the ties. For masks with a pair of ties, unfasten the bottom one first, then the top one.
If your mask has filters, remove them and throw them away. Fold the mask and put it directly into the laundry or into a disposable or washable bag for laundering. Single use surgical masks should be disposed of responsibly.
In the coming days, we will also provide you with information about face coverings for vulnerable clients.
For those supporting vulnerable members of our community through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – thank you for your hard work, patience, and determination – you are making a significant difference to the lives of Victorians as we work together to slow the spread of the virus in our community.
Argiri Alisandratos Deputy Secretary, Children, Families, Communities and Disability Department of Health and Human Services 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000
We are writing to let you know about a research study that might be interesting to your members. The research is being conducted by the Department of Psychology and Counselling at La Trobe University under the supervision of Dr Kerryn Pike.
RESEARCH STUDY TITLE: The effectiveness of face-name memory training in older adults
What is the study about?
This research is being done to learn more about the effectiveness of memory training for remembering names to faces in people over 60 years old. We are looking at whether learning specific strategies improves their ability to remember names, and what factors might influence this. The study is being conducted online (i.e. on the Internet).
Why are we doing this study?
The reason we want to know more about the effectiveness of face-name memory training is because forgetting names is one of the most common memory difficulties, and can lead to people withdrawing socially, reducing quality of life. The memory intervention involved in this study will be relatively short in time and is empirically supported to improve everyday memory performance and confidence.
Who can participate in this study?
Taking part in this research study is optional. We are looking for people who are: ● Aged over 60 years old ● Able to read and speak English proficiently ● With normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing ● Have access to a computer and the Internet ● No current diagnosis of neurological disorders (e.g. dementia) or psychiatric disorders (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) ● Capable of completing the tasks independently
What does the study involve?
If people in your community do decide to take part they will be asked to:
● Complete two questionnaire packages on the Internet, two weeks apart ● Practice learning names every day for two weeks ● Depending on which group people are allocated to, they will be provided with information on different memory strategies ● All participants will have the opportunity to enter the draw to win one of fifteen $50 gift cards
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING, CLICK THIS LINK TO START THE QUESTIONNAIRE:
This research has been reviewed and approved by The La Trobe University Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have any complaints or concerns about the research study please email [email protected] phone 9479 1443 quoting the following number HEC20218.
Yours sincerely - Kiki and Sherry - Student investigators
Here we go again……..Melburnians may be back in lockdown for six weeks, but U3A Port Phillip is firing up.
The COVID 19 Working Group still meets regularly and continues to work on strategies to keep members learning and socially connected. The Group has begun the process of developing a risk management strategy in response to the Port Phillip Council’s request for a Resumption Plan for Reusing Facilities. Caveat – we will not be resuming face to face classes in the foreseeable future.
The Working Group is delighted that Term 3 will have an increased number of classes. There are new classes and some of the perennial favourites, exercise classes and watercolour classes (we will emerge fitter and more creative).
The Working Group decided in May that with the use of webinars on Zoom the Saturday seminars could return. With two very successful seminars in Term 2 they continue with a vengeance in Term 3.
The Saturday seminar on 18 July, Writing historical biography: a labour of love or an act of madness? is a must for writers, history buffs and those who like a fascinating story.
The seminar on 15 August will focus on the controversial development of Fishermans Bend.
Pam Caven, Committee of Management, Covid-19 Working Group
Our dear Alex passed away peacefully just before 7pm on 19 August 2020.
There was no-one like Alex. He was a renaissance man - architect, painter, writer, poet, film buff and lifelong agitator for causes that mattered. He never accepted the status quo and always questioned ridiculous rules. He was passionate about fighting racism and he loved to keep up with world affairs. He was a husband to Linda, father to Jessica, Celeste and Simon and grandfather to his two grandchildren Tilda and Lilas-Mae. Along with Alex’s children’s partners, Alison, Charlie and Oli, we are all deeply saddened by his parting. We hope we can carry the torch as brightly and with the same determination as Alex.
We wish we could have everyone at the service so that we would be able to share memories of this unique man together. Unfortunately, in the Stage 4 lockdown we are unable to do so. Therefore, we invite you to join us via live streaming so that we can support each other and pay our respects to our dear Alex.
The service will be held at 3pm on Tuesday 25th of August.
The service will be streamed from the West Beach Bathers Pavilion, which is next to the dog beach on Beaconsfield Parade and we will have a small group of family and friends who will share their memories with us all.
Alex had often said that he would like to be a guest at his own funeral because it would be a celebration rather than a sad occasion. He wouldn’t want us to wear black (unless it was in fashion). He was a colourful man who loved wearing batik shirts as a nod to his cultural heritage but could carry off a stylish shirt and beret as well. How many of us could do that with the flare that Alex could?
Known as Alex, Al, Mon (short for mon darling), Pa, Dad and Opa, he was many things to many people. For him, I hope that we are able to honour his wish and dress with colour and flair for the day. The family are so pleased that his service will be held in his home suburb of St Kilda which he loved so much and next to the beach where we walked so many times with family, friends and our dogs over the last 40+ years.
Thank you everyone for the beautiful flowers & food packages you have already sent. For anyone else who would like to show their love, we know that Alex would have liked you to support The Cancer Council of Victoria.
Please find below the link for the live-streaming for Alex’s funeral service:
The service will be held at 3pm on Tuesday 25th of August.
by Pam Caven, Committee of Management Deputy President, Covid-19 Working Group
On the weekend of 30-31 May 2020, U3A Port Phillip launched an exhibition of photographs taken by or of U3APP Members.
The purpose of the exhibition is three-fold:
To continue and expand U3APP’s commitment to engaging its members in ongoing educational and creative activities.
To provide an avenue for illustrating the creative talents of U3APP members
To contribute to the historical record of the life and times of the corona virus pandemic.
The exhibition is really to have a look at our time throughout the Coronavirus pandemic through a collection of digital photographs (camera, phone, iPad) capturing and recording the human experience, since shut down on 16 March.
As the aim of the exhibition is to capture and record the human experience, to be eligible for submission photographs must include at least one person or the activities of a person.
A caption must be included with the photograph to illuminate thoughts or explain why the photograph represents ‘the human experience in the time of corona virus.
Photographs that do not involve people, such as where the primary subject is an animal/bird or other creature, or the activities of an animal/bird or other creature are not eligible for submission.
It should be noted that as this is an exhibition is not a competition - emotional impact rather than technical composition is more the criterion for submission.
It is intended that one or more photographs will be published in the e-Bulletin on a weekly basis, the selection of photographs will be undertaken by U3APP’s resident photographer Barry McIntosh assisted by Rob Creed and Aziza Khamlichi.
It is possible that the U3A photographs could be displayed as a feature of the City of Port Phillip Seniors Festival.
So, start reviewing your recent photographs or start taking new photographs or both.
Now you have your photograph, you can submit it for the exhibition by following the instructions here.
A success story of U3APP coping with the coronavirus.
Such has been the success of U3APP in moving to an online environment with now over 500 people participating, it has been noticed by U3A Network Victoria, the coordinating body for all U3As in Victoria. Consequently, I was invited to participate in the U3A Network Presidents' Forum on 20th May. The Forum was held online using Webinar with over 70 U3As participating.
I was asked to deliver a paper on how our U3A was coping during the coronavirus lockdown and then participate in a panel discussion with two other U3As and two researchers from RMIT. One of the researchers was online from Brazil. These researchers are looking into how older persons are managing technology.
The RMIT research team outlined that members ‘do not want phones to take over’, but also that ‘the human being is moved by needs’ and so, a future with more digital interaction is an enormous opportunity to embrace. RMIT sees the U3A Movement as ‘community connectors’.
The takeaway from the forum for U3APP is that due to the efforts of the COVID 19 Working Group, in conjunction with the Tutors and all the Volunteers, we are one of the organisations that are leading the way in providing enhanced and innovative services to our members during the pandemic lockdown. This provides us with a fantastic platform for reviewing how and what we can provide in the future.
Report on our Tutor Update & Thank You Meeting 29 May 2020
by Jim Pribble, Committee of Management, Covid-19 Working Group
The time: 44 BC;
Place: on a prominent street in Rome
A Voice from the crowd: “Caesar”
Caesar: “Ha! Who calls?”
Soothsayer: “Caesar, beware the Ides of March!”
Caesar: “Say that again!”
Soothsayer: “Caesar, beware the Ides of March!”
And so it came to pass on the Ides of March (give or take a day or two) that the Committee of Management (CoM) suspended all course delivery by U3APP.
The Tutor Update meeting, hosted by Jim Pribble and attended by 45 Tutors and other U3APP representatives, was opened by an address by the President of U3APP, Graham Gosling. He briefly discussed the current state of affairs and then reported on the several meetings he has attended as a representative of U3APP. The central message Graham presented is that U3APP is well ahead of many other U3As with our implementation of a recovery plan which quickly allowed resumption of coursework. Graham indicated that the task of bringing the Mary Kehoe Centre up to the standard required for the resumption of face-to-face courses, i.e. suitable for our demographic and susceptibility to COVID-19, meeting social spacing constraints and catering for multiple groups using the Centre, will be difficult and perhaps costly. Port Phillip Council is predicting a shortfall of some $42 million, so funding will be an additional burden in attaining access to the facilities (not just MKC, but SMCC, Sol Green, and other venues).
Pam Caven, Deputy President and member of the U3APP COVID-19 Working Group, wove the facts spanning from the Ides of March to the present. Guiding principles adopted by the Working Group (WG) were
Although all coursework ceased on 16 March, WG was determined to re-establish coursework at the beginning of Term 2 (which started 4 weeks after shutdown)
Guarding the health and safety of our members
Facilitating the continuing involvement of members of U3APP through learning and friendship and
Maintaining a strong relationship with the Committee of Management.
In the interval between shut-down and beginning of Term 2, most of the pre-closure courses were ready for rebirth online. Numerically, just to bore you with statistics:
70% of Term 1 courses converted either to Zoom or e-mails and continued at the start of Term 2
70% of our members are currently enrolled in courses either using Zoom or e-mails
70% of our course attendance has been retained.
More statistics for those not yet screaming from the torture:
The WG recently conducted a survey of Tutors with the following outcomes:
50% of our 2020 tutors responded to the survey (many of the non-responders have opted to not deliver coursework on Zoom, but will resume tutoring when we again can meet face-to-face)
66% said their online course was working well and the remainder reported that results were OK
55% said moving into online delivery was easy while 45% said it was a bit of a challenge
75% said U3APP support (particularly IT) has been exceptional
Tutors report that 50% of their class participants are enthusiastic while the remainder said they were appreciative.
Selected Tutors were then asked to comment on their experiences regarding course delivery since conversion to online delivery. This segment allowed tutors to discuss how they made the transition to online delivery and to present objectively (warts and all) on their courses and how their methodology/expectations were changed.
Claude Miller (Language-French e-mail & Zoom combination),
Greg Woodford (Language-Zoom-Beginner and Intermediate Spanish),
The floor was then opened to comment/discussion from the wider audience. There were many astute observations and comments received and shared among participants.
Everyone at the meeting went away with an enhanced appreciation of Zoom and the many uses/capabilities it has to offer. We thank all the participants for taking part in these discussions. Comments from the ‘floor’ were direct and illuminating.
Thank you all for making the meeting successful.
Finally, it is the hope and wish of the Working Group to host a face-face meeting with all tutors (in fact all members) to celebrate surviving COVID-19 by having a hot/cold, brown, white or red beverage of your choice along with a sandwich and/or sausage roll.
In conclusion: The Working Group thanks the Tutors for their dedication and perseverance and the volunteers in the IT grouping without whom none of this would have come to pass!! Also for special mention – Ann Gibson and Margaret Byron for maintaining and reporting the myriad changes to course scheduling.
Thanks again to all who made this, in my opinion, a great success!!!!! WE DID IT!