The emergence of COVID-19 has posed a significant challenge for our organising team. In addition to concerns about guaranteeing delegate health and welfare, government restrictions on movement and gatherings of people have meant that participating delegates would no longer be able to travel interstate or meet in such a large group in one place. The ACSS team has shown enormous strength, resilience and innovation in adapting the Summit to ensure ‘it is designed with COVID-19 in mind.’

Our solution to the problem is to deliver a fully digitised, ‘COVID-19 friendly’ ACSS. A Headquarters based at the ANU in Canberra will be linked to a critical mass of students in a number of ‘hubs’ around the nation via teleconferencing, phone-link, live streaming, the Conducttr crisis simulation software and other technologies. This will eliminate the need to travel to Canberra and the need for physical interactions amongst delegates, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Additionally, the ACSS team will take further steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus for individuals required to meet in person. This will include team members undertaking COVID-19 training offered by the Department of Health, budgeting for the purchase of hand sanitisers, soap and other hygiene products, developing COVID-19 health, hygiene and social distancing guidelines according to the best health advice available, and seeking verbal and written declarations from all individuals that they will abide by these standards for the duration of the Summit.

We will continue to monitor the restrictions put in place by the Australian Government on gatherings of people. The ACSS team will ensure clear communication with chosen delegates and be flexible to their needs should the Summit need to adapt to this very fluid situation.

We are confident with this plan we can ensure everyone’s wellbeing, and still deliver a unique, exciting and unparalleled experience that will propel students’ careers in the national security field.