COVID-19 latest information for students and staff

The COVID-19 vaccination is now available for eligible persons at the SCU Health Clinic Lismore.

To get the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer and AstraZeneca), please book an appointment via our online booking tool or call 02 6626 9131.

Book Online at Southern Cross University Health Clinic

Key Developments

Update 2 December 2021

As previously advised, we are planning for a return to campus from Tuesday 4th January 2022.

In order to achieve this, significant planning, including comprehensive COVID risk reviews across our campuses continues to ensure we maintain a safe environment for all students, staff, contractors and visitors.

As the COVID situation continues to evolve, and states across Australia outline their respective roadmaps to the easing of restrictions, it is clear that there will continue to be varying restrictions based on your residential location and vaccination status.

The University encourages all students, staff, contractors and visitors to be fully vaccinated to help protect the health and safety of everyone on our campuses. Vaccination remains the most effective protection against serious COVID-19 infections.

Although we are strongly encouraging everyone to be fully vaccinated, SCU will not mandate vaccines at this time, opting instead to continue to align with the requirements of the relevant Public Health Orders (PHO); this has been our position since COVID-19 was first detected. If you fall into a category whereby a PHO requires you to be vaccinated, for example, staff at the SCU Gym and Unibar, then you must abide by that specific PHO.

For employees at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19 as outlined in the link below, please contact SCU’s Workplace Health and Safety unit at whs@scu.edu.au and they will work with you to conduct a risk assessment regarding your return to campus.

People at greater risk advice from health.gov.au

Please keep in mind that our Health Clinic on the Lismore Campus is now offering Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccinations and bookings can be made by phoning (02) 6626 9131.

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested immediately and remain at home. It is essential that you do not come onto campus if you have even the mildest of symptoms. COVID-19 transmits easily and quickly and we ask everyone to consider the health and safety of everyone on campus and do the right thing by not exposing others if you know you are experiencing symptoms. If you have a runny nose, sore throat, cough or loss of taste/smell, please contact your supervisor and WHS to advise you are not fit to attend work. You will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID test before returning to work.

Also, as previously noted, we are very mindful that for many staff, a return to campus may bring with it challenges given the length of time we have working from home. Please be assured that all colleagues will be afforded adequate time to make arrangements for a return to campus, particularly those staff with caring responsibilities. Throughout 2022, the University is committed to striking a sensible balance between achieving practical, appropriate and beneficial flexibility for staff with the objective to further strengthen our staff culture and build on a teamwork-based environment. Colleagues will have the opportunity for conversations at the team level about the flexibility to blend campus based work with working from home, as well as transitional arrangements over January for those with caring responsibilities.

Finally, we are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone back on campus and we sincerely thank you again for your patience and understanding in what are extremely challenging and changing times.

Allan Morris
Vice President, Operations


Update 20 October

Return to Campus Planning

As previously advised, it is our intention to be in a position to return to campus from Tuesday 4th January 2022.  

In order to achieve this, significant planning, including comprehensive COVID risk reviews across our campuses is required to ensure we maintain a safe environment for students and staff.

We are also very mindful that for many staff, a return to campus may bring with it challenges given the length of time we have been working from home.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will consult with staff to ensure our ‘return to campus’ planning is as comprehensive and thoughtful as can be.

It is also essential that we provide everyone with adequate time to make arrangements for a return to campus, particularly those staff with caring responsibilities. 

More broadly, as the COVID situation continues to evolve and states across Australia outline their respective roadmaps to the easing of restrictions, it is clear that there will be varying restrictions based on your residential location and vaccination status until at least the end of the year and these will also need to be factored into our planning. It is highly likely that individual plans will be required for each campus.

With the above in mind, we are proposing a staged return process for staff from December 1st noting the consultations that we will be undertaking in relation to the broader return that we envisage in 2022.

For now, current arrangements continue, and only staff deemed essential and who have approval from their Head of Work Unit are able to work from campus through to December 1st.

Teaching will remain online for the remainder of 2021 as it is in many other Universities. The exception to this will be activities that have already been approved to be conducted on campus. 

In planning for a return to campus, the University recommends that all students and staff get vaccinated for the health and safety of everyone in the University community.

Please keep in mind that our Health Clinic on the Lismore Campus is now offering the Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccinations every Wednesday and bookings can be made by phoning 02 6626 9131.

Finally, a reminder that if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested immediately and remain at home. As we are all witnessing, COVID creates an environment where things can develop and change very quickly.

As always, we will keep you updated on any COVID related matters and thank you again for your understanding, flexibility and resilience.

Allan Morris
Vice President, Operations


Update 10 October

Given the recent lockdowns in Northern NSW and the changes coming into effect tomorrow, Monday 11th October, across all of NSW, we remind staff to continue to work from home where it is practical to do so for the remainder of the year.

For those that wish to return to campus, hybrid arrangements (part work from home/campus) will be considered for approval by your Head of Work Unit. This will allow us to carefully stage our return to campus.

As we  start a gradual return to our campuses, we will require specific campus based arrangements as can be seen by the different mask rules below for NSW and QLD.

The following provides a summary of current requirements to keep us all safe from COVID.

The Service NSW app remains a requirement to check in and out of our Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses and the Check In Qld app is still required to check in at our Gold Coast campuses.

Mask Rules on NSW Campuses

  • Masks must be worn indoors, including workplaces, across all of NSW. This includes Coffs Harbour and Lismore campuses.
  • Masks are not required outside except in limited circumstances.

Mask Rules on Gold Coast Campus

  • Masks are not required indoors or outdoors if you are seated or when eating or drinking.
  • Masks are required  indoors or outdoors where you cannot maintain 1.5m distancing (unless you are seated or when eating or drinking).

Where a face mask is required and cannot be worn, an alternate must be found to ensure the safety of the individual as well as all those around them. All alternate face mask options must be determined following consultation with the Faculty or Head of Work Unit as well as the Workplace Health and Safety team.

The full set of restrictions (including mask restrictions)

For NSW can be found at:

https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/what-you-can-do-nsw 

For QLD at:

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/restrictions-impacted-areas

We greatly appreciate the way in which you have flexibly responded to the various lockdowns and associated restrictions this past month.

Allan Morris
Vice President, Operations


Update 7 October

Changes to NSW Public Health Order

NSW Health have updated the general Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2001 (PHO).

The revised PHO specifies vaccination requirements for certain business types.

As an “Education Establishment” as defined in the PHO, the University does not specifically require vaccination for attendance at our NSW campuses, however vaccination is a requirement for the following parts of campus:

  • Lismore and Coffs Harbour Gyms and Cafés
  • Lismore Pool
  • Lismore Unibar
  • NMSC Aquarium 

From Monday October 11th until Wednesday 1st December, Gym and Pool patrons will need to display proof that they are fully vaccinated for entry to the facility.

Cafés and the Lismore Unibar will operate take-away services only until Wednesday December 1st.

The Aquarium at NMSC will close until further notice.

The University encourages all students and staff to get vaccinated for the health and safety of everyone in the University community.

Please keep in mind that our Health Clinic on the Lismore Campus is now offering the Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccinations every Wednesday and yesterday administered 75 Pfizer vaccinations.

Please keep in mind that our Health Clinic on the Lismore Campus is now offering the Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccinations every Wednesday.

Pfizer is now available to all persons 12 years of age and above, including those above 60 years of age.

If you already have a booking for a first dose of AZ , the clinic can offer you the Pfizer vaccine instead if you would prefer this.

Please contact Clinic Reception to make a booking on 02 6626 9131

The full details of the lockdown restrictions can be found at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested immediately.

Allan Morris
Vice President, Operations


Research

Advice for researchers and HDR students: Researchers at all campuses need to heed advice regarding new research, and note that their subjects may be impacted by the lockdown.

See Research and research impacts


Health Students

Update 30 August 2021

Please be advised there are two new NSW public health orders now in place which apply mandatory vaccination requirements for certain workers in health care and aged care.

These are: Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021 and Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 202 which can be found at Public Health Orders and restrictions - COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (nsw.gov.au)

Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021

The Order establishes mandatory requirements for health staff and persons working in health settings to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 Vaccine, which means a vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The Order requires staff to have received a first dose of a vaccine by 30 September 2021, with a second dose required by 30 November 2021.

The Order applies to

  • in the public sector, persons who work for the NSW Health Service, for a public health organisation, the Health Administration Corporation and Ambulance Service of NSW, as well as staff of the Ministry of Health
  • in the private sector a person who does work in a private health facility, being a private hospital or day procedure centre
  • in the private sector, registered paramedics whose work involves transporting, or assessing whether to transport, persons to and from a public or private health facility.

Work is defined broadly to cover employees, contractors, VMOs, visiting practitioners, volunteers and students undertaking clinical placements.

Students will be required to show evidence of having received a COVID-19 vaccination in accordance with the dosage requirement deadlines outlined above.

PEU will be receiving advice about the NSW Health compliance processes that will be applied to students coming on placement in public health facilities in due course. If you have any questions please contact PEU in the first instance on healthplacements@scu.edu.au.

See all Dean of Health notifications

Julie Jomeen
Dean of Health

It is important to recognise that COVID-19 remains an active concern and consequently the University will continue to take the appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of staff, students and visitors to our campuses.

If you need to contact the University because your situation is affected by COVID-19, please use this dedicated emailSCUAssist@scu.edu.au.