Advice for staff and students regarding the Novel Coronavirus

Published 21 February 2020

The University is monitoring the rapidly developing situation regarding the Novel Coronavirus and following the best medical advice to mitigate any risk to staff and students. Here's what you need to know.

Assistance via email

This page is being constantly updated. Please check back regularly to ensure you have the latest information.

Last updated 25 February 2020 3:00pm (AEST)

If you need to contact the University because your situation is affected by the Novel Coronavirus outbreak please use this dedicated email: SCUAssist@scu.edu.au.

Latest information for current students

The World Health Organisation has officially named the virus responsible for the present epidemic COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease – 2019). For convenience, the University will continue to refer to the virus as the Novel Coronavirus for the purposes of all staff and student communications.

The Australian Government will review the travel restrictions presently in place (see below) on 29 February 2020.

We have been very focused on making preparations to support students whose studies may be disrupted by the unfolding events – particularly, at this stage, those students unable to enter or return to Australia to undertake assessments and attend classes.

As a result, we ask all members of the Southern Cross University community to bear the following points in mind:

Extension of enrolment date

We are extending the deadline for the last date for enrolment for Session 1, 2020 to March 16 to allow greater flexibility for those students currently unable to travel to Australia because of restrictions associated with the Novel Coronavirus to commence or resume their studies.

Deferral of studies

For those students unable to arrive in Australia to commence or resume their studies by the above date because of restrictions associated with the Novel Coronavirus, we will provide additional flexibility in relation to deferral of studies to later periods. Where relevant, this will be worked through on a case-by-case basis to ensure the least possible disruption to study patterns.

Alternatives to deferral

For commencing students who had intended to begin their studies in Session 1 and who are unable to travel to Australia for that purpose and enrol by March 16, 2020 – and for whom the option of deferral is not practicable, the University will on a case-by-case basis examine other alternatives that result in the least possible disadvantage.

Disruption to assessment tasks including examinations

We are aware that there are some students that may experience disruptions to assessment tasks including examinations because they are unable to travel to Australia by reason of the Novel Coronavirus or because examination centres outside Australia are not operating as normal. It is very important to the University that we identify all students in this position so that we are in a position to make alternative arrangements for these disrupted assessments. If you are concerned that your capacity to undertake a scheduled assessment task, particularly an examination or practical assessment that has been impacted by the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, please contact the University at SCUAssist@scu.edu.au, providing as much detail as possible.

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Travel and entry restrictions

The Australian Government has announced travel restrictions have been extended as per below:

  • Only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family (dependents, legal guardians and spouses) returning from mainland China, or transiting through mainland China, will be allowed to enter Australia and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • All non-Australian citizens travelling from mainland China, or transiting through mainland China, will not be permitted entry to Australia.
  • Australian citizens are advised not to travel to mainland China.

The Australian Government has advised that these restrictions will be reviewed on 29 February 2020.

Any students who have travelled to other countries from mainland China to see out the 14-day travel exclusion period, and who have had no recent contact with people with COVID-19 (formerly known as the novel coronavirus infection), will be welcomed to Australia. Students who have spent more than 14 days in another country after leaving mainland China do not require quarantine, as long as they have not had contact with a confirmed case.

Who should quarantine themselves?

All students or staff who have arrived in Australia from mainland China (including Hubei and all other provinces) on or after 1 February 2020 must self-isolate themselves for 14 days from the day they departed mainland China. If you arrived from Hubei province before 1 February 2020 you must self-isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of your departure from Hubei province.

If you have been in contact with a person with confirmed Novel Coronavirus infection while they were infectious, you must self-isolate yourself for 14 days after your last contact with that person.

Advice about how to manage home isolation from NSW Health.

Monitor your symptoms while in quarantine

Watch for the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose, muscle pain or diarrhoea.

If you develop symptoms and it is a medical emergency (e.g. shortness of breath at rest or difficulty breathing) you should call 000. Alert ambulance staff of your travel/contact history.

If you develop symptoms that are not serious you should call the Healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222 (Australia-wide) for advice.

Orientation

The University has adjusted the Orientation timetable as both a positive public health measure and to cater for students who may not be able to attend due to quarantine. Details are available here.

Contacting the University

If they apply to you, please follow the measures above and monitor your University email closely. If you need to contact the University regarding your situation please use this dedicated email: SCUAssist@scu.edu.au.

 

Additional information about coronavirus

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