VU's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Victoria University (VU) has been taking decisive action to help keep the VU community safe since the escalation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Our key focus is always the safety, health and wellbeing of our students, staff and families.

VU’s Incident Management Team, supported by a number of coordinated groups, continue to respond quickly as the situation evolves.

VU has formed a special taskforce which is overseeing our Transition to Campus Strategy and Framework. The taskforce has created the University's COVIDSafe Plan, which presents a process for the gradual and safe transition to campus of all members of the University community, in line with the Commonwealth government’s 3-step framework for a COVIDSafe Australia.

As with other tertiary providers, VU is adhering to directions and advice from Australian and State Governments. As Government directions change, VU will continue to provide students and staff with support to meet their individual circumstances.

What we are doing:

  • Responding quickly to Government advice and directions.
  • Keeping the VU community informed of important developments through these FAQs and other forms of communication.
  • Implementing measures to mitigate an outbreak, including measures around health, hygiene, and general wellbeing of the VU community.
  • Continuing to plan for potential scenarios and impacts to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
  • Providing support where possible to any students or staff that are impacted by coronavirus. To assist us, students and staff can voluntarily complete the coronavirus voluntary reporting webform if they have been tested for coronavirus or have had direct contact with someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.

 

What we have done:

  • Moved to digitally supported remote course delivery where practical and possible.
  • Launched the COVID-19 Student Support Fund to provide emergency financial assistance to students in need.
  • Suspended or cancelled all on-campus events, gatherings and activities.
  • Closed onsite library services and limited access to campus buildings.
  • Ceased all international and domestic work-related travel until further notice.
  • Increased onsite cleaning, hand sanitisers and promotion of good hygiene.
  • Adhered to and promoted social distancing principles.
  • Continued VU services and functions by supporting staff to work remotely, as well as other options that best suit individual staff circumstances.

If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19, please isolate immediately, get tested and remain in isolation until the results of that test are known. To report a confirmed positive COVID-19 case to VU, email [email protected] or call +61 3 9919 6398.

If you do not have symptoms and would like to speak to someone, please get in touch via the contacts listed here.

Students

You can access the student counselling services.

All of our regular channels of support remain open for students who need assistance:

Staff & immediate family members

You can access free confidential counselling support through VU’s Employee Assistance Program Provider Access EAP:

Safety on campus

There have been some changes to the access to Library on-site collections and spaces.

However, students can still access the internet, PCs and printing facilities via a limited number of student spaces at these campus locations:

Strict social distancing is expected in these areas and will be monitored by Security.

During this time, please respect the need for social distancing and the job of Security as they ensure the health and safety of you and other students in our community.

VU has implemented a number of prevention strategies, which include:

  • moving to remote course delivery where possible
  • suspension of on-campus events
  • increased cleaning in public spaces
  • distribution of hand sanitiser
  • displaying correct hand-hygiene posters throughout all campuses
  • encouraging social distancing and working from home where possible
  • promoting the guidelines announced by the Federal Government (where it is appropriate or practical to do so).

As currently required by the Victorian Government, all individuals permitted to attend campus must wear a face covering unless an exemption applies.

We have established a campus-wide response plan in the event that anyone presents with symptoms of the condition.

If anyone, student or staff, has concerns about the health status of another person at the University, they should contact Security at the number below, who will arrange first aid assistance and follow appropriate protocols.

To report concerns on campus, call +61 3 9919 6666.

In order to mitigate risk, all high-contact VU Sport programs will cease from the close of standard operating hours on Friday 20 March until further notice.

This includes all activities apart from University teaching and research activities and specifically refers to:

  • social sport programs
  • group exercise classes
  • swim school
  • community engagement and sports academies
  • inter-university sport.

Memberships and payments will be suspended until exercise classes and facilities resume operations.

Read more about the suspension of sport facilities and programs at VU.

Join an online class

VU Thrive has gone online, offering a range of remote sport and fitness programs for adults and kids.

 

If anyone, student or staff, has concerns about the health status of another person at the University, they should contact Security at the number below, who will arrange first aid assistance and follow appropriate protocols.

Security can also help with queries about unsafe facilities or on-campus environments.

To report concerns on campus, call +61 3 9919 6666.

VU will provide support where possible to any students or staff that are impacted by coronavirus.

To assist us, students and staff are able to voluntarily provide details of situations where they have had:

  • direct contact with a person who has a confirmed case of coronavirus; or
  • have had a test for coronavirus (positive, negative or no result back yet)

Reporting is voluntary. There is no obligation for students or staff to notify VU. This information will be used to assist VU to provide support to students and staff and assist VU working with the Department of Health and Human Services, if contact tracing is required.

Assist VU by voluntarily completing the coronavirus voluntary reporting webform, providing details of situations where you have had direct contact with a person who has a confirmed case of coronavirus, or have been tested for coronavirus (positive, negative or no result back yet).

All Victoria University students, staff, contractors and visitors are expected to comply with the Victorian Government direction. Each person will be required to supply their own face covering unless a specific mask is required in a lab or other specific learning area/task. The University will provide any task/lab specific masks, including those for staff and students conducting off-campus approved activities, as required.

The face covering must cover the person’s mouth and nose. The recommendation from the Victorian Chief Health Officer is to use a cloth (reusable) facemask. The use of single use disposable masks is a second preference, with the use of a scarf or bandana also currently permitted, but again must cover your nose and mouth.

You do not need to wear a face covering when undertaking strenuous activities such as running, jogging and cycling, although you must carry one with you. You do not need to wear a face covering when driving in your own car on your own or with someone from your household. You do need to wear a face covering when driving a Victorian University vehicle alone for work purposes. People with a medical exemption (which will need to be produced upon request) are also exempt from wearing a face covering.

Permits will only be issued for work and study that is in accordance with strict Government guidelines, and therefore under limited circumstances for defined approved activities. Defined activities include:

  • some educational activities
  • working in an approved category for on-site work if the work cannot be done at home.

No permits can be issued unless the individual or activity has been approved through the transition to campus process.

Without an approved permit, individuals must not attend campus. An individual requested by security or any VU staff member must produce their permit upon request. Any person without a permit will be required to immediately leave campus.

An employee or student must not use a worker permit, even if they have been issued one, if:

  • they test positive to coronavirus (COVID-19) and are required to self-isolate
  • they have symptoms of coronavirus and are required to self-isolate while waiting for their test results
  • they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Students

Eligible students will have a study permit emailed to their VU email address by their Course Coordinator or supervisor.

Students with a valid permit will only be allowed on campus during the times outlined in their permit request and approved by the Course Coordinator. If a student attends campus outside of those times, regardless of if they have a valid permit, they will need to return to their home immediately.

Students who need to access campus when study is not possible from home, will need to specify the time that they require to be on campus and must keep that time as short as possible. Students in these circumstances must make a request to the Manager, Wellbeing Services (by emailing [email protected]) or Manager, Student Services. If you are not required to attend campus, you should not request a permit as your request cannot be granted.

Student process to apply for a permit
  1. Course Coordinator/Supervisor sends their signed permit to all enrolled students in a course that has been approved through the transition to campus process. Any permit must have the timetable attached.
  2. Student prints and signs the permit, if possible.
    • Student photographs the signed permit and returns it by email to the Course Coordinator/Supervisor.
  3. If the student cannot print the permit, they acknowledge receipt of the permit to the Course Coordinator/Supervisor and advise that the permit will be printed and signed on campus.
    • Student prints and signs the permit immediately upon arrival at campus.
  4. Course Coordinator/Supervisor forwards an electronic copy of the signed student permit to [email protected]. This should be done after the first on-campus class or as received (acknowledging that the approver may need to scan or copy permits after the class).

Staff

Staff must speak to their manager before applying for any permit.

  1. Staff must speak with their manager about any work that has been approved under the transition to campus process.
  2. Manager sends their signed permit to the staff member who is approved to be on campus (teaching, professional, and research) with the approved work schedule attached.
  3. Staff member prints and signs the permit, if possible.
    • Staff member photographs the signed permit and returns it by email to the manager.
  4. If the staff member cannot print the permit, they acknowledge receipt of the permit to the manager and advise that the permit will be printed and signed on campus.
    • Staff member prints and signs the permit immediately upon arrival at campus.
  5. Manager forwards an electronic copy of the signed staff permit to [email protected]. This should be done as soon as received.

Contractors

  1. VU Manager who is approving the attendance of the contractor to conduct work approved under the stage four restriction guidelines, sends their signed permit to the contractor with the work schedule attached.
  2. Contractor receives it and must print and sign the permit.
  3. Contractor photographs the signed permit and returns it by email to the approver.
  4. VU Manager forwards an electronic copy of the signed contractor permit to [email protected]. This should be done as soon as received.

For contractors, permits will not be available for printing and signing on campus. All contractors are responsible for printing and returning their permits prior to arrival at campus.

Failure to return the signed permit will mean that the contractor is not authorised to be on campus.

Staff FAQ list

A full list of FAQ for staff are available on the People and Culture intranet page (login may be required if offsite). Staff are encouraged to monitor their VU email accounts for further updates.

Official government information

Victoria University is continuing to closely follow advice from the Australian and State Governments in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19). We encourage individuals to view these government sources for the latest and most up-to-date official information about coronavirus:

Health advice

Education advice

International student advice

A dedicated Victorian Government email and hotline has been set up for international students.

Official coronavirus (COVID-19) info & advice

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline

1800 675 398

Coronavirus information in languages other than English

131 450