Given the significant increase in cases circulating in the broader community due to new, highly infectious COVID-19 subvariants, the University wants to ensure that we continue to focus on the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and community as our highest priority as we navigate this latest wave. We don’t envision this situation to be ongoing, and will review our operations as winter concludes.
- Teaching and learning will continue with hybrid flexibility to accommodate students who are not able to attend activities in person due to illness. Our student support services, including the Student Services Hub and the Library will remain open and continue operating flexibly as well.
- Vaccination remains key to being protected from COVID-19 and helps to prevent severe infection. People who are eligible for a fourth COVID-19 booster, including those identified as being at risk, are advised to check their eligibility and make an appointment at a convenient location. Please visit the NSW Government Booster Vaccination webpage for further information.
- Face masks are strongly recommended when indoors and when you are unable to practise physical distancing. Face masks continue to be mandatory in healthcare settings such as hospitals and residential care facilities, as well as on public transport and in public transport waiting areas, including the University shuttle bus service.
- Continue to follow good hygiene practices including sanitising and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly, cleaning your desk or workspaces with the provided cleaning supplies, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, not sharing food and drinks nor any utensils, and staying home if you are feeling unwell or isolating.
- Flexible working arrangements remain in place. The current situation may cause concern for some staff about working on campus at this time. If this is the case, staff should discuss their circumstances with their supervisor to determine an appropriate working arrangement over the next few weeks.
Return to Campus Update
The University’s plan to return to campus has been carefully considered with the health and safety of students, staff and the broader community as the highest priority. We are looking forward to resuming face-to-face teaching on campus for the start of Autumn/Term 1 from 7 March, but we also acknowledge many students will still be unable to attend campus in 2022, so online and in-person options will continue to be provided, where possible.
We understand many of our students will benefit from interacting with staff and other students in and out of the classroom, and our staff members have missed interacting with students. This plan also aligns with the approach being undertaken by all other major Sydney universities.
What to expect for Autumn/Term 1
The University is continuing to progress our plan to return to campus. We are resuming face-to-face teaching on campus but acknowledge that many students will still be unable to attend campus in 2022, so online and in-person options will continue to be provided, where possible. Further details can be found below.
- Most face-to-face teaching is scheduled for tutorials, workshops, laboratories and practical learning settings, for the start of Autumn/Term 1 which commences on Monday 7 March.
- Lectures will be held on campus, with online options available for students who are studying off shore or remotely. The provision of an online option will also provide students with the materials for review and revision purposes.
- The University will continue to support students who are unable to return to campus for Autumn/Term 1 and will provide alternative learning options, where possible.
- Libraries will be operating under normal opening hours for the start of term.
All students and staff are expected to follow public health advice and be vaccinated against COVID-19 and maintain vaccination levels to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19.There is clear medical evidence that vaccination against COVID-19 is an effective and safe tool to reduce the presence and severity of the virus in our communities. The overwhelming public health advice is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to get your booster shot when you become eligible (currently recommended three months after your second vaccine dose).
At this point the University will not mandate vaccination for students or staff, except where there is a specific Public Health Order requiring this (for example, this currently applies to students and staff who work in health care, aged care, disability care or school settings) or to engage in certain activities.
The University strongly encourages staff and students to book in for their booster vaccination as soon as you are eligible – you can visit the Vaccine Clinic Finder to find your most convenient location. For more information on booster vaccination, visit the NSW Health website.
Access to campus for unvaccinated staff and students
Due to the recent rise in cases due to Omicron, the University is continuing to restrict access to campus for students and staff who have not yet received at least two doses of an approved vaccine. The current plan for unvaccinated students and staff to come onto campus has been extended until 27 February. This will allow extra time to ensure more of our University community are able to receive two doses of a vaccine and receive that layer of protection before attending campus.
From Monday 28 February, any student or staff member who is not vaccinated may attend campus as long as they have tested negative to COVID-19 in the past 72 hours by either RAT or PCR test. The University will not ask to see the result of these tests, but will trust that students and staff will adhere to these requirements. The University encourages students and staff to book an appointment for a vaccination through one of the many vaccination providers available.
As staff and students return to campus, the University has considered the safety of its community and put the below measures in place.
- Ventilation systems in all of our buildings have been set to produce maximum air flow. All teaching and learning spaces are ventilated with fresh air. Air flow and quality is either monitored automatically through our building management systems, or through direct checks where there is individual ventilation, and monitoring frequencies have increased.
Staff and students are reminded to bring a mask when attending campus. In line with the current Public Health Order, masks must be worn when indoors. Exemptions apply, such as in single offices, when eating or drinking, or you need to communicate and cannot do so effectively while wearing a mask. Please review the exemptions for not wearing a mask. The University will continue the requirement for masks into Autumn and until further notice.