- Recent feedback from students on the Spring/2H examinations period shows that it was well received, both regarding the proctoring process and the proctors. Student satisfaction in the proctoring process was 88% and satisfaction with proctors was 93%. This is a wonderful testament to the dedication and perseverance of staff at the University.
- There have been no further confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the University community since mid-November. The total number of cases remains at 17 (14 students and three staff members). As more restrictions are relaxed in the lead-up to the festive season, it is vital to be cautious, stay safe and continue taking simple steps to protect yourself and those around you. Staff and students are advised to seek testing even for the mildest of symptoms, and please advise the University if you are directed to self-isolate or if you have been tested.
- As we commence Summer session and with the end-of-year shutdown period coming up, below is a breakdown of the services available in the coming months:
- The Library: Through Summer session, the Library will be open to Western students and staff with a current ID card, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and on the weekend at identified campuses under after-hours Library Study Hall conditions. While on campus, if you need help you can video chat to Library staff at the Digital Service Desk. If you are off campus, you can phone, live chat or email the Online Librarian with your library query. The Library will be closed from 17 December 2020 to 3 January 2021.
- Study Hall: Study Hall spaces across our campuses will be closed during the Christmas closedown, from 17 December to 3 January.
- IT Services: The IT Service Desk will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm until Wednesday 16 December. Over the Christmas/New Year period, there will be some changes to the opening hours, as follows:
- Thursday 17 December: 9am to 5pm
- Friday 18 December: 8am to 6pm
- Monday 21 December to Thursday 24 December: 9am to 5pm
- Friday 25 December to Sunday 3 January: Closed
- Thursday 17 December: 9am to 5pm
- Support Services: From Thursday 17 December to Sunday 3 January, Western’s support services will be limited to urgent issues related to welfare, financial assistance and counselling through an on-call arrangement only. For assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Coronavirus Support: The Coronavirus Support Hotline will be closed from 25 December to 3 January, with the exception of 29 and 30 December. However, the email queue will be operational in a limited capacity throughout this time, so we recommend emailing enquiries you may have over this period to email@example.com
- From 30 November, the University will progress to Stage 4 of the return to campus plan. The recent decrease in community transmission of COVID-19 in New South Wales is encouraging news as we continue to plan our return to campus, and we are looking forward to increasing activity on all our campuses.
- Below is an overview of what staff and students can expect in the coming months of the return to campus plan:
- In Summer session, all lectures will remain online but the University will see an increase in the number of students who will be attending face-to-face tutorials and workshops, with most practicals being on-campus.
- In Autumn/1H session next year, lectures will continue online, however the University is planning for tutorials and workshops to take place on campus, along with seminars, research events and conferences. A flexible model of delivery for some classes will be introduced, which may include the option for students to choose whether to attend a class with a teacher online or in person, or catch-up on the class afterwards. With the health and safety of all students and staff in mind, full details are yet to be finalised, including the timetabling of classes to ensure students are able to attend class in a safe way while the pandemic is ongoing.
- Students will receive their timetables in January, which will provide information on how the class activity will be delivered (online, face to face or a mix of both). Students are able to check the Important Dates webpage for details on when their timetable will be published.
- The return of activities such as field work and laboratory research will continue to be managed at a local level, dependent on School/Institute approval. Even more Higher Degree Research students will return to campus.
- More staff will begin to return to campus to support relevant services.
- The University has now supported more than 2,000 students through the Student Assistance Fund, with more than $2.3 million provided in emergency funds, grocery vouchers and other support. The University will continue to assist students into 2021 through the Student Assistance Fund. From 23 November, the application process for accessing support via the Fund will be changing. Applications will now be open until the Autumn session census date (31 March 2021) via the existing domestic and international onshore student application forms, and students will be asked to provide relevant documentation before ongoing support will be provided. Any approved support will be valid for the duration of Summer and/or Autumn/1H sessions (dependent on student’s enrolment status) and, if a student needs further support, they will be required to apply again for Spring/2H session.
- This week the NSW Government announced the border between NSW and Victoria will reopen from 23 November. This is an encouraging step forward, and particularly good news for students and staff who may be involved in interstate research activities.
- Since the last COVID-19 cases update, the University has been advised of a positive COVID-19 case for one of our offshore students. As always, the University is in regular contact with this student to offer our support and we wish them well. The total number of cases reported in our community is now 16 (13 students and three staff).
- Stage 4 of the return to campus plan will commence on 30 November and we are on track to move into Stage 5 from 22 February 2021. In Stage 5, we will see a much fuller activation of our campuses – we will move to holding more events on campus, and the number of professional staff will increase significantly. However, please be mindful that things will look different – COVID-safe arrangements will be in place, as well as more flexible working arrangements for staff. The Return to Campus plan has now been updated to provide more information on the activity we are anticipating.
- As we move towards Stage 4 and Stage 5 of our return to campus plan, it is important staff and students follow the simple steps outlined below:
- If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and do not attend campus. If you are being tested for COVID-19, you must let the University know.
- Academic and Professional staff must complete the mandatory training module ‘Reducing the Transmission of COVID-19 at Work’, available through MyCareer Online, or the refresher module if it has been 12 weeks since last completed.
- As mentioned earlier this week, the use of QR codes is being expanded across our campuses to help the University with contact tracing as needed.
- Simple hygiene practices, such as maintaining physical distancing measures, regular handwashing, cleaning up after yourself and not sharing utensils, are vital in helping to stop the virus spreading.
- From 30 November, all campus-based Higher Degree Research (HDR) students who wish to return to campus will have the opportunity to do so. Field work will be reviewed at a local level. Research that involves interstate travel will be subject to current border restrictions and associated government regulations. Laboratory research will also be reviewed locally by Schools and Institutes, with priority access given to students who are preparing to complete their research projects.
- We are building in more flexibility into our teaching and learning. We intend to continue with content delivery (e.g. lectures) online, as our students tell us this is working well. We hope that much of our content engagement – tutorials, workshops and seminars – will be able to be held in small groups on campus, as we know these are activities that students particularly value and can be difficult to replicate online. Laboratories and practicals will be on campus, where it is possible to maintain a safe environment and physical distancing measures.
- The University continues to support students in need through the Student Assistance Fund. So far, we have supported over 2,000 students, with over $2.3 million provided in emergency funds, grocery vouchers and other support. Staff have contributed $831,155 so far, which is wonderful to see – thank you to all who have donated to support our vulnerable students.
- This year the University cancelled all on-campus graduation ceremonies. Instead, we are implementing virtual graduation ceremonies for almost 6,000 graduates. These will be held online from 23 to 26 November. We hope to return to traditional ceremonies by April next year, but of course this will depend on government regulations at the time.
- We have been advised that one of our students has tested positive to COVID-19, which brings the total number of cases in our community to 15 (12 students and three staff). The student has not attended campus since August and is currently isolating at home. The University is in regular contact with this student and we are providing as much support as we can. Please remember it is essential that you advise the University via the Coronavirus Hotline if you have been directed to self-isolate, you have been tested or you are seeking testing for COVID-19.
- This November, the University will hold a series of Postgraduate Information webinars. These informative sessions are a great way to hear about what is involved in postgraduate study, the courses available and how the University can support students postgraduate journey. Visit the Postgraduate Information Sessions webpage to view the schedule and register for a session.
- Stage 4 of the return to campus plan will commence on 30 November in line with the start of the Summer session. In the coming months, more students will be on campus for required practicals, lab research, Higher Degree Research study and a limited number of research events, symposia and conferences. Additionally, local fieldwork will continue and interstate fieldwork will commence in line with government restrictions and University approval.
- Classes in Autumn/1H will be a mix of high-quality online content delivery and campus-based teaching activities with the opportunity for more face-to-face, small group tutorials, workshops and seminars. For some units students may be offered the option to participate in an online classroom, together with students in a face-to-face class, or alternatively to complete the unit in their own time
- It is important for staff and students who are returning to campus take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe, including:
- Stay home if you feel unwell in any way: seek medical advice, if needed, or get tested for COVID-19 (even if you have mild symptoms).
- Scan the QR code: check in and complete the declaration before entering buildings.
- Wash your hands: on arrival and regularly throughout the day.
- Maintain 1.5 metres distance from others: please follow signage and floor markings on campus. Consider wearing a face mask if a distance of 1.5 metres is not possible.
- Avoid using shared utensils and leaving rubbish: Bring and take home your own utensils (including cutlery, crockery and stationery) and clean up after yourself (e.g. throw coffee cups in the bin). Please do not share food, beverages or stationery with others.
- Everyone is responsible for cleaning their own area: you will be provided with the necessary sanitation products.
- Limit your time on campus to what is necessary and avoid physical contact (e.g. hugging, shaking hands) with others.
- Stage 3 of our Return to Campus plan continues to progress well and planning is underway for next year's Autumn session.
- In the last three months, Student Wellbeing teams have had 9,241 support requests from students, a decrease on the previous three months (13,871).
- Western Success advisors continue to provide support to our international students, with 73% of students engaging with an advisor. Of these, 70% have been able to establish an ongoing relationship with their advisor.
- The University has introduced a QR code ‘check-in’ process for those entering the Library and Study Halls. This is part of our COVID Safe plan so that we can understand who is on our campus if we need to assist NSW Health with contract tracing.
- Our Student Assistance Fund continues to help students who are finding the pandemic particularly challenging. To date, the fund has assisted 1,930 students and disbursed more than $1.9 million in assistance.
- A number of restrictions are set to ease this weekend. This includes changes to community sport, school camps and dancing at weddings. I encourage to you review the latest information on the NSW Government website.
- The University has been advised that a student has tested positive for COVID-19 after being identified as a close contact of another confirmed case (not at the University). We extend our best wishes to them for a fast and full recovery and will continue to provide any support we can.
- Stay informed of the latest information on case locations, follow the hygiene and distancing measures and if you are feeling unwell, please seek medical advice as soon as possible and do not attend campus.
- We are currently progressing with stage 3 of the Return to Campus plan, which has seen a further increase in teaching, learning and research activities across our campuses.
- As we prepare for stage 4, which commences at the end of November, we’ll see more University operations adapt to our ‘new normal’.
- As part of our Bachelor of Health Science (Therapeutic Recreation), students are learning how to create structured recreational opportunities that are a vital part of service delivery in the home care sector. In partnership with UNITING NSW.ACT, 25 students are helping to develop virtual recreation therapy programs for real clients, tailored to their interests, strengths and goals. Read more in our News Centre article.
- The COVID-19 testing clinic on the Parramatta South campus continues to provide vital additional testing capacity to the Western Sydney Local Health District. Last week the clinic saw approximately 170 visits per day.
- The University’s mid-session break will commence on Monday 28 September, with classes to resume on Tuesday 6 October, following the Labour Day public holiday. During this time the following services will be available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with the exception of the Labour Day public holiday on Monday 5 October when they will be closed:
Please note, there will be fewer than usual staff available to assist visitors due to University leave requirements. As such, you may experience some delays during this week.
- The Library will be open during the break, including the Public Holiday on Monday 5 October. Please visit the Library news web page for more information about open hours at our campuses. Library services such as the Online Librarian, Digital Service Desk and Study Smart Zooms are still available during the break – check the website for more details. After hours, Library Study Hall is running at identified campuses from 6.00pm to 12.00am, Monday to Friday.
- Study Halls will remain open during the break, including the public holiday on Monday 5 October. Please check the Study Spaces website for locations.
- Please remember if you are feeling unwell in any way, please do not come to campus. If you do need to come to campus, remember to practise good hygiene and maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing at all times. Please also take some time to read the University’s advice on face masks on the Coronavirus Student FAQs web page.
- The University has been advised that one of our offshore students has tested positive for COVID-19. The student is recovering and we wish them all the best. The total number of cases in the University community is now 12 (nine students and three staff members).
- As part of our ongoing commitment to minimise the risk of transmission, a high level of vigilance is required by all of us. If you feel unwell, particularly with symptoms of COVID-19, you must stay home and seek medical advice.
- If you live in or have visited any local government areas of increased testing and surveillance in the past two weeks, the advice from NSW Health is to monitor for symptoms, even mild symptoms, and seek testing.
- If you have visited these locations during the specified dates/times where a COVID-19 positive case has been identified, self-isolate and get tested immediately, and re-tested if symptoms occur.
- The University will continue the GPA Neutral Scheme for Spring, 2H, Quarter 4, Block 4 and Term 3 sessions. This means when students receive their final result for a unit, they can choose to opt-in for a non-graded pass – meaning their grade point average (GPA) will not take into account the original grade received.
- As a result of staff and student feedback, more exams have moved to alternative assessments, so there will be fewer exams undertaken in Spring/2H session. Where exams are required, they will be held online via vUWS under examination conditions. The only exams that will be invigilated will be those that are necessary due to accreditation and graduation requirements, and they will be supervised using ProctorU Live+.
- The University has been advised that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student, who was in close contact with a previous case, is isolating and hasn’t been on campus since March. The total number of confirmed cases within our community is now 11 (eight students and three staff members).
- Campus Safety and Security are now using QR codes to ‘check-in’ any contractors and visitors on our campuses. Visitors to campus must present to Campus Safety and Security immediately upon arrival. Security officers will then provide the QR code so they can check-in and confirm they are well and have not visited a confirmed case location and are required to self-isolate.
It’s important to ensure you are continuing to take simple steps to protect your health and the health of others. As part of our ongoing commitment to minimise the risk of transmission, a high level of vigilance is required by all of us. If you feel unwell, particularly with symptoms of COVID-19, you must stay home and seek medical advice. We are all individually responsible for continuing to apply good hand hygiene practices and maintaining physical distancing measures.
Please review updates from the NSW Government regularly. This includes information regarding COVID-19 positive case locations (often referred to as ‘hotspots’ in the media).
Approximately 300 international students will be permitted to return to university in South Australia, under a pilot program, to test how future returns of international students can be managed. Students will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine, as is the case for all international travellers.
While there are no plans for a similar pilot program in New South Wales at this stage, the University is monitoring this pilot closely and we will continue to review our operations in line with the latest advice from the Australian Government and leading health authorities. We look forward to the opportunity to bring our own international students back to study at the University when it is safe to do so.
From Monday 17 August, the Study Hall at Parramatta South campus will move to Building EEa, due to important building maintenance.
All Study Halls remain open from 9.00am to 9.30pm every day for students who require a quiet place to study and access to Wi-Fi. Students should check the Study Spaces webpage for current locations before heading to campus.
The NSW Government has updated the advice regarding wearing masks, now strongly encouraging greater use of masks in some circumstances to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Currently, the University is not mandating the use of face masks in most circumstances. In addition to the Government’s advice and as more activities resume on campus, the following provides guidance about using face masks at the University:
- Personal choice
- You can wear a mask anytime, any campus
- Where 1.5m physical distancing cannot be maintained (e.g. public transport and shuttle buses)
- First aid responders on campus, per illness protocols
- In clinics on campus
- In medical and other clinical practice classes (e.g. anatomy labs)
While wearing a mask may be used as an additional measure to protect yourself, using only a mask will not prevent infection. The best ways to continue to protect yourself and others is to:
- stay at home if you are unwell;
- maintain 1.5m physical distancing when not at home;
- practise good hand hygiene; and
- cough or sneeze into your elbow, or tissue and discard the tissue into a bin immediately.
When using a face mask please ensure you are wearing the appropriate mask, it is fitted correctly and properly disposed of or washed. Further advice on using face masks is outlined by the NSW Government.
- In addition to specific hotspot locations, NSW Health is now asking anyone who lives in, or has visited a number of identified suburbs and local government areas in the past two weeks to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and seek testing if they have even the smallest symptom, such as a runny nose or sore throat.
- From Friday, 7 August, any NSW residents who return from Victoria must go into mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks, at their own expense. Residents will only be permitted to return via Sydney Airport, unless they reside within NSW border regions.
Please see the NSW Government announcement for further information.
- A staff member who has just returned to Australia has tested positive to COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the University community to 10 (seven students and three staff members). The staff member had not attended any campuses and is currently in quarantine.
- The Government is frequently updating the latest case locations in NSW. Please ensure you check these regularly, particularly if you are undertaking field work or other activities.
- If you have attended any locations of concern at the identified times, please follow the relevant advice. Depending on the location, you may either need to immediately self-isolate for 14 days and seek testing, or monitor for symptoms and then self-isolate and seek testing should any symptoms occur.
- As staff and students begin to return to campus, it is vital you are taking steps to protect yourself and others, particularly if you are travelling on public transport. Plan ahead and, if possible, avoid travelling during peak times. Please ensure you continue to practise physical distancing and good personal hygiene. Transport for NSW is also encouraging those who use public transport to wear a face mask in cases where physical distancing is not possible.
For more information, including resources on planning ahead, and what to be aware of when you travel, visit the NSW Government’s COVIDSafe Travel Choices web page. Please remember if you are feeling unwell at any time, you must stay home and not attend University
- In response to a call for assistance by the Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney University is extending efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community by providing a location for a new drive-through testing clinic at the Parramatta South campus.
- A drive-through testing facility will be open from Thursday 30 July, and will operate from 9.00am to 3.30pm weekdays.
- The duration that the testing facility will be in operation will be determined on the basis of demand for testing.
- The testing clinic will be based in an external carpark, and will be drive-through only. Those being tested will remain in their vehicles at all times.
- This week, the Government announced five significant changes to student visa arrangements to help secure Australia’s position as a priority destination for international students. These changes will ensure that international students, in Australia and offshore, are not further disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19. For further details, please visit the student visa page on the Department of Home Affairs website.
- On 21 July, a student advised us that they tested positive to COVID-19 and are self-isolating. They haven’t been on campus since March this year. A total of seven students and two staff members have tested positive. This number is in addition to the IELTS candidate mentioned earlier this week.
- As community transmission continues, NSW Health is calling on people across the state to increase their efforts to stop the virus spreading. Please ensure you regularly check the latest COVID-19 case locations and if you have attended any locations of concern within the indicated timeframes, ensure you follow the appropriate advice.
On Friday 17 July the University was notified by NSW Health that an IELTS candidate who had recently attended our Sydney Olympic Park campus has since tested positive for COVID-19.
The IELTS candidate, who is currently self-isolating, attended the Campus on Saturday 11 July to sit an exam at The College’s IELTS centre. The candidate is not a student of the University or The College, and we have no further confirmed cases amongst our student and staff community.
The University has worked closely with NSW Health to manage the situation and assist with contact tracing. NSW Health has advised us that the risk of exposure to the virus for our College staff and invigilators present on the day is very low. This is due to the comprehensive COVID risk minimisation and cleaning procedures the University has in place at the testing centre.
The University is providing support to The College staff members and invigilators who were there on the day. They have not returned to the Campus since 11 July, and have decided to self-isolate as an added precautionary measure.
If you have recently visited any of the NSW COVID-19 cluster areas, have recently visited Victoria, or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you should stay at home,. You should not attend campus, and should arrange for a COVID-19 test. You must notify the University’s Coronavirus Support Line.
Continue to practise good hygiene, including washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, and remain vigilant about physical distancing.
Stay up to date with the latest advice on hotspot areas and restrictions from the NSW Government and health authorities, which now includes avoiding non-essential travel and social gatherings.
The University has been made aware of a potential, but unconfirmed, COVID-19 case having visited Building EB at Parramatta South and Liverpool campus.
The Liverpool campus and Building EB at Parramatta South campus will be closed today, Thursday 16 July for cleaning. Other buildings and facilities at Parramatta South remain accessible today. Both Liverpool campus and Building EB at Parramatta South will re-open and resume normal operations tomorrow.
The University has received no advice from health authorities of confirmed cases of any new COVID-19 cases within our student and staff community. We have taken these steps to close both Building EB and Liverpool campus today purely as a precautionary measure.
- NSW Health has expanded the areas of concern to include Narellan Town Centre, The Star in Pyrmont, and a number of other areas. Please review the latest advice from NSW Health. If you have travelled from Victoria and arrived into NSW after 29 June 2020, please do not attend campus and serve your 14-day self-isolation at home or as directed by your medical practitioner or GP.
- The University has recently been advised of a student who contracted COVID-19 in June, bringing the total number of positive cases in our University community to eight (six students and two staff members). The student had not recently attended campus and is now recovering at home.
- NSW Health has identified a coronavirus cluster in south-western Sydney. Please refer to this public health alert for full details.
NSW Health is urging anyone who attended the Crossroads Hotel or Picton Hotel at Picton between Friday 3 July and Friday 10 July to:
- attend a clinic for testing even if they have no symptoms.
- immediately self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the date they attended the establishment. This isolation period applies irrespective of test results, due to identified cluster.
In addition to this, anyone who attended Planet Fitness at Casula should watch for symptoms and get retested should any respiratory symptoms occur.
- The University is progressing with Stage 2 (20 July – 4 September) and Stage 3 (7 September – 13 November of the return to campus plan. Stage 2 and 3 will introduce over 100 additional practicals. Fifteen units have already returned to campus to complete essential practicals in Stage 1 of our Return to Campus Plan.
- The University is committed to supporting ongoing flexible work arrangements in the future. The Flexible Work at Western paper contains details on changes to the accrual of flexi time and opportunities for ongoing working from home arrangements.
- As Western commences planning for 2021, we are anticipating an even more challenging year for us financially. We will engage with the NTEU and CPSU to determine how we can work together constructively to address these challenges while protecting as many jobs as we can.
- Spring session will commence on Monday 20 July. The University is continuing to plan our return to campus and the majority of Spring session activities will commence online. Some essential classes such as practicals will return to campus from 20 July.
We know how challenging it has been this year, moving to online learning and dealing with many disruptions to your normal routine. There are many teams supporting our staff and students behind the scenes. Here, we share our IT Support team’s experiences in response to COVID-19, how their work has changed and how they have responded to each challenge. Paul Hardaker, Associate Director, Academic and Campus Experience, shared his thoughts:
“The on-campus IT and AV support work that eight of my teams normally do stopped almost entirely as the University switched very quickly to working/studying from home. At the same time, the demand for IT assistance from staff and students trying to come to terms with working or studying from home went through the roof. This meant that we had to quickly bring together the staff from the IT Service Desk with many of the staff from the campus-based teams and turn them into one large IT Service Desk, with all of them working from home.
“Things we would have believed to have been impossible prior to the COVID-19 crisis are in fact very possible, if we can find a way to work together towards a common objective.”
- Like many other unis, we’ve reconsidered our operations to respond to the global pandemic. In response, we are shifting the Spring/2H mid-session break to commence two weeks later on Monday 28 September. This coincides with the NSW school holidays. Spring/2H classes will resume on Tuesday 6 October, following the Labour Day public holiday. We will continue to support student learning during this time. Spring session will still commence on 20 July.
- No additional cases of COVID-19 have been reported within our community since the last update.
- Significant changes are being proposed for the higher education sector as a result of the current pandemic crisis. As part of the reform, the Commonwealth Government has announced an extra 39,000 university places will be available by 2023, which will help address the increased domestic demand for higher education.
- The University is reviewing the details of this reform in order to understand what this will mean for our operations, however it is encouraging to see the government’s focus on large-scale job creation, and the crucial role that universities have in providing highly skilled graduates who are ready to support the nation’s recovery and meet future employment needs.
- The announcement also includes proposed changes to the government and student contributions to the cost of studying from 2021. These changes do not impact current students and the Government expects that 60% of commencing students will be better off or not affected by these changes.
- Staff recently voted on two proposed initiatives to help the University address financial challenges we face in 2020 and beyond as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both academic and professional staff returned an overwhelming ‘Yes’ result for both initiatives (increased mandated leave for all staff, and salary reductions via mandated Banked Additional Leave scheme for all staff). These measures aim to provide job security, while enabling the University to operate in a sustainable manner. Results have been submitted to the Fair Work Commission for ratifying, and once ratified, we will be able to officially implement both initiatives.
Resources available to students via the University’s Counselling Service:
- You can access videos tailored to provide practical and professional advice on ways to manage things like anxiety, time management and exam memory blanks.
- Register for The Desk (available to all Western students) to build skills for success, resilience and wellbeing with online resources aimed to help you stay calm, feel good and get things done.
- The Study, Money and Life Skills modules found in vUWS will help you with important skills, including exam preparations, and management of your finances.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant increase in malicious cyber activity across Australia. This includes cyber-crimes such as scam or phishing attempts. Phishing is a commonly used cyber-crime method which uses email, telephone calls, text messages and posing as a legitimate business or person to try to lure you into providing your username and password, or other personally identifiable information for malicious purposes. There are a number of guides available on the Cyber Security webpage that can help you stay safe.
- Dr Kate McBride and Dr Brahm Marjadi from Western’s School of Medicine, are helping local health departments get their workforce ready for any future spikes that may occur. Working with the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), Dr McBride and Dr Marjadi developed content for a new case investigation and contact tracing training course for public health staff and medical students to ensure we are prepared to manage any potential outbreaks in the future. Read more about this amazing work on our News Centre.
- The Library is extending its hours at identified campuses. Before heading to campus, please check the Library website for current opening times.
- We have recently been made aware of a staff member who tested positive to COVID-19 in March and has made a full recovery. This brings the total number of cases in the University community to seven (two staff members and five students).
- Dr Ashlee Gore is a lecturer in our School of Social Science, who also finds time to work with a local women's shelter that provides accommodation and support to people experiencing family violence and homelessness. Ashlee’s insight into what lockdown can mean for some of our community will lead to a better recovery. You can read more about Dr Gore’s work in this Western Facebook post.
From Monday 1 June, we will commence the first stage of our return to campus. This is the first of four planned stages to be implemented between now and early next year. Stage 1 will continue until mid-July and will see us addressing the need to complete practicals on campus for 15 units.
In addition to this, essential lab research, and some Higher Degree Research student presence and local field work, will recommence. These are activities that can’t be undertaken remotely and enable students to progress in their degree.
- We welcome the recent announcement from the NSW Government of support for international students for temporary housing, increased legal support, and the establishment of a 24/7 international student support service.
International students can contact the NSW Government COVID-19 hotline on 13 77 88, for free advice and information.
- Our Recovery Management Team continues to work through a plan for a phased return to our campuses, taking into consideration the latest advice from government and health authorities. Spring session will commence online.
- There have been no further positive cases of COVID-19 reported in our University community. Please remember to let the University know if you have been asked to self-isolate or you are being tested for COVID-19.
- An updated version of Zoom is now available, with enhanced security and privacy features. All student and staff must download Zoom 5.0 to their work and personal devices by Saturday 30 May to ensure continued seamless use of the Zoom platform.
- Teaching activities will remain online for the remainder of the current teaching sessions and for the commencement of the second half of the year. A significant portion of teaching and learning will continue online through Spring session.
- Please continue to monitor the current regulations from the NSW Government about what you can and cannot do in public spaces to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
When will we return to campus?
The University has decided that classes will remain online for the foreseeable future. This means that the remainder of the current teaching session and, at this stage, a significant portion of Spring session, will be online. We continue to keep the health and wellbeing of our community front of mind, along with the advice from government and health authorities. The University is planning minimal disruption to studies and will update students and staff with more information as it becomes available.
- Western has extended the opening hours for our study halls and they are now open from 9am to 9.30pm.
- The latest Government advice indicates that restrictions will slowly be eased, with the Prime Minister announcing a three step plan. The plan outlines actions to be taken by July, with a review period between stages to assess impact on infections.
- The University has announced our offering of 12 intensive online short-courses to new, commencing students starting from May 2020. These courses are in response to the Australian Government’s Higher Education Relief Package, which assists displaced workers to develop new skills, or retraining for new careers, in areas that address national workforce need.
- Thankfully, we continue to only have a small number of confirmed cases in our community (currently 5 students and 1 staff member).
- Our students are encouraged to engage with WESTERNLife – a SSAF-funded program that will help keep you connected with your peers in a virtual community. Via WESTERNLife, students can share their experiences, and join online social events, clubs and societies. Through their engagement with the site, students can also earn badges and win prizes.
- There has been some great feedback from our students who have received assistance through the Student Assistance Fund. Students are encouraged to seek support through the domestic student or onshore international student application webpages.
- The NSW Government announced the easing of some social distancing restrictions. From this Friday (1 May), two adults may – along with their children – visit another household. While this news is encouraging, we urge you to continue to use safe social distancing practices and staying home if you feel unwell in any way.
- While COVID-19 has certainly changed the way many students are studying, this could be the perfect time to try some of Western’s online tools designed to help you achieve academic success. Study Smart allows students to get free online help when needed most. Study Smart Online (Studiosity) can be accessed from within your vUWS dashboard for writing feedback and general assignment writing advice. Additional help is available on the Study Smart webpage.
- As with any challenging time, it’s good to pause and look at some of the positives that have arisen. For some, it may be extra time with family while for others it may mean spending time on something new or something recreational. Watch this video as some of our students share the positives they are taking from studying at home.
- The COVID-19 challenge will continue to impact on our student and staff communities for some time. The University has a range of support services available online or over the phone. Visit the wellbeing and support services webpage or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Australian Government has launched the new COVIDSafe app, to enable faster identification and management of COVID-19 outbreaks. Downloading the app is completely voluntary. Further information is available from the Department of Health about what the app is for and how it works.
- We advise that our first staff member has been officially confirmed with COVID-19 last week and was last on campus on 20 March. The staff member and the students previously diagnosed with COIVID-19 are all doing well and being supported by NSW Health.
- As at 9am, Friday 24 April we have three confirmed cases in our community. In addition to previous updates, we received advice of a third confirmed case in our community. The online student was diagnosed last month and is recovering well.
- We have received reports that some students are receiving phone calls from people claiming to be associated with the University, asking for personal bank or visa details. This is a scam. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are also targeting Australians with a range of COVID-19 themed scams, both over the phone and online. It is vital that students and staff take simple steps to protect yourself and your information. The IT webpage has resources and information to help with cyber security.
- Western’s Student Assistance Fund is supporting students who may be doing it tough at the moment. Some of the support provided includes grocery vouchers and modest financial support. The domestic student or onshore international student application webpages provide further information about the support and assistance available.
- Learning online is a new experience for many. From getting organised and taking stock of your surroundings to raising your virtual hand in class, you can set yourself up to master your Zoom classes and lectures with these tips from your fellow students.
- Yesterday we received confirmation of a second case of COVID-19 in our University community, with a fellow student advising of a positive test result. We are supporting the student, who is well and self-isolating following the positive diagnosis.
- Thank you to everyone for maintaining the physical distancing and hygiene protocols in place. We should all also continue to practice good hygiene, including washing hands thoroughly and regularly, and, most critically, stay at home if unwell.
- The University is working through the details for the short courses Western will offer under the Federal Government’s Higher Education Relief Package. Further information, including the courses that will be available, will be communicated shortly.
- So, while we might be physically apart at the moment, we’ve made sure that many of our on-campus services are still available for students. Now more than ever, it’s important that students can still connect with us, collaborate creatively with peers, and, most importantly, look out for each other during this unsettling time. This is why the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) is so important for the first half of 2020. SSAF notices have been issued.
- The Vice-Chancellor's has addressed students in this video. The video thanks students for their commitment and perseverance as we moved to remote learning, and provides an update on what the University is doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We would like to acknowledge the dedication and care shown across Western Sydney University in recent weeks. We thank everyone for their effort and support of each other through this unprecedented time.
- Significant changes to exams and grading have been implemented given our current remote learning environment, with a greater emphasis on take-home exams and alternative assessment methods. All assessments and examinations will continue to be graded.
- NSW Health has identified a number of areas with an increased risk of community transmission of COVID-19, including parts of Western Sydney. If you are in an identified area for increased testing and surveillance and you are experiencing even minor symptoms (such as a sore throat or cough), you are encouraged to seek advice from your health practitioner and you may be advised to get tested for COVID-19.
- Above all, look after yourselves and each other. If you need support, we are here to help you.
- We welcome the Higher Education Relief Package as announced by the Government over the weekend. Through this package, more places will be available for Australians to take up the opportunity to develop skills and retrain in areas that will help the country during and after the COVID-19 pandemic – areas include nursing, teaching, health, information technology and science.
- The Government has also committed to supporting universities by guaranteeing funding at current levels via the Commonwealth Grant Scheme and HELP funding payments.
- Our Student Assistance Fund is supporting those experiencing extreme hardship due to COVID-19. You may be able to access grocery vouchers or modest financial support. To apply, complete the domestic student or onshore international student application form.
- Western is here to continue helping you in any way we can, with a number of support services available via phone or online. Visit the wellbeing and support services webpage to find out how you can get help with employment, welfare, finances, learning support and IT assistance.
- Our study halls remain open every day from 9am to 5pm for those who need a quiet place to study and access to Wi-Fi. Please check the Study Halls website before heading to campus for updated locations.
- As a precaution, we closed the Liverpool campus to undertaking a sanitising deep clean of the site after one of our students tested positive to COVID-19. The Liverpool Campus has now re-opened.
The University advises that one of our students has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed COVID-19 case among our 48,000 students and 3,000 staff.
The student is in good spirits and experiencing mild symptoms. The student is self-isolating and we are providing support and extend our best wishes to the student for a speedy recovery.
The University has been delivering all classes online since 30 March. The only time the student attended campus in recent weeks was on 3 April to return a library book to the Liverpool campus. The student had no close contact with anyone while there.
As a precaution, we have closed the Liverpool campus until Tuesday 14 April and are undertaking a sanitising deep clean of the site. If you wish to find a quiet place to study over the weekend can find an alternate Study Hall location on our website, such as the nearby Bankstown (Milperra) campus. The health department have taken the lead on managing the student’s situation, according to their response protocols, and they are satisfied that the University has responded appropriately.
We are committed to supporting our students and staff. You’re not alone and support is available through our student and staff wellbeing and support services.
- We are here to help you and support you through this extraordinary time.
- The Coronavirus Support Hotline is available for all students (domestic and international) to access personalised support. The Coronavirus Support Line can be accessed by phoning (02) 9852 5399, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm (AEST), or by emailing email@example.com.
- Students who are experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation, may be eligible for further support from a Student Assistance Fund we are establishing. This will include support, such as grocery vouchers and limited financial support. These are subject to eligibility criteria. Contact the Coronavirus Support Hotline to get all the assistance and advice you need, linking you up with all the support services we offer.
- If a student has suddenly lost their job, the University can also provide employment help. Accessible through the central Coronavirus Support Hotline, we can help you with identifying transferrable skills, upskilling you through online resources and training, and match you to vacancies in other industries.
- Study Halls are still open at selected campus locations for students. These are located at Kingswood, Liverpool, Parramatta South, Campbelltown, Hawkesbury and Milperra campuses, and are available from 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week. Up-to-date locations have been added to the Study Hall website. Please adhere to physical distancing requirements at all times.
- The Library also continues to be open from 10 am to 2 pm on weekdays. Online support is available via chat and email from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. You can access some Library services online, including Library Information Central, Study Smart and off-campus access to library resources.
- Our Early Learning Centres remain open, and the Government has announced an Early Childhood Education and Care Relief package, which will see families receive free childcare during this pandemic. Please see the Prime Minister’s announcement for more information.
- All staff and students are now based off-campus, with only essential staff on campus.
- Classes are no longer being held on campus.
- The Government has introduced strict physical distancing measures and rules around leaving your home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
In line with the new restrictions which came into effect on 31 March, you must stay at home unless you are going to:
- work (if you can’t work remotely)
- school or an educational institution
- shop for food and essentials
- get medical care or supplies
- Public gatherings have been limited two people, except for members of the same household or where the gathering is essential for work or education.
- If you do leave your home, you must always keep 1.5 metres away from other people. It is important to wash your hands as soon as you get home.
- Staff are encouraged to use the flu vaccination voucher available through our Work, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Program as early as possible.
- Our campuses remain open and accessible for staff to access equipment or students to access designated study areas and libraries.
- As much as possible, all staff are being directed to work from home and not come on campus if unwell. Requests to come on campus should have approval from supervisors first.
- The University has prepared ‘Study Hall’ areas on some campuses for students to study and access Wi-Fi. These will be open between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
- Library operating hours have now changed. Libraries will be open from 10.00am to 2.00pm, with physical distancing measures in place.
- Access to support services, such as the Library, IT, Student Central and Wellbeing, are available online or over the phone.
- Yesterday, the government announced a suspension on rental evictions for the next six months, as a result of financial distress. Please review the latest advice on the Australian Government website. The Government also announced further restrictions on gatherings, which are now limited to a maximum of two people. Workplaces and education are currently excluded from this requirement, but physical distancing must be followed.
- We all need to stay at home as much as possible to help slow the spread of this pandemic. From next week, all students will be studying online and can access our support services remotely. No classes will be held on campus.
- The University remains open; however, we are making some changes to the spaces on our campus that will be available. Students can come on campus if you need a quiet space and access to our Wi-Fi network.
- From next week, there will be a small number of essential staff on campus, as we’re encouraging our staff members to work from home.
- The operating hours of our libraries have changed. The usual opening hours will apply this Saturday (28 March) but all campus libraries will be closed on Sunday. From Monday 30 March, libraries will be open 10am to 2pm. You can find a space to study or access the Wi-Fi network. Strict physical distancing measures will remain in place.
- As well as the libraries, additional ‘Study Halls’ will be available from 9.00am – 5.00pm to provide additional distributed spaces for students to study and access Wi-Fi. These will be available on Kingswood, Liverpool, Parramatta South, Campbelltown, Hawkesbury and Milperra campuses.
You will be able to access our support services, such as the Library, IT, Student Central and Wellbeing, online or over the phone. For further information about how to access support and what services are available, visit our Student Support webpage.
- Some facilities on campus will be closed, such as the computer labs, Badanami Centres and some food outlets.
- Strict physical distancing measures will be in place for those that do visit a campus. Security will be patrolling to ensure these measures are being implemented and followed.
- We continue to follow all of the latest Australian Government and health authority advice; taking all of the necessary precautions; and doing our part to slow the spread of the virus.
- The University continues to be open and operating, as we are committed to maintaining opportunities for our students to have a high-quality educational experience.
- However, we are taking substantial measures to reduce the number of people on our campuses and to provide a safe environment.
- Our campuses are still able to be accessed, for those whose attendance is essential. This includes students who require access to Wi-Fi, libraries and study spaces.
- If you attend our campuses, it is critical that you follow physical distancing measures, to protect yourself and those around you.
- Most of our classes are already being taught online. By Monday 30 March, all courses that are able to be taught online will be, including some labs and practical classes.
- Support services will be transitioned to online or by phone by Monday 30 March. Face-to-face counters will be closed.
- The Australian Government has announced that students who receive Abstudy, Austudy and Youth Allowance (students) will be eligible for the Government’s fortnightly $550 coronavirus supplement. Visit the Services Australia website for more information.
Western is open and operating. While we’re not aware of any cases within our student and staff community, we’re taking precautionary measures to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus. These precautions are to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and broader community.
- Working to progressively move most classes and learning support online – our aim is to have moved all possible units online by Tuesday 31 March
- Strengthening our study and welfare support
- Increasing our cleaning across all our campuses with a focus on communal and high traffic areas
- Responding to health authority recommendations and implementing physical distancing measures on campus
- Cancelling all events not directly related to teaching and learning for the foreseeable future. This includes major University events, such as our April graduation ceremonies.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
- The Australian Government has announced that all incoming arrivals into Australia will need to enter mandatory self-isolation for 14 days.
- While we have no confirmed cases on our campuses, we are taking all necessary precautions and are continually reviewing and acting in accordance with Australian Government and health authority advice.
- The University has introduced a range of new, precautionary measures, aimed at decreasing the time our students and staff need to spend on campus, and help slow the spread of the virus in our community.
- The University is cancelling all major University events for the foreseeable future, to help protect the health of our students, staff and community. This includes this week’s Western Fair activities and our upcoming April Graduation ceremonies.
- We are also working to progressively move classes, lectures, tutorials and other teaching and learning activities online over the next few weeks.
- Further to the University’s decision to suspend international University-related travel, we are also suspending non-essential domestic air travel.
- The University is also implementing increased cleaning across our campuses with a focus on communal and high traffic areas, and additional supplies of hand sanitiser are being distributed across all campuses, particularly in communal study areas and libraries.
- Added support will also be available for all students who may feel anxious or isolated, or may require additional assistance with studying remotely.
As the coronavirus situation in Australia continues to develop, we want to share with you recent advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. This confirms that the risk to the general Australian population from COVID-19 remains low.
The latest report from NSW Health states over 16,000 people in NSW have been tested for COVID-19, with 92 cases confirmed, over 14,000 excluded and just under 2,000 currently under investigation.
Here are some tips for you to consider:
- Be safe – consider how you can take precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Follow the basic protective measures outlined by the World Health Organisation.
- Be smart – inform yourself about COVID-19 and the current situation. The University’s Coronavirus Information website includes links to the latest factsheets from authorities and answers to frequently asked questions.
- Be kind – don’t spread rumours or make assumptions. Be a role model and support one another. Share the latest facts and provide calm and correct advice to others, including children.
- The Australian Government have extended existing travel restrictions to include the Republic of Korea.
- If you feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever and cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath, please stay at home (or go home if you are already on campus) and phone your doctor or health practitioner for further advice.
- All existing travel restrictions to China, Iran and Korea will be in place until at least 14 March 2020.
- There are protocols in place for staff to follow in the event that a student or staff member is unwell with COVID-19 symptoms. Please refer to the Information for staff FAQs for further information.
All international University outbound travel is suspended for the foreseeable future.
This suspension includes all study or work-related travel to conferences, exchange programs, site visits, research-related travel, and all student group travel. HDR student travel into Australia and off shore should also be rescheduled in light of the current situation.
If you’re a HDR student and you have a question about University-related travel, please speak with your supervisor. If you have a query about group travel in which you are involved, please speak to the academic staff member leading this.
The Australian Government confirmed the existing travel restrictions will remain in place for another week, until at least Saturday 7 March.
- Given the spread of the virus, we ask all of our students and staff to review the need for any international travel at this time and for the foreseeable future.
- With the spread of the virus in Japan, Iran, South Korea and Italy, travel to or transit through these countries is no longer approved for all staff and students. This is in addition to our current travel restrictions to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
- In future, all countries whose Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advisory is at level 2 or above (see the Smart Traveller website) due to COVID-19 will be included in our official travel ban.
The University is sharing the below details in alignment with WHO (World Health Organization) protocol. You will see this information displayed across campuses on posters and digital screens.
Yesterday, the Australian Government announced that the current travel restrictions would continue for another week. Here is the announcement: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/continuing-travel-ban-protect-australians-coronavirus
The University is supporting students who are currently in China and who wish to travel to Australia via another country. The University has offered a one-off $1500 subsidy to students from China who choose to spend the 14-day travel exclusion period in another country before entering Australia. This recognises the additional costs that these students will incur as they attempt to get to campus to start the year.
The Australia Government announced that the current China travel restrictions would be extended for an additional week, to 29 February. Please be reminded:
- Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents) who are in mainland China, will not be allowed to leave or transit through mainland China and enter Australia under the current travel restrictions, which continue to be in place until 29 February.
- Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependents only).
- Anyone who returns to Australia must isolate themselves for 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
Our thoughts remain with our students and colleagues currently in China who are unable to get to Australia. We will continue to support them and make alternate arrangements for students to engage in their studies from China.
- The University is preparing to welcome our new students on campus for orientation next week. Orientation activities are continuing as planned, and for students currently in China we are considering two additional international orientation days to be held after Autumn session starts.
- We are developing plans to minimise the impact of the travel restrictions on students currently in China. To keep study plans on track, we will provide additional online learning and teaching support to these students for the first few weeks of the Autumn session.
The coronavirus situation is continually changing, sometimes rapidly. Western is committed to keeping our community informed of our efforts to support students & staff.
The following are short video updates from our Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO.
Dean of our School of Medicine, Distinguished Professor Annemarie Hennessy shares the latest update from Western Sydney University.
- Travel advice for those planning to visit China has been upgraded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to level 4 – do not travel.
- The Australian Government is asking anyone who has travelled from China from 1 February to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they leave mainland China. Previously this advice was for those returning from Hubei Province only.
- From 1 February, entry to Australia will be denied for anyone coming from China or who has transited through mainland China with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family. This is a temporary measure in place for at least two weeks.
- There have not been any further cases of COVID-19 in our staff and student community, with the last reported positive case reported on 16 December 2020. Despite this, please do everything you can to remain vigilant, as we have seen how quickly a small outbreak can escalate. Ensure you are following physical distancing and hygiene measures when you are away from home to keep yourself and others safe.
- Our return to campus plan remains on track, with some adjustments, to ensure the health and safety of University staff and students is protected when on campus:
- If you have visited a case location, then you should follow the instructions from the NSW Government which may include staying at home. When you arrive on campus, you will need to check in by scanning a QR code. This is a vital part of our COVID-safe plan and will assist NSW Health with contract tracing if required.
- Be prepared – staff, students and visitors may be required to wear a mask anytime, any campus. The NSW Government has advised that COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors and in settings where you can’t physically distance so it is important to carry a face mask at all times. Face masks are mandated as outlined below and also as advised by the NSW Government.
- It is mandatory for anyone on campus to wear a face mask where physical distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained. This includes indoor settings such as public transport and shuttle buses, eateries, events, in classrooms and office spaces. It is mandatory for staff and students to wear a facemask where instructed. For example, as a condition of entry in clinics on campus; in medical, clinical practice and other classes; first aid responders on campus, per illness protocols.
- The University is continuing to plan a return to more vibrant campus life, with some great summer series events to take part in. These will be held in accordance with COVID Safe guidelines.