University statements

University statements on COVID-19

Statement 2 April 2020: La Trobe University Senior Executive Group Takes Voluntary 20 Per Cent Salary Cut

In recognition of the significant financial impact on La Trobe University of COVID-19, all members of the La Trobe Senior Executive (SEG) team have decided to take a voluntary 20 per cent salary cut. Of this, 10 per cent will be donated to the La Trobe Student Crisis Appeal, and the remainder will accrue as savings to the University budget.

The salary cut will be effective from the pay period commencing 25 April 2020 through to 3 July 2020. This commitment will be reviewed at the end of June in the light of circumstances at that time, and will be continued if still required.

The donation to the Crisis Appeal comes on top of the more than $50,000 already donated to the Appeal by all members of SEG.

The SEG team will be inviting all senior executive staff across the University to agree to a similar 20 per cent voluntary salary cut in the interest of minimising the economic impact of the crisis on the University’s budget.

The University faces a very significant loss of revenue in 2020, currently estimated to be in the range of $120-$150M.

Members of the SEG expressed their gratitude to staff who have already asked what they can do to help the University through this challenging time, acknowledging that these offers are a powerful expression of La Trobe’s unique culture and values. SEG is currently considering a number of ways in which staff could assist, and will share ideas and opportunities in the near future.

Quotes attributable to Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar AO, on behalf of SEG:

“We are very proud to lead an extraordinary institution dedicated to excellence and inclusivity.  Although we are a stable and successful University, the profound impact of COVID-19 on the higher education sector, including La Trobe, requires extraordinary measures.

“We are committed as the University’s senior management team to supporting our staff and students and to maintaining and improving the quality and impact of our world class teaching and research.

“Preliminary estimates of the revenue deficit in 2020 range from $120M to $150M, from a budgeted revenue of $850M. While the impacts at La Trobe may not be as severe as some other Australian universities, we will soon be facing a simple choice: ‘share the pain’ across the organisation’s staff or implement a significant cost-cutting exercise.

“We believe that a short-term financial sacrifice will support long-term sustainability and ensure that we can continue to provide high quality, innovative teaching and learning and world-leading, high impact research.”

Statement 1 April 2020: Confirmed case of COVID-19 at La Trobe University Melbourne Campus (Bundoora)

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has advised the University today that a third member of the La Trobe University community at our Melbourne campus in Bundoora has tested positive for COVID-19. A first confirmed case was announced on 12 March and a second case on 29 March.

In all matters relating to COVID-19, La Trobe will follow the advice of DHHS.

The affected individual is a La Trobe member of staff who attended work on 23 and 24 March. Please see FAQs for more details of locations.

All staff members considered to be close contacts have been identified, contacted by DHHS and asked to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms.

The limited number of areas the staff member visited last week are being deep cleaned according to relevant guidelines.

The University has offered its full support to the staff member including access to its wellbeing service, which includes counselling. We wish them a swift recovery.

Over the past three weeks, La Trobe University has announced a series of measures to deal with COVID-19. From 16 March, the majority of our staff and students were working from home and from 27 March working from home has been the default, with only a small number of identified and authorised essential staff now working on campus. These staff are required to follow strict protocols around physical distancing and hygiene.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

We continue to monitor the situation and will be providing regular updates to staff and students as well as via our FAQs.

Statement 30 March 2020: COVID-19 – Buildings close but La Trobe remains open for teaching and research

La Trobe University is continuing to respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Australia and to the advice of Federal and State governments and health authorities.

Our first priority remains the health and wellbeing of our students and staff and members of the University and wider community.

In response to the latest advice and requirements from Government, La Trobe has taken the decision to close the majority of its buildings across all campuses in Melbourne (Bundoora and City), Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury-Wodonga, Mildura and Sydney. This is effective from close of business on Monday 30 March 2020 until further notice.

Although buildings are closed, the University remains open online to students and staff, and we will continue to provide excellence in teaching, learning and research through these new modes of working.

The decision to close buildings is supported by the preparations La Trobe has made in recent weeks to allow as many people as possible to study and work from home. The following arrangements are now implemented:

  • All on-campus teaching has now moved online, and the small number of remaining face-to-face components will be deferred
  • The majority of staff who have are working from home will continue to do so until further notice. Since Friday 27 March, working from home has been the default.

Staff should stay at home during the closure and continue working remotely. The only exceptions will be a small number of staff, authorised by the University’s Senior Executive Group, who are required to be on campus to support essential services.  These include:

  • A small number of staff and/or contractors providing services in residential precincts; security, cleaning and maintenance staff; and information services staff
  • A small number of academic staff who require access for short periods to specialist IT facilities to prepare teaching materials
  • A small number of researchers and research teams who require ongoing access to select research infrastructure and laboratories on campus.

Students will continue to be able to access on-campus study spaces in limited venues at each of La Trobe’s campuses.

A check-in and check-out process has been developed to manage physical safety and security for the few facilities that will remain open.

The University will continue to offer safe and secure accommodation on campus for a small number of students who require it. The Accommodation Services team will provide on the ground support for these students including daily virtual Zoom sessions, meals, cleaning and other essential services.

All staff and students attending or residing on our campus network must continue to work in accordance with strict protocols around physical distancing and hygiene, which will be monitored by security staff.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available, which and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

We will continue to update our staff, students and community, including via our regularly updated FAQs on the website and staff intranet.

We look forward to welcoming all of our students, staff and community back to our campuses once we are able to do so.

Statement 29 March 2020: Confirmed case of COVID-19 at La Trobe University Melbourne Campus (Bundoora)

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advised the University yesterday afternoon (28 March) that a second member of the La Trobe University community at our Melbourne campus in Bundoora has tested positive for COVID-19. A first confirmed case was announced on 12 March.

In all matters relating to COVID-19, La Trobe will follow the advice of DHHS.

The affected individual is a La Trobe student who attended lectures on 10 and 12 March. Please refer to the FAQs for details.

All staff and students with whom the student came into contact have been identified and advised to watch for, and report, symptoms. The DHHS advises that they are not required to self-isolate as they are now outside the required self-isolation period.

The student is receiving medical treatment and the University has offered its full support. We wish our student a swift recovery.

The three lecture theatres attended by the student on 10 and 12 March are being deep cleaned according to relevant guidelines.

Over the past two weeks, La Trobe University has announced a series of measures to deal with COVID-19. All of our teaching is now online and only a small number of essential staff are now working on campus. They are required to follow strict protocols around physical distancing and hygiene.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

Please refer to our FAQs relating to this case, which includes dates and location details.

We continue to monitor the situation and will be providing regular updates to staff and students as well as via our FAQs.

Statement 25 March 2020: La Trobe University COVID-19 latest update

Over the past two weeks, La Trobe University has announced a series of measures to deal with COVID-19, including moving over 90 per cent of our teaching online and transitioning to working from home.

The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and members of the University community has been, and remains, our first priority.

The National Cabinet last night imposed further social gathering restrictions with the strong advice that all employees who are able to work from home must now do so.

While many areas of our physical campuses are now restricted, the University remains open to students and staff online. We will continue to provide excellence in teaching, learning and research through these new modes of working.

Working from home is the default

To ensure the University supports these very important public health measures, all staff (other than those listed below) must work from home. This requirement takes effect on and from Friday 27 March and until further notice.

Staff have been assisted in transitioning to this new way of working.

Security staff will be regularly checking around the campus to ensure that we are all following the strict protocols around social distancing and other health and safety measures.

Essential On-Site Services and Approved On-Site Research Infrastructure Access

Three categories of staff are approved by the University’s Senior Executive Group to be present on our campuses:

  • A small number of teams required to attend campus for specific duties and recorded in an ‘essential on-site services’ register
  • A small number of essential face-to-face teaching activities will continue for a short period of time. Specific arrangements for these staff, and those staff requiring access to on-campus facilities to deliver online teaching, are being assessed on a case by case basis. These exceptions are being managed carefully to ensure they comply with restrictions designed to maintain health of our staff and students
  • A small number of researchers and research teams for essential research activity.

In all cases, the few staff remaining on campus are required to follow the strict rules around social distancing and other health and safety protocols.

Library Building Closures

All University library buildings on all campuses will close from midnight tonight (Wednesday 25 March).  Library virtual support services are available to La Trobe students and staff across all campuses.  These include online chat, phone, email and virtual drop-ins.

Access to library services is via the We’re here to help page on the Library webpage. Students and staff will continue to have access to the extensive digital library collection online and to reading lists. All existing loans of print material will be renewed automatically while the library buildings are closed.

Study Location Options for Students

Whilst it is our strong preference that staff and students stay home, as requested by the Government, we also recognise that some students have difficulty accessing technology to support them in continuing their studies. Provision is being made for study hub access on each campus for a limited number of students who do not otherwise have access to computers.

Student Support Services are now all working online. This includes a newly launched Wellbeing Check-In service for students, as well as our Equity and Diversity and counselling services, Learning Support and International Student Lounge. Ask La Trobe will also continue to operate by phone 1300 52 8762 and online during this time.

City Campus

From midnight tonight (Wednesday 25 March), only Level 2 of La Trobe University’s City Campus on Collins St will be available, and this is primarily for students to access technology. For staff, the same conditions outlined about only attending the city campus with explicit prior approval apply. We will continue to review the situation with City Campus over the coming days.

Student Residential Accommodation

La Trobe University remains committed to continuing to provide safe and secure accommodation on campus for students who require it. Special circumstances mean that many students will need to continue living with us. For residents who can return home, the University now requires these students to make arrangements to do so.

It is critical that we all follow the Prime Minister and Victorian Premier’s advice; please stay at home where you can and avoid unnecessary travel to protect your own health and that of the wider community.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

We will continue to update our staff and students as further decisions are made. Everyone is encouraged to read our regularly updated FAQs available on our website and on our staff intranet pages.

Statement 24 March 2020: La Trobe University COVID-19 response update

Following recent announcements by the Federal and Victorian Governments, La Trobe University, like other universities, continues to be categorised as an ‘essential service’ during phase one of the Government’s COVID-19 response measures. This means our campuses remain open, while we take every step to minimise risks to health.

We will continue to work closely with Government to ensure we remain compliant with their requirements. This means all food outlets, sports facilities and places of worship on all campuses are now closed. Some food outlets may have takeaway options available.

Our move to online teaching has been progressing well, and today (24 March) we launched online teaching modules for the majority of our courses (90 per cent of our teaching load).
Yesterday we announced a number of measures to assist our students during this uncertain period. These include:

  • Moving the Census date to 15 April
  • Waiving the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) for Semester 1
  • The creation of the La Trobe University COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program which includes a technology bursary, crisis support scholarships, and emergency relief to pay for essentials.

For full details on how we are supporting our students, you can view La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar’s message to students.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

We will continue to update our staff and students as further decisions are made. Everyone is encouraged to read our regularly updated FAQs available on our website and on our staff intranet pages.

Statement 16 March 2020: La Trobe University COVID-19 response update, incl. pause to face-to-face teaching

16 March - La Trobe University COVID-19 response update, incl. pause to face-to-face teaching

The situation with COVID-19 continues to change at a rapid pace. It is posing unprecedented challenges for the health and wellbeing of our communities and for the continuing operations of the University.

Events over the weekend and this morning have necessitated a rapid review of the University’s response – in particular the ban on large scale events announced on Friday, compulsory self-isolation for all visitors to Australia announced yesterday, and the Premier’s announcement of a State of Emergency this morning.

While there have been no new confirmed cases to date of COVID-19 on our campuses following the first confirmed case last week, it is critical that members of our community remain as safe as possible, while ensuring minimal disruption to teaching and research activities.

La Trobe is therefore announcing a range of measures.  Our campuses will remain open and our teaching and research will continue, but with some significant changes to the way we work.

  • From Tuesday 17 to Monday 23 March, we will be pausing our teaching in face-to-face classes and will be using that time to make a transition to online delivery where it is possible to do so. This will minimise the time students need to spend on campus, support social distancing measures, and will enable us to test and refine our online delivery.
  • During this pause in face-to-face teaching, placements and fully online subjects will continue as usual this week.
  • Teaching will resume on Tuesday 24th March, online where possible, for the remainder of Semester One.
  • As a precautionary measure, from Tuesday 17 March onwards all non-essential events that do not involve delivery or support of teaching or research activity will be cancelled or postponed until the end of June, regardless of the number of participants. This includes events such as: graduation ceremonies; public lectures and events; events run by all Student Union Associations and student clubs and societies; campus tours; Experience Clever events; sporting events and planned ceremonies.
  • Sports facilities, libraries and student accommodation remain open.
  • The University’s research programs will continue, although the way we conduct research activity will need to take account ways to minimise the potential spread of the virus.
  • All international travel should cease immediately, as should non-essential domestic travel. All staff and students who are currently overseas will be asked to return to Australia unless there are compelling reasons for them to stay where they are. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on return.
  • The University will transition to a model where staff will be able to work from home if their presence on campus is not required to support teaching or research, subject to approval of their manager and having in place appropriate resources and processes to work remotely. Where possible, meetings will be held remotely by phone, Zoom or other technology.
  • If we are required to close our campuses (which we have not yet been), all fixed term and continuing staff will continue to be paid during any shutdown.  Casual staff will continue to be paid for up to four weeks based on the work they would have performed if not for the shutdown. This is subject to review in the event a shutdown extends beyond four weeks.

Our priority remains, as always, the health and wellbeing of our staff, students and wider community.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

We continue to monitor the situation and will be providing regular updates to staff and students as well as via our FAQs.

Statement 12 March 2020: confirmed case of COVID-19

12 March - Confirmed case of COVID-19 at La Trobe University Melbourne Campus (Bundoora)

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has advised that a member of the La Trobe University community at our Melbourne campus in Bundoora has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

In all matters relating to COVID-19, La Trobe will follow the advice of DHHS.

Following DHHS advice, the University campus will remain open. University business, including all teaching, research and administrative activities are continuing.

We continue to monitor the situation, working closely with DHHS, and we will alert our community immediately if advice from DHHS changes.

The affected individual is a La Trobe student who has attended class within the past week. The student is receiving medical treatment and the University has offered its full support to the student via the Health Department.

All staff and students with whom the student came into contact have been identified and asked to self-isolate.

The limited number of areas the student visited last week have been deep cleaned according to DHHS guidelines. Further information on dates, times and locations can be found in the FAQs.

We recognise that staff and students may be feeling anxious and we are reminding them of the various supports available and listed on the health and wellbeing page for students and for staff via the Employee Assistance Program.

We continue to monitor the situation and will be providing regular updates to staff and students as well as via our FAQs.

Confirmed case FAQs.

COVID-19 Student updates

2 April 2020: La Trobe senior management team takes 20% pay cut

Statement from the Vice-Chancellor on senior management team's decision to take a 20% voluntary pay cut.

29 March: Confirmed COVID-19 case at Melbourne Campus

Statement from the Vice-Chancellor on a second confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Melbourne Campus.

25 March: Closure of libraries and other campus buildings

Update on the closure of campus libraries and other space - statement from the Vice-Chancellor.

23 March 2020: New support measures for students

Update on new measures introduced to support students during COVID-19 crisis including extension to Census date and cancellation of SSAF 23 March 2020 statement.

18 March 2020: Cancellation of graduation ceremonies

MyLaTrobe 18 March 2020 statement (cancellation of graduation ceremonies)

16 March 2020: Pause to face-to-face teaching

Statement on University's decision to pause face-to-face teaching and move subject delivery online.

12 March 2020: Confirmed case of COVID-19

MyLaTrobe 12 March 2020 statement (confirmed case of COVID-19)

21 February 2020: Message from the Vice-Chancellor on support for Chinese students

MyLaTrobe 21 February 2020 message from VC (COVID-19 and supporting Chinese students)