A message from the Vice-Chancellor on COVID-19 and support for our Chinese students

The University is preparing for the 2020 academic year and we look forward to welcoming you to campus. We’re aware that the beginning of semester 1 this year will be different for students who have been impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and the Australian Government travel ban, especially our international students from China.

I can assure you that the University is doing everything it can to support affected students by offering personalised study plans, online orientation and other measures to minimise the impact on your studies. We hope that all students can commence or continue their studies with as little disruption as possible.

I’d also like to remind all students that La Trobe is a diverse, inclusive and welcoming community. Unfortunately, we’re aware that the travel ban has resulted in some negative and unacceptable behaviour towards the Chinese community in Australia in recent weeks. It’s important that we all treat one another with respect, as I explain in this video.

The University will not tolerate discrimination of any kind on our campuses or in our community. If you experience any discriminatory or unacceptable behaviour, I encourage you to contact our Speak Up service, which offers free advice and referrals.

The University is here to support students who need help. If you need extra support, please make use of our free and confidential counselling and wellbeing services. The La Trobe International Student Services team is also available to provide you with free, confidential support and help you with any issues no matter how big or small.

As per our previous advice, all students and staff who have travelled to Hubei Province and mainland China within the past 14 days must isolate themselves at their home or hall of residence for 14 days from the time they left China, and follow the advice of the Department of Health.

I encourage you to monitor your health closely. If you develop flu-like symptoms, call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only. You cannot attend the University until the Department of Health informs you that it is safe to do so.

It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the following hygiene principles that help to prevent the spread of communicable illnesses:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or sneeze or cough into your inner elbow.
  • Dispose of used tissues into a plastic-lined rubbish bin immediately after use.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as infections can spread that way.
  • Don’t share eating utensils, food or drinks.

Please monitor your student email inbox for further updates, information and advice.

Once again, I assure you that you have our full support. We look forward to welcoming you to campus for your studies this year.

Professor John Dewar AO

Vice-Chancellor and President