COVID-19 (Coronavirus) / Health, safety and travel advice for students

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) / Health, safety and travel advice for students

Updated 16 March

The University is continuing to closely monitor the situation around the continued spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and we are taking advice from the relevant authorities, including the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Australian Government’s Department of HealthDFAT Smart Traveller and the World Health Organisation.

Please note at present all of our campuses are open and all classes, subjects and courses are continuing online, where possible.

Please read our COVID-19 Student FAQs here.

How do I protect myself from COVID-19?

Returning to University for Semester 1 it is a timely reminder of the importance of following hygiene principles to prevent the spread of any 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. Alternatively, 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 spread that way.
  • Not share eating utensils, food or drinks.
  • Clean surfaces regularly, such as bathroom sinks and taps, kitchen sinks and counters.
  • Don’t go to work if you are unwell and don’t send your children to school or childcare if they are unwell. Seek medical attention.

The University will continue to monitor any advice issued from the relevant Government authorities.

For more information read our FAQs.

How do University travel restrictions impact me?

The Australian Government has advised against any non essential travel overseassee the Smart Traveller website for the latest information.

As of 16 March, all travellers arriving from overseas into Australia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

All students are encouraged to reconsider their need to travel for University programs during the remainder of this year given the unpredictability of the spread of infection and likely future travel restrictions.

Any Semester 1 program with a start date after 2 March has been cancelled.

For students on current exchange in South Korea or Italy, we recommend you return to Australia immediately. Please speak to the University directly about any personal expenses for your affected flights and accommodation and we may consider reimbursement where appropriate. For students where the risk is considered too high, we recommend you enrol in subjects locally. Please speak to the University directly about any personal expenses for your affected flights and accommodation and we may consider reimbursement where appropriate.

For students currently planning to go on semester exchange during semester 2, 2020, you may continue planning this, however it is recommended you do not make any bookings at this stage.

For students scheduled to undertake overseas short program study (including clinical placements) between March and May inclusive, the risk is considered too high. We recommend you enrol in subjects locally. Please speak to the University directly about any personal expenses for your affected flights and accommodation and we may consider reimbursement where appropriate.

Support for students to participate in mobility programs for 2021 will continue.

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve quickly and that is creating uncertainty around travel and mobility.  Because of this uncertainty, all overseas short programs run by La Trobe University during the winter break 2020 have been cancelled, as well as overseas clinical placements and overseas education practicums.

Regardless of whether organised by La Trobe or a third party, we will not approve or give credit for any travel involving overseas clinical placements or overseas education practicums for semester 1 and winter 2020.

For overseas short term programs (excluding clinical placements or education practicums) delivered by a third party or partner university, students undertake these programs independently.  The role of La Trobe is to grant credit where appropriate and to provide travel insurance cover under the university policy. Some third parties are cancelling their winter 2020 programs. We advise against undertaking an overseas short program in winter 2020. Because these are independent programs, it is your decision if you ignore this advice and undertake such a program. In making your decision please consider the following;

  • The global situation is changing rapidly and travel advice is changing quickly.
  • Please check the DFAT travel warnings on the Smarttraveller website regularly.  DFAT travel advice affects travel insurance availability and coverage.
  • Please continue to check our FAQs regularly. These are updated on a daily basis.   These tell you the current coverage of La Trobe travel insurance.  Please note that our insurer has changed the terms of the policy in response to COVID-19 and this may occur again.
  • La Trobe’s insurance policy does not cover cancellation costs.  This would include non-refundable deposits etc.
  • Please check carefully the terms and conditions of your program costs e.g. fees to the third party, to determine implications in the event of a cancellation
  • We strongly recommend flexible tickets and refundable accommodation where possible.
  • Costs related to cancelled overseas short programs booked after 9 March 2020 will be absorbed by the student.  The University will not refund these costs.
  • La Trobe University will not provide mobility grants for Winter 2020 overseas short programs booked after 9 March 2020.

If you are not sure if your program is organised by La Trobe or a third party or partner university, please enquire with La Trobe Abroad for clarification.

With so much uncertainty making decisions and giving advice is difficult.  We are trying to balance opportunities for students alongside being careful about the global health risks associated with the evolving COVID-19 situation.

What study arrangements are in place for La Trobe students still in China?

This state of affairs is potentially very disruptive for our many new and returning students from China. We have put in place every possible measure to minimise disruption to their study.

Following the announcement of the travel ban, we have implemented online study options to all affected students for as long as they are unable to travel to Australia.

We have delivered a personalised study plan to each affected student, outlining the best way each of them can resume or commence their studies. 

We also offered orientation activities online; and we will ensure all affected students receive intensive face-to-face support once they are able to enter Australia. You will appreciate that none of us yet know when this will be.

La Trobe COVID-19 (Coronavirus) FAQs.

How does the COVID-19 (coronavirus) impact students not directly affected?

For students not directly affected, semester one commenced as planned on 2 March, with orientation prior.

Your health and safety, and that of our student community, remains our number one priority.

The University is continuing to closely monitor the situation around the continued spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and we are taking advice from the relevant authorities, including the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Australian Government’s Department of HealthDFAT Smart Traveller and the World Health Organisation.

If you have been in contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 (coronavirus), you must isolate yourself at home or in your residence for 14 days and follow the health advice of the Department of Health, closely monitoring your health for any symptoms. If you develop symptoms, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. 

If you have concerns about the impact on your studies please contact: 

La Trobe COVID 19 (Coronavirus) FAQs.

For advice on travelling to other countries, please monitor the DFAT ratings advice on their Smart Traveller site.  

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 (coronavirus), please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

We advise all students to make themselves aware of the information and updates available from the Department of Health about COVID-19 (coronavirus) on the Department of Health website.

We also want to make students who may be planning to travel to China aware of the travel advice from Smart Traveller from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

What is this virus?

Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The virus seen in Wuhan, China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It has not been detected before this outbreak. Most people infected live in, or travelled to, Wuhan, China. There have been cases of 2019-nCoV reported in other Chinese provinces and other countries. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is now evidence that it can spread from person-to-person.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include fever and cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath.

If you suspect you may have COVID 19 (coronavirus), please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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