COVID-19 Update: 16 September 2021

The Premier has announced a slight easing of public health restrictions for Melbourne, with effect from 11.59pm, Friday 17 September. Settings for regional Victoria are largely unchanged.  

The New South Wales government has announced Albury is going into a seven-day lockdown which may impact some Nursing and Dentistry students. Students should contact the placement team. 

Summary of Victorian Government public health orders 

The changes for Melbourne of most relevance to the University are:  

  • The five reasons to leave home remain in place (but the 5km radius for shopping and exercise will increase to 10km)
  • It will be permitted to socialize/exercise outdoors (up to four hours, with one other person plus dependants if they cannot be left unattended. The other person can be from another household). Up to five people may gather from two households to socialize/exercise outdoors if everyone over age of 18 have had two vaccination doses 
  • The nightly curfew remains 
  • Authorised worker/ student permits are still required 
  • Movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is still restricted to specified purposes including authorised work/study (with permit) 
  • For higher education – if you can work/study from home, you must continue to work/study from home
  • Arrangements for schools and early learning centres/childcare/family day care are unchanged 
  • Masks must be worn by Victorians aged 12 years or over in all settings (indoors and outdoors) when outside your home, unless you have a medical exemption; recommended for primary school age children wear masks indoors and outdoors 
  • Construction workers state-wide will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59pm, Thursday 23 September.  There are other changes to settings for the construction industry (relating to travel and COVID safe plans); see the Government website for details. 

For regional Victoria, the settings are generally the same.  One change of relevance to La Trobe is that indoor physical recreation facilities can be open with 10 people indoor and 20 outdoor per venue. 

For full details of what is and is not permitted refer to the Victorian Government COVID website. 

Implications for University activities 

The University continues to work within the parameters of the Public Health directions and to consider and adjust its operational arrangements as these change.  While the University is undertaking forward planning in anticipation of further gradual easing of settings, we cannot get ahead of the public health advice.  We will continue to provide as much certainty as possible to students and staff. 

Working arrangements 

  • Travel between Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is permitted only where it is to undertake authorised work/study and you hold a current permit. Please talk to your line manager or school manager in the first instance or see the authorised worker permit FAQs 

Authorised worker/student permits 

  • Permits are still required for Melbourne-based people and anyone travelling from Melbourne into regional Victoria
  • If you are solely working/studying in regional Victoria the requirement for permits has been dropped (including for Shepparton from 11.59pm, Wednesday 15 September) 

Teaching and Learning and Placements 

  • Continuation of online learning: As previously advised, on all campuses, in order to provide some certainty for staff and students, all teaching that can be conducted successfully online will continue online until at least Monday 27 September.  We continue to monitor the situation and will provide as much certainty about future arrangements as possible 
  • Students will receive information from individual subject coordinators and teachers (with details, Zoom links, etc.). The face-to-face teaching that is permitted to continue on campus is very limited. Students are requested to check their email and LMS for specific advice
  • Limited face to face learning activities and Placements: The Government’s list of learning activities that can continue in face-to-face mode is unchanged. Authorised worker/student permits are required for everyone in Melbourne engaged in those activities, or for everyone travelling from Melbourne to the regions.  For more detail see the Permit FAQs. Students needing to travel from metropolitan Melbourne to regions for placement should contact their placement team for further information.  Permits are no longer needed for those staying solely in the regions 
  • On-campus learning and study spaces: for those students who cannot study at home, some on-campus study spaces, including libraries will be provided. Additional cleaning of these rooms will be undertaken.  The list of study spaces is available in the FAQs. Melbourne-based students wishing to attend site for this purpose will need to apply for an authorised student permit; see the Permit FAQs for more information 
  • Library services: Library buildings remain open to staff and students with ‘Click and Send’ services available to students and academic staff who are unable to travel and require physical resources. Library support services remain available in alternative mode – see the Library Website for detail of how to access library services  
  • Support services for students: For students who need support at any time, we’re here for you. Get in touch with the University’s Health and Wellbeing services.  All student support services continue to be available remotely, with face-to-face service returning for regional campuses for selected services. Please check the ASK La Trobe webpage for live updates. 

Research activities 

  • The majority of researchers will need to work remotely, except where involved in ‘essential research’.  In Melbourne, an authorised worker permit is still needed 
  • Essential research requiring site-specific access for experiments or studies can continue (this applies to staff, graduate researchers, Masters by Research, Masters by Coursework students with research projects and Honours students). Permission for staff, graduate researchers and research students is given by the Dean/Head of School or their delegate.  Graduate researchers, Masters by Research, Masters by Coursework and Honours students cannot be compelled to attend campus and should have a discussion with their supervisor 
  • Graduate researchers, Masters by Research, Masters by Coursework students with research projects and Honours students should speak to their supervisor in the first instance before gaining Head of School approval 
  • Field work and work in Victorian third-party sites that is essential must meet La Trobe University requirements, the external site’s requirements and the Victorian State Government requirements. Speak to your line manager in the first instance. Permission can be given by the Dean/Head of School or their delegate. Authorised worker permits are still required for travel from metropolitan Melbourne into regional Victoria.
  • For staff wishing to resume interstate field work, please speak to your line manager in the first instance. Permission can be given by the Dean/Head of School or their delegate.  You must familiarise yourself with the current permit and quarantine requirements in your intended destination as they differ and change frequently.  Researchers will need to organise their own permits to cross State borders from the relevant State Government and abide by all public health directions.  Be aware that border settings change with minimal (if any) notice including arrangements that might affect your ability to return to Victoria.  Any costs incurred in being stranded interstate will be a personal responsibility.  These considerations should be factored into the risk assessment associated with the activity and into an approval decision. Staff unable to delay activities can consider engaging a research subcontractor to undertake field work activities on their behalf if possible. Further advice on costs and contracting requirements is available from the Research Office. 

Other activities 

  • Sports: On-campus sporting facilities in Melbourne will remain closed.  See the La Trobe sport website for the current information about facility access in the regions 
  • Events: As previously advised, Senior Executive Group has determined that all in-person University events are suspended (all campuses) until November, this is despite the fact that in-person events can occur in regional Victoria with strict COVID safe arrangements.  If you believe there is a regional campus event that has a compelling business reason to occur, please discuss this with your Head of Campus, in the first instance.  For general questions about events, please contact University Events at events@latrobe.edu.au 

Keeping Campuses COVID-Safe 

Please follow general COVID safe measures:   

  • monitor COVID exposure sites that are frequently updated and follow the public health directions 
  • wear a face mask in all settings outside your home including all workplace settings, (unless a medical exemption applies).  See the Government rules about masks here
  • practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette  
  • maintain appropriate physical distancing  
  • if you feel even slightly unwell with respiratory symptoms, immediately self-isolate and call the Department of Health COVID hotline (1800 675 398) to find out how to get tested; then self-isolate and stay home until you receive the result.  This applies regardless of your vaccination status.  Even if you have been fully vaccinated, there is a risk you can still transmit the virus to other people 
  • if you are attending campus, sign-in to each building as you move around using the QR code system 

Notify the University 

  • please remember that under the workplace directions issued under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic), staff and students must notify their tertiary education provider if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and may have attended while infectious. If you have been diagnosed or have been informed you are a primary or secondary contact of someone who has, please contact Spomenka Krizmanic the University’s Manager, Health Safety and Environment (0447 323 256).  This will ensure that actions can be appropriately coordinated within the University and with Government health authorities  
  • if you become aware of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case amongst students, staff or a campus visitor, or are contacted by placement providers about possible exposures please immediately inform Spomenka Krizmanic 

Support for Students

For students who need support at any time, we’re here for you. Get in touch with the University’s Health and Wellbeing services. Please check the ASK La Trobe webpage for live updates. The State Government has financial and other support that may be applicable to you.   

All students are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for your protection and the protection of your family and the wider community. For more information on booking an appointment see the Vaccine Eligibility Checker and the Department of Health website.   

More Information 

For more details see the Government COVID website.  If you have attended an exposure site you must follow the public health directions.   

For further information about the University’s response see the University’s COVID FAQs which are regularly updated.