COVID-19 Update: 17 August 2021

The Premier announced yesterday that the current lockdown will be extended a further two weeks in metropolitan Melbourne (until at least 11.59pm, Thursday 2 September). There are also some additional public health rules:

  • The five reasons to leave home remain in place. Exercise (up to two hours) is now only permitted with one other person (plus dependants if they cannot be left unattended). The other person can be from another household.
  • A curfew is now in place 9pm-5am each day (exceptions for limited reasons).
  • Permits will be required to leave the house for authorised work/authorised study effective from 11.59pm, Tuesday 17 August (see below).
  • Construction sites must reduce staffing to 25 per cent or five people whichever is higher.
  • Outdoor playgrounds, skateparks, basketball courts and gym equipment are closed.

For more details of what is and is not permitted, refer to the Victorian Government COVID website

The settings for regional Victoria remain unchanged, including the need for Victoria-NSW cross-border communities to apply for a permit from Service Victoria.

Staff and students based at the Sydney Campus should continue to follow New South Wales Government public health directions and updates from the local Sydney team.

Implications for La Trobe Operations 

Permits for authorised work/authorised study 

The Government has reintroduced a requirement for permits to be carried by those in Melbourne undertaking authorised work/study, with effect from 11.59pm, Tuesday 17 August. The list of authorised work/study is shown below:
Authorised work

  • Accessing specialist equipment to prepare materials for online learning
  • To support service delivery on site for vulnerable students in higher education and training, where not practicable to provide remotely
  • Undertaking essential research, including:
    • Management and care of critical living resources, and the equipment and materials they depend upon (e.g. feeding, husbandry, hydrating, routine care and checks of animals, plants, microbes and cell lines in controlled environment)
    • The storage and management of existing samples and data research infrastructure that are temperature and environmentally sensitive (e.g. biobank)
    • Long-term experiments or studies that otherwise would be prohibitive to restart (e.g. commenced clinical trials)
    • Research addressing the impact of COVID-19 and research in support of the hospital and broader health system
    • Maintenance of essential research facilities
  • Support of on-site residential students.
  • Administrative services provided to enable staff to work from home (e.g. payroll or Information Services staff).
  • Undertaking infrastructure construction projects, or operation/repair of infrastructure, including security.

Authorised studies

  • Study for final year pre-service early childhood and school teachers (including placements).
  • Final-year higher education students (i.e. in TEQSA-regulated courses), who do not have alternative options to complete their study by end of year.
  • For the purposes of undertaking a prescribed examination or assessment, where not practicable to provide remotely.
  • First aid training where required for COVID response.
  • Study for health care workers (including clinical placements).
  • Aged and disability care (including clinical placements).

What you need to do: Authorised workers and students

  • The University is currently gathering information from all schools and divisions about the staff and students that will need to be issued a permit.
  • The University will issue permits to identified staff/students via email during the course of today (students please check your La Trobe email inbox).
  • Please be patient: Priority will be given to issuing the permits for those needing to attend site this week.
  • If you believe you meet the definition of an authorised worker/student and have not received your permit by 6pm today, please contact your line manager (staff); subject convenor (students) or supervisor (graduate researcher). They will need to consider whether a permit can be legally issued and approve for this to occur. You will need to await receipt of the permit before attending site.
  • Students on placement will receive a permit from the placement team. If you experience any issues, please contact the placement team.
  • When the permit is issued, it will be accompanied by important information for permit holders. Most of important of all is that permit holders MUST NOT attend site if: they test positive to COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and are required to self-isolate. 

People movement between Melbourne and Regional Victoria

  • All La Trobe people should seek to minimise movement across the State wherever practical.
  • Only authorised workers/students are permitted to travel into regions (with permit).
  • Even if you have a permit you MUST NOT travel if feeling even slightly unwell, but get tested and isolate until you have the result.
  • Melbourne-based people must continue to follow the Melbourne public health directions at all times, even if in the regions. Regionally-based people must follow the Melbourne rules when in Melbourne.
  • Before embarking on any travel, please check the COVID exposure sites to see if you have attended any. If you have, you must follow public health directions.


Other implications for University operations

Teaching and Learning and Placements

  • Continuation of online learning: As previously advised, on the Melbourne metro campuses, in order to provide some certainty for staff and students, all lectures that can be conducted successfully online will continue online until Monday 13 September. 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 in Melbourne is very limited. Across regional campuses, it is possible that a greater amount of face-to-face classes may be able to resume. Students are requested to check their email and LMS for specific advice.
  • Face-to-face learning: In metropolitan Melbourne most face-to-face teaching will be replanned. In Melbourne face-to-face teaching is permitted by Government in very limited circumstances and where you have a permit (see above).
  • Placements: Students with placement activities will be contacted directly with advice about the arrangements for your placement. Continuation will depend on the particular circumstances of the placement and placement provider. Students with placements planned but who are unwell or in self-isolation due to a public health order should contact the placement team to discuss alternative arrangements.
  • On-campus learning and study spaces: For those students in Melbourne who cannot study at home, some on-campus study spaces will be provided (City campus will remain closed during this lockdown). This will be in libraries and other designated rooms (e.g. specialist computer labs). Additional cleaning of these rooms will be undertaken. The list of study spaces is available in the FAQs
  • Library services: The Borchardt Library at Bundoora remains open as a study space for students unable to study at home. Face-to-face services within the Borchardt Library are on hold however virtual services will continue as normal. Regional libraries are open.  See the Library website for more detail, including building opening hours and support 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. Please check the ASK La Trobe webpage for live updates. All student support services for Melbourne campuses continue to be available remotely and will plan to return to face-to-face operations from Monday 13 September (public health orders permitting). Regional campuses have now resumed offering selected face-to-face services. Check the ASK La Trobe website for updates.

Research activities

  • The majority of Melbourne-based researchers will need to continue working remotely.  Regional staff can conduct research from campus where it cannot be done from home.
  • In Melbourne, 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.
  • Essential research and research activities are listed above.
  • 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 third-party sites that is essential must meet La Trobe University requirements, the external site’s requirements and the 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.
  • Any regional researcher travelling to Melbourne for essential research must follow the Melbourne public health directions.


General

  • Sports: On-campus sporting facilities will remain closed in Melbourne.
  • Events: All in-person events are now paused until November 2021, both regionally and metropolitan Melbourne, with only a few exceptions and in line with government public health restrictions. For advice around how you can move your event online please contact University Events at events@latrobe.edu.au
  • Children’s centre: Open.


Attending campuses

For those attending campuses, please continue to follow the practices that keep campuses safe and notify the university if you may have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or may have attended while infectious.

More information 

For more details see the Government’s COVID website. This includes the continually updated list of exposure sites. If you have attended an exposure site you must follow the public health directions.

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