COVID-19 Update: 21 August 2021

  

The Premier has announced further changes to public health directions.  Effective from 1.00pm, Saturday 21 August Regional Victoria will return to having only 5 reasons to leave home. People across the State are asked to come forward immediately for testing if you have been associated with an exposure site or if you are experiencing even the mildest of symptoms. 

Summary of Victorian Government public health orders State-wide 

  • There are only five reasons to leave home:
    • Authorised work(see below).
    • Essential shopping – one person per household, once per day.
    • Exercise – up to two hours, with one other person or member of your household.
    • Caregiving or compassionate reasons.
    • To get vaccinated against COVID-19, if eligible (see below).
  • There is a travel limit of 5km from your place of primary residence except in specified circumstances (eg to visit an intimate partner or a person in your ‘single bubble’).
  • If you can work/study from home, you must work/study from home.
  • Authorised worker/student permits are to be required State-wide (see below).
  • Masks must be worn in all settings (indoors and outdoors) when outside your home, unless you have a medical exemption. In new advice issued today it is now recommended that primary school age children wear masks indoors and outdoors (except at home or if an exception applies).
  • The curfew remains in place in Melbourne only 9pm-5am daily (exceptions for limited reasons).  The curfew does not currently apply to regional Victoria.
  • Early learning centres, childcare, family day care is restricted to authorised workers/students and vulnerable children only 

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

Implications for University activities 

Authorised worker/student permits to apply Victoria-wide 

The requirement for permits to be carried by those undertaking authorised work/study that applies in Melbourne will be extended to regional Victoria, from midnight Monday 23 August.  The Government’s list of authorised work/study is shown below. 

Authorised WorkAuthorised Studies  
  • 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; i.e:
    • 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 (eg payroll or Information Services staff).
  • Undertaking infrastructure construction projects, or operation/repair of infrastructure, including security.
  • 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).
  • The University will gather information directly from Schools, Divisions and Heads of Campus about the additional staff and students that will need to be issued a permit.  
  • The University will issue permits to identified staff/students as quickly as possible. 
  • Please be patient; priority will be given to issuing permits to those who need them in the week of 23 August, in the first instance. 
  • The permit will be sent to your La Trobe email in-box via AdobeSign.  The link in the permit email should take you to http://latrobe.au1.documents.adobe.com/ 
  • For staff, the permit email will be sent from a central administration account. For students, it will be sent from a College/School administration account. 
  • If you believe you meet the definition of an authorised worker/student and have not received your permit by 4pm, Monday 23 August, please contact your line manager (staff); subject convenor (students) or supervisor (graduate researcher) or the placement team.  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.  
  • If you are a student wishing to access the campus for safe study space, you will also need to apply for a permit. See the Permit FAQs.
  • Students on placements at health services will be provided with permits from the Placement Team SHE.HealthPlacements@latrobe.edu.au. If you experience any issues, please contact the placement team and they will assess whether a permit can be issued 
  • When the permit is issued, it will be accompanied by important information for permit holders.  Most 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   
  • Please refer to the Permit FAQs for more information  

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. This will now apply university wide. 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 has defined the learning activities that can continue in face-to-face mode, as shown above.  Authorised worker/student permits will be required for everyone engaged in those activities.  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 who cannot study at home, some on-campus study spaces will be provided.  Additional cleaning of these rooms will be undertaken.  The list of study spaces is available in the FAQs. Students wishing to attend site for this purpose will need to apply for an authorised student permit; see the Permit FAQs for more information 
  • City campus: remains closed until further notice 
  • Library services:  See the Library website for detail of how to access library services during lockdown 
  • 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.  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’ that qualifies for an authorised worker permit (see above). 
  • 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 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. 

Other activities 

  • Sports: On-campus sporting facilities will be closed.
  • Events:  All in-person events remain suspended until November as per previous advice.  For information on event planning please contact University Events at events@latrobe.edu.au
  • Children’s Centre: For staff and students accessing the La Trobe University Community Children’s Centre, the Centre will be in contact with more information about the updated directions as these become available. 

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.  
 

COVID-19 Vaccination 

Please consider getting vaccinated if you are eligible. For more information see the Vaccine Eligibility Checker and the Department of Health website. For any staff who wish to get vaccinated, the University will provide up to 3 hours away from work, without the requirement for personal leave (each appointment).   

More Information 

For more details see the Government 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.