COVID-19 Update: 5 August 2021

The Premier has announced that another ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown will come into force across all Victoria for at least seven days (i.e. until at least Thursday 12 August).  

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.

Victorian ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown 

Effective from 8pm tonight, Thursday 5 August

  • There are only five reasons to leave home:
    • Authorised work.
    • Essential shopping – one person per household, once per day.
    • Exercise – up to two hours, limited to two people.
    • Caregiving or compassionate reasons.
    • To get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the nearest possible location, if eligible (see below).
  • Essential shopping and exercise must be done within 5km of your home or the nearest location 
  • If you can work/study from home, you must work/study from home 
  • Masks must be worn in all settings (indoors and outdoors) when outside your home, unless you have a medical exemption
  • Private and public gatherings are not permitted
  • No visitors are allowed in your home other than an intimate partner. People living alone can establish ‘a bubble’ with one other person 
  • Schools will move to remote learning but remain open for vulnerable children or the children of authorised workers.  Where a parent or carer indicates that a student with a disability cannot learn from home due to vulnerability or family stress, the school must provide on-site learning for that student
  • Childcare and kindergartens will remain open as occurred in the last circuit breaker lockdown. 
  • Higher education must return to ‘study/work from home’, except for selected staff and learning programs that can continue attending campuses as per the Authorised Premises and Authorised Worker list (see below)
  • Essential retail will remain open (supermarket, pharmacy, petrol station etc); other retail will close but ‘click and collect’ is permitted
  • Gyms, hairdressers, community facilities and entertainment venues will all close

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

Please regularly check the COVID exposure sites and follow public health directions.

Changes were made earlier this week to travel for cross-border communities; see COVID-19 Border Entry for more details

Implications for University activities across all Victorian campuses 

Teaching and Learning 

  • Continuation of online learning: Classes that can continue online will remain online for the remainder of this week and the week commencing 9 August. Students will receive information from individual subject coordinators and teachers (with details, Zoom links, etc.). Students are requested to check their email and LMS from tomorrow onward for specific advice. The University will make arrangements for catch-up sessions for those classes that cannot be completed online. Students will receive information about this as soon as possible
  • Face-to-face learning: Most teaching that needs to be conducted face to face will have to be replanned, except in the very limited circumstances permitted by the Government; namely:
    • Training and assessment for infection control,
    • study for final year pre-service early childhood and school teachers (including placements),
    • final-year higher education students, who do not have alternative options to complete their study by end of year,
    • first aid training where required for COVID-19 response,
    • study for health care workers (including clinical placements),
    • clinical health and biomedical science (if required to be on site for the maintenance of essential research activities),
    • aged and disability care (including clinical placements).

Students will be advised directly where face-to-face classes can continue, so please check your email and LMS. 

  • On-campus learning and study spaces: For those students who cannot study at home, some limited on-campus study spaces will be provided. This will be in libraries and other designated rooms (e.g. specialist computer labs). Additional cleaning of these rooms will be undertaken. As in previous lockdowns, the City Campus will close. The list of study spaces is in the Study Spaces under Accessing the Campuses in the Student FAQ
  • Library services: There will be no face-to-face services within campus libraries, however virtual services will continue.  The Borchardt Library at Bundoora will remain open as a study space for students unable to study at home. All regional campus libraries will remain open as study spaces. See the Library website for more detail, including opening hours
  • Support services: All student support services will be available remotely during the lockdown and will return to face-to-face operations from Monday 16 August, assuming the lockdown ends as planned. For more information, here’s how to access student services online during lockdown.


Placements 

  • Students with placement activities will be contacted directly with advice about the arrangements for your placement. Continuation will depend on the circumstances of the placement provider.
  • Students with placements planned but who are in self-isolation due to a public health order should contact the placement team to discuss alternative arrangements.

Research activities 

  • The majority of researchers will need to work remotely and all research that can be conducted remotely must be done remotely
  • 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 Honors students). Permission for staff, graduate researchers and research students to attend the campus is given by the Dean/Head of School or their delegate
  • Graduate researchers, Masters by Research, Masters by Coursework and Honors students cannot be compelled to attend campus and should have a discussion with their supervisor
  • Essential research and research activities include: 
    • long term experiments or studies that would otherwise be prohibitive to restart can continue (eg commenced clinical trials) 
    • research addressing the impact of COVID-19 and research in support of the hospital and broader health system. These include clinical trials 
    • the caring for animals, plants, microbes and cell lines in controlled environments 
    • storage and management of existing samples and data research infrastructure that are temperature and environmentally sensitive 
    • maintenance and operation of research equipment and facilities 
  • Graduate researchers, Masters by Research, Masters by Coursework students with research projects and Honors students should speak to their supervisor in the first instance before gaining Head of School approval to attend the campus
  • 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
  • On-campus learning and study space will be available within the campus libraries for graduate researchers and honours/master students who cannot work at home (see above)

Other activities 

  • Sports: On-campus sporting facilities will be closed and planned sports activities will be cancelled 
  • Events: In-person events must be cancelled, postponed or moved online. For advice around how you can move your event online please contact University Events at events@latrobe.edu.au
  • Children’s Centre: Will remain open for children of authorised workers.  


Reminders for those needing to attend campus 

 Please follow general COVID safe measures:   

  • Monitor COVID exposure sites and follow the public health directions.
  • Wear a face mask in all settings outside your home, 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.

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.

More information 

Please refer to the Department of Health website. This includes the continually updated list of exposure sites. 

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