COVID-19 Update – 9 August 2021: Lockdown to lift in regional Victoria

The Victorian Premier has announced today that from midnight tonight there will be an easing of public health restrictions in regional Victoria.   

The settings for metropolitan Melbourne are unchanged and staff and students must avoid travelling to the regions unless you have a legally permitted reason. The University will be seeking to minimise, to the fullest extent practical, the movement of people into the regions. 

The key items of the public health changes for regional Victoria that are relevant to the University are:  

  • The five reasons to leave home and 5km travel limit will be dropped. 
  • Higher education – open to all students however if you can study/work from home, you should study/work from home.  
  • There are limits on workplace attendance for office-based staff (i.e. 25 per cent of office workers or up to 10 people, whichever is greater).  
  • Masks must continue to be worn in all indoor and outdoor settings (unless medical exemption applies), including all workplace settings.
  • Business functions/events are allowed but with density and patron limits that vary depending on the setting (indoor/outdoor and seated/non-seated). 
  • Public gatherings are permitted for up to 10 people; no visitors are allowed to the home (intimate partner visits/single bubble permitted).  
  • Gyms can reopen, with a density limit of 1 person per 4 square metres; COVID check-in marshals; and patron caps of 100 indoors and 300 outdoors. 
  • Schools will resume in face-to-face mode for all year levels. 
  • Regional Victorians can travel to Melbourne for permitted reasons only and must follow the Melbourne public health rules.
  • Particular restrictions still apply to cross-border communities

If you have been instructed by the Department of Health to be in isolation or are covered red permit conditions, you must continue to follow these requirements until cleared by the Department. 

For full details refer to the Victorian Government COVID website. 

Implications for La Trobe operations on regional campuses 

Teaching and learning activities 

  • Teaching: Classes for the remainder of this current week (ie, week of 9 August) will largely need to continue online but the University will seek to maximise the return of face-to-face classes in the regions wherever possible. Students will receive information from individual subject coordinators and teachers (with details, Zoom links, etc.). Students are requested to check their email and LMS for specific advice
  • Placements: in accordance with the Government directions, the University will be seeking to minimise the number of students travelling from metro Melbourne to regional Victoria for placements.  Students will receive advice from the Placement Team. 
  • Library services: Regional campus libraries remain open with face-to-face services returning from Wednesday 11 August – see the Library website for detail, including building opening hours and support services. 
  • Support services: All student support services continue to be available in virtual mode.  Please check the ASK La Trobe webpage for live updates on when face-to-face services can resume. 

Research activities 

  • All research activities must be COVID safe.  Safety Risk Assessments (SRAs) are no longer required for standard teaching and research activities but you can still initiate one if you would find it helpful in working through how to manage the activity safely. 
  • 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. 
  • Travel to Melbourne by regionally-based researchers is restricted to essential research and must comply with Government requirements.  You will be required to follow the Melbourne rules when in Melbourne.  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

Events 

  • There are strict COVID-safe protocols for events and an approved Event Safety Risk Assessment is a requirement. 
  • Consistent with the Government requirements, the University is prioritising which events can continue and this means, in general terms, most in-person events remain on hold.  Event organisers are strongly encouraged plan virtual events. 
  • For advice about your specific event please contact University Events at events@latrobe.edu.au

Keeping La Trobe COVID Safe 

Please follow the general COVID safe measures when attending campus:   

  • Wear a face mask in all settings outside your home; see the Government rules about masks here.  
  • Practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.  
  • Maintain appropriate physical distancing.
  • DO NOT attend a campus, placement or field work activity 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. 
  • Use the QR code system to sign-in to each building as you move around campuses. 

Notify the University 

  • Under the workplace directions of 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 

For more details see the Victorian Government COVID website or the University’s COVID FAQs which are regularly updated.