COVID-19: Update on Victoria’s restrictions – 15 July 2021

This message was originally distributed as an all-student email on 15 July 2021

The Premier has announced today that, effective from midnight tonight (Thursday 15 July), a five day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown will apply across Victoria (i.e. until at least 11.59pm, Tuesday 20 July). He has indicated that it is possible areas of regional Victoria may be able to be released from lockdown earlier, depending on the pattern that emerges from COVID test results. 

This message contains important information about how the University will continue operating over coming days.  

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

Victorian ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown 

The key changes are that: 

  • There are only five reasons to leave home:
    • authorised work
    • essential shopping – one person per household, once per day
    • exercise – up to two hours, with one other person or members of your household
    • caregiving or compassionate reasons
    • to get vaccinated against COVID-19, if eligible (see below)
  • 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.
  • Childcare and kindergartens will remain open as occurred in the last circuit breaker. 
  • 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

Implications for University activities across all Victorian campuses 

Teaching and Learning 

  • Face-to-face classes: Scheduled face-to-face classes will need to pivot to online/Zoom mode 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 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.
  • On-campus learning and study spaces: For those students who cannot study at home, some 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. The list of study spaces will be available in the FAQs shortly.
  • Library services: There will be no face-to-face services within campus libraries, however virtual services will continue.  Level 1 of 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 with limited access. 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 as soon as possible, consistent with public health directions. 

Placements 

  • Students with placement activities will be contacted directly with advice about the arrangements for your placement. Continuation may depend on the particular 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 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 and Honours students cannot be compelled to attend campus and should have a discussion with their supervisor about the most suitable arrangements. 
  • Essential research and research activities include: 
    • long term experiments or studies that would otherwise be prohibitive to restart can continue (e.g. 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 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. 
  • 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 should be either 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.  
  • 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


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.

Notify the University

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 (9479 2186). 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.

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 for information on the more than 80 current exposure sites. If you have attended any of these locations, follow the public health directions.  

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