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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

February 12, 2020
Common questions about the coronavirus infection (Covid-19), and the effect of the Australian Government’s travel restrictions on your studies.

Travel

The Australian Government has suspended travel from all of mainland China to Australia. This travel suspension applies to everyone except Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only) until further notice.

In addition:

  • if you have recently returned from Hubei Province, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date you left Hubei Province.
  • from 1 February 2020, all travellers including Chinese citizens, Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family returning from mainland China or transiting through mainland China must isolate for 14 days from the day they left mainland China.

These measures are temporary and will continue to be reviewed by the Australian Government.

All of China, excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Currently the ban only applies to direct travel to Australia from mainland China. If 14 days or more have passed since you last visited or transited through mainland China and you are exhibiting no symptoms, you will not need to self-isolate for another 14 days and will be able to attend class as normal. Please be sure to check the Australian Government’s travel restrictions before travelling.

The last date to arrive in Australia is Monday 16 March. This is so you can complete your mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation before you are ready to join your classes by Monday 30 March.

The University is monitoring the situation closely and will provide an update to students who would be impacted by an extension to travel restrictions.

Yes, the 14-day self-isolation period is mandatory for people who arrive from mainland China. This applies to all students, regardless of whether you are domestic or international.

The University requests that you isolate yourself from campus for 14 days if you departed from China any time in the past 14 daysThis is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff.

Health and wellbeing

The University’s first priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. We are monitoring the situation closely and following government health advice to keep our campuses safe.

We are working to ensure there are minimal disruptions to the academic year. Classes will go ahead as usual, with some special arrangements made in places to ensure affected students can continue their studies.

Remote and flexible learning arrangements are being explored to enable students to begin Semester 1 classes remotely before joining class on campus by Monday 30 March. Circumstances may change due to the Australian Government’s review of the current temporary travel ban and we will keep our staff and students updated on the University’s plans and the support options available.

If you are a staff member, please contact your manager by phone or email to arrange flexible work arrangements.

 

The NSW Health Department advises the risk of contracting coronavirus in Australia is low. The University is following every precaution recommended to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff.

It is unlikely you will contract coronavirus unless you:

  • have recently been to China
  • have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.

The risk of contracting coronavirus is low, but we remind all students to exercise good hygiene habits and follow healthcare advice.

 

There is no need to isolate as long as the affected family member has followed government health advice about their own isolation.

 

If you experience symptoms of coronavirus, which include a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath:

  • isolate yourself from others immediately
  • phone (do not visit) a local general practioner (GP) or the closest hospital emergency department for instructions on what to do next:
    • call the University Health Service on 02 9351 3484
      or
    • call the Royal Prince Alfred emergency department (closest to our main campus in Camperdown) on 02 9515 6111.

No, there is no fee for getting tested for coronavirus.

No. NSW Health advises that if you do not have symptoms, there is no testing that can be done to predict whether or not you will become unwell. It is not possible to issue a ‘medical clearance certificate’ and you will not need to provide this in order to return to classes, or work.

If you’re in Australia and feeling anxious or distressed, you can talk with one of the University counsellors from Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Book an appointment by calling 02 8627 8433 or 02 8627 8437 between 9am and 5pm. Outside CAPS business hours, you can contact the University of Sydney Crisis Support Line on 1300 474 065.

If you are a staff member who requires support, our Employee Assistance Provider (Benestar) is available to all staff online or by calling 1300 360 364.

An Australian government hotline has also been established to assist international students with questions or concerns relating to their study and novel coronavirus:

You can also access mental health support:

Enrolment and study dates

No, Semester 1 classes will commence on campus from Monday 24 February as planned for most courses. Only two courses (Master of Commerce and Master of Professional Accounting) have a delayed start date of 9 March. All courses will finish at the same time at the end of Semester 1 as scheduled.

Yes, Welcome Week activities will still go ahead from 17 to 21 February as planned.

We know there will be some students who will not arrive for Welcome Week due to the travel ban. We are working on plans to welcome you when you are able to join us on campus.

Yes, if you are not affected you are expected to attend classes on campus as normal from week one of semester.

Yes, if 14 days or more have passed since you last visited or transited through mainland China and you are exhibiting no symptoms, you are able to attend class as normal.

HDR programs will continue as normal. However, the travel restrictions may impact plans for fieldwork or similar trips in mainland China,  please consult the University’s travel advice on the Intranet and speak with your supervisor about alternative arrangements.

Special study arrangements

The majority of courses will commence on time (Week 1 beginning 24 Feb).

Only two courses (the Master of Commerce and the Master of Professional Accounting) have a delayed start date of 9 March. All courses, including the Master of Commerce and Master of Professional Accounting will finish at the same time at the end of Semester 1, as scheduled.

Yes. The start date for these programs is the same for both domestic and international students, including those already in Australia – Monday  9 March 2020.

Yes. The Semester 1 2020 start date for commencing and continuing students is the same – Monday 9 March.

 

Semester 1 will remain 13 weeks in duration and will finish on time as planned at the end of the scheduled exam period.  

All course materials will be made available on the Canvas site and there will be opportunities for remote students to participate in class via online tutorials.

Yes, there will be remote learning arrangements, which includes online options for many courses, for students unable to attend classes on campus before Monday 30 March.

Arrangements will vary from course to course and may depend on whether you are a new student or continuing student. Not all courses can be taught online, however, and in those cases students will be advised to defer or suspend their studies.

Please check the website for details on the courses and units of study that can support impacted students.  We will continue to update this page as arrangements are confirmed.

No, in most cases these are units that are already offered online or are being offered as an accessible option for students who are unable to be on campus to attend in person. Unless advised otherwise by your faculty, you will attend your lectures and tutorials as normal from 24 February.

Please consult the website for information about adjustments that have been made to some courses.

Please check the website for details on the courses and units of study that can support impacted students. We will continue to update this page as arrangements are confirmed.

Arrangements will vary from course to course and may depend on whether you are a new student or continuing student. Not all courses can be taught online, however, and in those cases students are advised to defer or suspend their studies.

The University is working to confirm online or remote teaching arrangements where possible.

For exams held on-campus during the first four weeks of semester, affected student should apply for special consideration so that a replacement exam can be scheduled after 30 March 2020.

There will be no academic penalty for students who are unable to attend class before 30 March due to the Australian Government travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements. There will be opportunities for remote students to participate in class via online tutorials.

Suspending or deferring your studies

If you are unable to arrive in Australia to commence your studies on campus by 30 March 2020, you should defer or suspend your studies and begin at a later date such as Semester 2, or Semester 1, 2021 (depending on your course).

If you are a commencing student, you will need to request a deferral.

If you are a continuing student, you should apply to suspend your studies in Sydney Student.

If you do not think you will be able to be on campus to join your classes by 30 March 2020 (unless special arrangements have been made for your course), you should apply to suspend or defer your studies in Semester 1, 2020.

If you do not think that you will be able to be on campus, please reschedule your appointment.

Accommodation and self-isolation

Stay in your accommodation.

You should not attend public places including work or university. Do not see visitors. Avoid the use of public transport.

There is no need to wear a mask at home if you are well. Where possible, get others who are not required to be isolated to get food and necessities for you. If you must leave your accommodation wear a surgical mask if you have one.

Practice simple hygiene by covering your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands thoroughly.

Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers or soap.

Aerate your room, if possible, by opening windows to allow fresh air into the room.

Responding to Australian Government decisions, we are making arrangements for any student who is staying in our accommodation to self-isolate if required.

Once you are in your University accommodation for self-isolation, follow the advice in the above paragraph.

If you have booked University accommodation, we require you to relocate to self-contained student accommodation for this period. This will allow us to provide the most appropriate facilities required for the isolation stage.

We have determined that certain properties best cater to the containment of any potential spread of the virus.

This information is for students who have booked University accommodation.

Please pack all personal belongings you would like to take with you for the next 14 days.

The University will provide transportation to your temporary accommodation and you will be advised of details once arrangements have been confirmed.

During your stay in isolation the University will also be providing you with:

  • bed linen
  • towels
  • hand sanitiser
  • face masks
  • food

These facilities do not contain wi-fi so a dongle will also be made available to you.

Arrangements are being made to provide the properties with a streaming service so that students can enjoy movies and shows during your isolation.

Should you wish to speak to someone regarding the temporary relocation please contact our student accommodation services team.

This information is for students who have booked University accommodation.

Please pack all your personal belongings.

The University will provide transportation to your booked accommodation and you will be advised of details once arrangements have been confirmed.

Visas

The Department of Home Affairs has provided advice about student-visa obligations for students who are already studying (ie continuing and re-enrolling students with a ‘STUDYING’ visa status):

  • a suspension due to compassionate/compelling circumstances can be granted for cases where, due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, students cannot return to Australia in time to continue their studies (or would normally be expected to leave Australia).
  • if you are affected by the coronavirus travel restrictions you can apply for a suspension.
  • if you apply for a suspension for Semester 1 2020 due to travel restrictions, and your suspension is approved, your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) will be cancelled. This is how the Department of Home of Affairs is notified that you are on a suspension. You will need to check directly with the Department of Home Affairs what your visa status is while on a suspension.

If your student visa is going to expire soon, and your faculty or school has approved your continued enrolment, you’ll need to apply for an extension of your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and a new visa. It’s important to be aware of your visa’s expiry date and apply to extend your eCoE before your visa expires.

For information on applying for a new visa, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Apply to extend your eCoE through Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’, then ‘Course details’).

If you’re extending your visa, remember to contact your health insurance provider to extend your Overseas Student Health Cover.

If you are no longer studying, you will need to contact the Department of Home Affairs or a registered migration agent for information on other visa types and options.

If your suspension is approved, you will be issued with a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) for your re-commencement intake.

For deferral, please contact international.admissions@sydney.edu.au. For visa matters, please contact the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Please contact the Department of Home Affairs for advice.

An Australian government hotline has been established to assist international students with questions or concerns relating to their study and novel coronavirus:

Email: international.students@dese.gov.au

Phone: 1300 981 621 (8am to 8pm AEDST Monday to Friday)

Decisions related to eligibility for persons affected by the coronavirus will depend on how long the travel restrictions remain in place. The Department of Home Affairs will consider making concessions, on a case-by-case basis, for those applicants affected, once travel restrictions have been lifted.

Chinese nationals applying for an Australian skilled independent visa should refer to VETASSESS for information.

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