Coronavirus infection: latest information

Refer to this page for the latest updates from the Vice Chancellor regarding Coronavirus and potential impacts to Macquarie University students and staff.

Updated, 6 July 2020

As we approach Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, we have cause for continued confidence in sustaining almost no community transmission of COVID-19 in New South Wales. As Professor David Wilkinson explains here, despite recent localised community transmission of COVID-19 in Victoria we are making remarkable progress in our efforts to contain COVID-19 as a state and indeed as a nation.

In light of this progress, and based on feedback we have received from students in relation to their desire to come back to campus, we have taken the decision to expand face-to-face tutorials, seminars and other small group learning activities for students on campus from the beginning of Session 2. I note that many units requiring practical lab classes, studio activities or clinical practicums have existing plans to return to campus and those arrangements will stay in place. All lectures will remain in online format.

Reflecting what might become the “new normal”, we have been careful to ensure that while we will return many learning activities to campus, where practical, an online version of most tutorials will still be available for students unable to re-join us on campus in Session 2.

We will communicate with students about the expansion of on campus learning activities for viable units this week. I wanted to communicate in the first instance with staff.  We expect around 60 per cent of students will elect to return to face-to-face learning activities on campus in Session 2, with the balance participating in their units of study through engaged online learning activities. Work has already concluded to identify exemptions for units where face-to-face tutorials are unviable during Phase 3 of our return to campus plan and these will continue to be delivered online.  Departments have been involved in this work and will convey arrangements to their colleagues.

As an education provider, the University has an exemption from the one person per four square metre rule. Where possible though the University will continue to adhere to the 1.5 metre physical distancing requirement, so we continue to ask for your support in following appropriate physical distancing and hand hygiene practices. Our COVID-Safe plan is being amended accordingly and further advice for the resumption of these campus-based activities will be forthcoming. Timetabling will be focusing on using our large venues that would ordinarily be used for lectures for tutorials.  If staff members have particular reasons why they cannot attend campus during Phase 3, they should discuss and resolve how to proceed with their manager.

The focus of the Executive Group and the University’s COVID-19 Taskforce will now turn to the commencement of our Phase 3 return to campus plan. I will provide you with an update on details for Phase 3 later in July.

The opportunity to reconnect with colleagues on campus since the initiation of Phase 2 of our return to campus plan has been a most enjoyable experience. Seeing life return to the University campus with the return of staff, and from Session 2 the return of students, is an important step in resuming our work together as a University community.  I am sure I am not alone when I say I am very much looking forward to campus emerging from its COVID-19 enforced remote work.  However, we must be mindful that COVID-19 still presents challenges.  I cannot underestimate the importance of members of the University community (staff and students alike) staying at home if they have any respiratory symptoms and getting tested for coronavirus for the foreseeable future.  Hand washing regularly is also very important when away from home base.  We continue to monitor NSW Health guidelines and have regular communication channels open with senior officers of NSW Health.

The decision to return to campus for tutorials and other small group teaching activities has been a decision based on balancing a number of considerations including feedback from students and the trajectory of the epidemic in Sydney.  We will continue to monitor the epidemic and make adjustments accordingly.

The decision to return small group teaching to campus has only been possible due to the flexibility and adaptiveness of our staff.  On behalf of the University community, I want to thank you all for your ongoing commitment to put students first and for the commitments you have made to work convergently during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 23 June 2020

This week has seen the commencement of the second phase of our return to campus plan with our buildings and office spaces gradually now returning to life as most of us return on a part-time basis.

In tandem with our return to campus, the State Government is continuing to loosen physical distancing rules as we experience a sustained run with little to no community transmission of COVID-19 in New South Wales. However, as we have seen in recent days in Victoria, we are not immune to the possibility of the number of infections increasing and must all continue to take personal accountability for our personal hygiene and physical distancing on campus.

On 1 July, in step with NSW Government guidance, we will again be allowing indoor events to proceed at the University with the one person per 4 square metre rule continuing to apply. There is no upper limit to the number of people at these events, however they must be seating only events.

A loosening of physical distancing restrictions on public transport also comes into effect on 1 July, with a doubling of capacity on both trains and buses. More details of this announcement can be found here and I am sure will be welcomed by staff who travel to campus by public transport.

The Executive Group will also begin to reflect this week on what the ‘new normal’ may mean for the University as we prepare for our Phase 3 return to campus on 20 July. As I have said previously, one positive we can take from the COVID-19 pandemic is the transformative impact it has had on our working practices. It is important to look at what that might mean for us as an institution in the medium and longer term.

My best wishes to you all as we commence our return to campus and, more importantly, begin to again personally connect with colleagues in our working environments.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton,

Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 11 June 2020

The past fortnight has been a busy time for the University community, with the launch of the Operating Plan and preparation undertaken to move us into Phase 2 of our return to campus plan which I can announce we will initiate on 22 June.

We launch the second phase of our return to campus plan in the context of continued reduction of community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia. I am pleased to share a thorough assessment of the nation’s progress from Professor David Wilkinson, who has taken the time to record his expert situational analysis of the current state of coronavirus in Australia.

Phase 1 of our return to campus plan, which focused on returning priority areas to campus, has gradually seen more staff return. We have also facilitated student use of the library for study and exam revision purposes. As a University with a single campus at its core, and in the context of a significant reduction of community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia, it is now appropriate for us to escalate our return to campus in a way that continues to be mindful of individuals’ personal circumstances.

From 22 June, we will commence Phase 2 of our return to campus plan where all staff will return to campus on a part-time basis with around 50 per cent of staff on campus at any time. The default will be that all staff will work on campus 2-3 days per week, with the remaining time working from home. This will be pro rata for part-time staff. Your manager will be in touch prior to 22 June to discuss specific arrangements with you, including which days you should attend campus. Rostering arrangements will be in place to ensure staff attendance is spread across the week and to keep within the 50% guideline. Staff in priority areas will be permitted to be on campus more frequently. There will be an exceptions process, through your manager, for the consideration of any requests not to return to campus for people such as staff over 70 years of age, staff with compromised immune systems or other ‘vulnerable workers’ as per health guidelines.

We aim to initiate Phase 3 of our return to campus plan on 20 July 2020, ahead of Semester 2 commencing on 27 July, subject to Government guidance. In Phase 3 all staff will have full access to working on campus, with some continuing arrangements for physical distancing. The default will be all staff working on campus as usual, with some remote working arrangements and flexible work arrangements as agreed at the local level.

I want to reiterate that I am mindful of the continued enforcement of personal distancing on public transport which may make travel to campus difficult for some staff. Staff who are concerned about this issue should raise this with their manager to assist in your return to campus plan. We have also refreshed staff FAQs for Phase 2 which I encourage you to read.

Finally, our property and workplace health and safety teams have been working tirelessly in preparation for our return to campus. Our COVIDSafe Plan has been updated and new resources developed including Cleaning Factsheet, Emergency Response Quick Guide and a suite of downloadable meeting room signage for use by Faculties and Offices throughout University properties. Please refer to the COVIDSafe Signage Protocol which sets out the steps required to install signage across the University in accordance with NSW Government guidelines.

These resources are useful tools for us all, but they do not supersede nor substitute the need for us all to take personal responsibility to maintain high levels of personal hygiene, particularly hand washing, and physical distancing. I thank you for your understanding and commitment to continuing to observe these practices which are an important factor in keeping us all safe and healthy.

I very much look forward to seeing you all back on campus on a part-time basis during the next phase of the University’s plan. I would also again like to extend my thanks to the many people who have been involved in the development of our return to campus plan which has been a complex and multifaceted process. It is yet another example of the spirit of community and professionalism which defines Macquarie.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University.

Updated, 5 June 2020

Last month we ran the COVID-19 Your Say survey where more than 2,000 of you provided insights into your experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. The survey highlighted for the Executive Group a range of areas that have worked well, as well as areas where additional support is needed.

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your participation in the survey and to provide you with an overview of how we have been responding to what you told us.

Survey results

The survey results can be accessed here. The Executive and I appreciate all feedback and it’s clear that our University has come together to support each other and our students in response to the unprecedented times of COVID-19.

We also appreciate the candour with which colleagues have described the challenges associated with COVID-19. This includes the pressure of transitioning to different modes of learning and working, the challenges of balancing work and home life in recent months and the impact on personal health and wellbeing.

In response to these challenges, the Executive and I have identified five areas for action, a number of which we have already commenced or actioned.

Teaching workload and impact on research

An issue raised by academic staff was the increased time and workload associated with transitioning to online teaching and the flow through impact of this on research output.

Specifically, colleagues asked whether COVID-19 will be factored into PDR assessment and applications for promotion. The workload and disruption caused by COVID-19 will be considered as part of the PDR process in the coming year. PDR templates will be updated to include a section where you can record the impact of COVID-19 and discuss this with your supervisor.

COVID-19 will also be considered as part of the academic promotion round in 2021, with dedicated consideration of COVID-19 under the category of “achievements, relative to opportunity”. There will be specific briefings for Promotion Committee members on the topic.

The DVC-R portfolio is also exploring ways to support our research community and alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 on current research projects and publications.

Casual academic staff

Our sessional academic staff have played a key part in our success in transitioning to online learning. Feedback received highlighted that additional training and development was required to help with the transition to online learning, and that sessional academic staff spent time undertaking these activities.

In response to this feedback, I have authorised an additional one-off payment of 4 hours’ pay for all sessional academic staff which will be made in the payroll of 17 June 2020.

There were also queries about the claims process for additional hours worked. All such claims should be progressed with the relevant Head of Department.

Gender equity and supporting carers

I would like to recognise and acknowledge the challenges that have arisen for parents and carers during recent months. The challenges of working with children at home and home schooling, as well as the impact on staff with carers’ responsibilities, came through very clearly in the survey data. There were also broader gender equity impacts identified.

I have asked the University’s Gender Equity Self-Assessment Team, which leads implementation of our Gender Equity Strategy, to conduct additional detailed analysis and action planning on this topic. The Higher Education Sector has also created a Joint Sector Position Statement, re-affirming commitments to gender equity initiatives in a COVID-19 context, which I have signed on behalf of our University.

Clarity around how COVID-19 has impacted on the University

There were a range of fears and anxieties expressed about the impact of COVID-19 on the University’s financial health and job security. In response, last week I wrote to you about the financial impact of COVID-19, our recovery plans and the University’s Operating Plan.

Clear and responsible planning for return to work on campus

A recurrent question has been about our plans to return to campus. You would have recently received notice about the University’s COVIDSafe Plan and Return to Work Plan which have been published on our COVID-19 web pages. I encourage you to discuss your own work arrangements with your manager, including any questions you may have.

We are currently halfway through Phase 1 of the Return to Campus Plan and actively planning for Phase 2, with further information about Phase 2 to be provided next week.

May I conclude by expressing my continued appreciation for the untiring commitment and resolve of our whole community to support our students and each other, ensuring that the University operations continue during these extraordinary times.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton
Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 26 May 2020

We have taken the first steps this week in returning to campus as staff from areas identified as priority come back in the first phase of our return to work plan.

The numbers of staff returning to campus are at this stage well under our 25 per cent threshold and my expectation is that this will continue to build slowly over the next four weeks as we move towards the implementation of Phase 2 of our plan. Our guidance remains that you should continue to work from home unless you have heard differently from your manager.

Many of you have taken the time to complete our return to work survey which has been very helpful in understanding colleagues’ preferences in how quickly we return to campus.

The results have told us that most staff wish to combine a gradual return to work on campus with work from home. Some staff have expressed the wish to have greater access to working on campus. If you are in this category, I would encourage you to discuss this with your manager and we will accommodate requests where possible. The information from the survey is helping to inform the plans across faculties and offices for how returning to campus is implemented across the University.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to remind everybody of the importance of continued adherence to good personal hygiene and physical distancing as we return to work. We have taken additional steps to provide signage reminders and cleaning on campus but continued common sense, especially in communal areas, is of course required.

Thank you for your continued perseverance during this time. I look forward to seeing you either back on campus or on online.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 7 May 2020

Information for Students

In my last email to you I shared the news that Macquarie University is taking the first considered steps toward returning to campus. I can now announce that from Monday 25 May small numbers of professional and academic staff in priority areas will return to campus as we initiate the first phase of our COVIDSafe plan.

I have been very impressed with the way in which you have all adapted quickly and well to engaging with your studies from home. However, I have heard that there is pressure on some students around access to an appropriate study space and the challenges that come with preparing for examinations or completing coursework at home. In recognition of this, we will reopen the Library for study purposes only on a limited basis from 25 May to better support students’ exam preparation and completion.

This means a maximum accommodation of 250 students with levels 3, 4 and 5 of the Library open, including HDR spaces; online support services and activities will continue to operate online.  The University’s Library webpage contains details of spaces and services that will be available. Should demand exceed the 250 spaces available in the Library, the University will open and supervise the Marquee. Please also note that students will need their student card to access study spaces. This first phase of opening up study areas will lead to greater access to study areas and ‘request and collect’ of library resources at an appropriate point in Session 2.

It is important to emphasise that this decision is designed to support students in their study. Following physical distancing measures and enforcement of those measures will continue on campus as we prioritise the safety and wellbeing of both students and staff. Unless coming to campus to use study facilities, students should continue to remain at home.

While most of our staff will remain working from home, this is a welcome first step in the resumption of campus operations and, in a limited number of cases, campus-based learning and teaching. While the vast majority of students will continue to be taught and learn online, some courses that rely on face-to-face teaching and laboratory-based learning and research will return in a limited manner with details communicated to impacted students shortly.

I am acutely aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on students, perhaps most notably around campus life and the ability to enjoy the wonderful experience of coming to campus. We are making good progress as a nation and as a State towards returning to normality, yet there is still some distance to travel before we can enjoy a pre-COVID campus experience again. I thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and cooperation in supporting the University with our management of campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information for Staff

Last Friday saw the commencement of the easing of social distancing measures in New South Wales with the partial reopening of cafés and retail businesses. As our State slowly starts to reopen for business, today I can announce the commencement of Macquarie University’s phased return to work from Monday 25 May.

As outlined in my last communication, the University will commence the implementation of Phase 1 of our return to work plan, which allows staff in priority areas to return to campus. This initial phase is expected to last for four weeks and will be followed by a second and a final third phase.

Executive Group members are undertaking detailed return to work plans for each of their respective areas. These plans will take account of the high degree of variability and complexity in our faculties and offices of factors affecting the implementation of the plans. They are, by design, tailored to meet the needs of each area while ensuring that our workplace remains compliant with social distancing measures.

Your manager is your contact about arrangements for you and your team for each phase of the return to work plan. The default for most of us in Phase 1 is that you should remain working from home unless your manager has advised you that you are permitted to return to work on campus. I recognise that many staff have special or personal circumstances that are relevant to their ability to return to work on campus. Please ensure that your manager is aware of any personal or special circumstances you have, so that reasonable accommodations can be put in place to support you.

In returning to work during this first phase, the University has rolled out extensive signage and room attendance limit restriction notices which you will see around campus. Cleaning processes and the management of workspaces to ensure compliance with social distancing measures have also been initiated. The University’s COVIDSafe Plan and Return to Work Plan and First Aid Officer COVID guidance has now been finalised and published to our COVID-19 web pages. I encourage everybody to read our Return to Work Plan where you will also find further information about how you can provide feedback.

In returning to work in Phase 1, the State Government is encouraging workers to avoid public transport during peak hours (7-10am), which are already close to capacity to allow for social distancing during these times. Clearly, this guidance impacts on many of us as we return to work and I encourage you to check the Transport NSW website if using public transport to plan your journey in advance. Parking in zones 1, 2 and 3 on campus remain free and available to all staff.

As we begin to see life returning to campus, I am also cognisant of the apprehension that many of us may feel. I want to reassure returning staff that our return to work plan is designed to cater for personal circumstances, such as childcare responsibilities, and have the safety and wellbeing of all our staff and students at its core. We know that many questions will arise from our phased return to work and every part of the University will need to manage each phase of the plan in a considered and tailored way. We have posted FAQs for Staff on our COVID-19 pages which I also hope will go some way in addressing questions that staff may have.

I have also written separately to students to inform them of our phased return and to share information of our return to work plan which is relevant to them. Both of my communications are available on the COVID-19 website.

Our phased return to work has only been possible due to the outstanding efforts of staff in preparing these plans. I would like to thank the many people involved in this process which has allowed us to take the first tentative steps towards a full return to campus.

Updated, 7 May 2020

I wanted to provide you with a further update from my message of last week about our plans to return the University community back to campus.

The University’s Executive group has now endorsed an approach which will see us returning to campus in a phased manner, driven first and foremost by our determination to ensure a safe working, learning and teaching environment for our community, and one which reflects continued adherence to social distancing guidance and Government advice, including any decisions made by the National Cabinet.

It is important to note that we are only in this position because of the progress Australia has made in controlling community transmission of COVID-19 and that our return to campus will be gradual with our working, learning and teaching environments adapted to ensure the safety of students and staff.

I share the information below to provide an early indication of our plans for return to campus.  I emphasise that the plans below may be amended because of government advice.

Information for Students

I understand the desire of all students to get back to campus, especially our domestic and international students who commenced their studies this year and have not yet had the opportunity to experience campus life.

We envisage that in Session 2, staff will have the opportunity to deliver some online teaching from designated spaces on campus with students engaging from home. We also aim to support laboratory researchers to return to their labs with rotation and rostering to ensure compliance with social distancing measures.

Some coursework will start to return to campus in Session 2, particularly in clinical, lab-based and studio-based units. However, many learning activities will remain online. We are doing everything we can to further investigate how we may be able to bring more coursework and activities back onto campus in Session 2 if circumstances change. However, we cannot assume this will be possible for all classes to be on campus in Session 2.

We are also examining the reopening of key study locations on campus, including the Library, and MUSE to enable student access as part of our gradual transition back to campus. We will have more information on this as we start to initiate our return to work plan.

Our main objective is to make campus available as a place to engage in your studies as well as in wider University life, guided by the advice we receive from Government. This transition will require patience and understanding; however, I can assure all students that we are committed to working with you to get you back onto our vibrant campus in a responsible and timely manner.

Information for Staff

For staff, our return to work plan involves three key phases. The initiation of the first phase of our recovery plan will be triggered by Government guidance that will be provided to businesses and institutions such as our own in the form of a ‘return to work’ toolkit. We expect receipt of this guidance and toolkit shortly, which will then initiate our own phased return to work plan.

Phase 1 – Priority Areas

Our first phase will involve areas returning that we determine as ‘priority’ through the rostering and rotating of these areas back onto campus. Priority areas are likely to include those involved in the learning and teaching of units which have been highly disrupted by online learning, for example clinical units, laboratory-based classes or studio-based units.  Staff whose work from home poses particular challenges or other safety considerations will also return in this phase. Some colleagues in support services will also return on a rostered and rotated basis to enable those services to staff members returning to campus. We expect that this phase may last between 2 -4 weeks.  The guidance of national and state authorities will be important as we move to later phases.

Our current proposal will also involve a prioritised approach to managing re-entry of researchers to campus.  Social distancing requirements will be key in this endeavour and the early focus will be on research that cannot be conducted remotely, such as mainly laboratory research. We envisage a system of rotation and rostering to ensure we can maintain social distancing requirements.

Considerations of laboratory access will include ensuring prioritised access for times in laboratories and using a risk-based approach for research involving human subjects.  I will be able to report more to the University community about these measures once Faculty consultations are complete.

Phase 2 – Priority Areas and Rostered General Attendance

This phase will include a rostered and rotating return for staff and students similar to the approach that New South Wales schools are adopting for a return to face-to-face teaching. Social distancing measures will continue to be a focus of this phase where the majority of meetings and workshops will need to be run virtually when social distancing measures cannot be met. We expect that this phase may last between 3 - 6 weeks

Phase 3 – General Attendance and Social Distancing

General attendance to campus during this phase will be permitted on a full-time basis, with continued compliance with relevant social distancing and hygiene practice required. Restrictions on international travel and mass gatherings are likely to remain in place with some meetings continuing to be delivered remotely. We expect this timeframe to be in place for a prolonged period as determined by Government guidance. At this stage, we expect that lectures and large tutorial classes will remain on-line through Session 2.

As the Government eases restrictions there will be opportunity for general attendance on campus. At the same time, there will be ongoing requirements for social distancing that will impact on meeting arrangements, travel, events, office workspaces, cleaning, work arrangements, and personal hygiene practices. We recognise that, as restrictions ease, there is the possibility of outbreaks of COVID-19 and we will need to be able to quickly respond in that scenario. It is possible that greater restriction of access to campus may be required all over again if there is an outbreak.

The Government has made it clear that returning to work is a national priority, but one which is dependent on continued adherence to social distancing and personal hygiene practices. We will all have an individual responsibility in meeting these obligations and ensuring that we all contribute to learning, teaching and working in a safe environment.

Further specific details will be communicated to you in due course. If you have particular concerns about returning to campus relating to personal circumstances, such as underlying health matters, I urge you to consult with your manager for staff and through Student Wellbeing for students. Please also continue to visit the COVID-19 website regularly which will continue to have the latest information.  I appreciate both your patience and understanding as we work through extraordinarily complex logistical planning in our attempt to normalise Macquarie operations.

My personal reflection is that COVID-19’s legacy for our students, our partners and the ways that we work, learn and teach means that, in many ways, there will be no return to our previous ‘normal’. Different modes of working, learning, teaching and research and the digital transformation experienced by us all through this pandemic will contribute to shaping our future. It provides opportunities for us to continue to transform our University both at the individual level and at a macro level through the University’s Operating Plan.

I continue to appreciate the great lengths that we have all gone to in getting us to this stage, and my sincere thanks for the serious work that remains ahead of us in returning us all responsibly to our campus.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 1 May 2020

Today, New South Wales takes the first steps in the loosening of social distancing regulations where we can now have two adult visitors to our homes. The first signs of a return to normality have begun which I know will be welcomed by everybody in our community.

With schools also beginning a phased return to classroom learning from 11 May, with a full return being considered from the commencement of Term 3 in July, I know many of us are wondering what University plans are for a return to teaching, learning and working on campus.

Over the last week or so, the Executive Group paused to review what we all achieved in Session 1 before turning our attention to Session 2. This work will be finalised in our Business Recovery Plan which will detail the steps to begin the process of a return to campus.

On Wednesday we agreed to a series of principles to guide teaching and learning in Session 2. While the detail of these principles is still being worked out, it is important for staff preparing for teaching in Session 2 to be aware of some of the main points as they commence the governance approval process for units over the next two weeks.

These are:

  1. We will likely not return to large group teaching such as lectures on campus in S2.
  2. We will commence S2 with small group teaching continuing to be taught online and with enhanced efforts for engaged on-line learning that our students have enjoyed and have told us that they would like increased.
  3. We will actively plan over the coming weeks for a return of select laboratory and practice-based learning activities to campus in S2 for those students and staff where this is feasible.
  4. We will actively plan for the limited return of placements, internships, fieldwork and excursions where appropriate and in negotiation with our partners.

We are continuing to work on these scenario plans very actively, and I will announce to the University community the details once they are in place.  Any return to campus-based teaching, and any of the other wide range of activities supported on campus, would be strictly controlled with the application of social distancing and hygiene measures that protect our staff and students.

As government starts to wind back social distancing rules, the University will respond proportionally with our own plans to resume the expanded range of campus activities. Part of this work is focussed on considering what a phased return for staff may look like. We are working across the faculties and offices to enable a return that continues to follow social distancing rules, while allowing staff to return to working across campus locations.

The Federal Government’s COVIDSafe app has also launched in recent days.  Many of the University’s Executive Group and I have downloaded the app which is part of the Government’s work to slow the spread of COVID-19. On the topic of apps, I also want to remind you all of the importance of downloading the International SOS app which the University uses to ensure that staff and students overseas are safe and contactable. Taking steps now to download the app will help us continue to support staff and students in their future travel plans once travel is possible.

I also wanted to provide an update for staff on the provision of carer’s leave. Up until 24 April 2020, carer’s leave has been available for staff with children at home from school or childcare. Only a small number of people have taken up carer’s leave, with most staff working flexibly to manage these responsibilities. As we see schools implement a phased return to face-to-face teaching, carer’s leave will continue to be available in extenuating circumstances, rather than as a general provision, with our focus on flexibility to enable staff to balance their work and childcare responsibilities.

I look forward to updating you all on details of our Business Recovery Plan once it is finalised. We will continue to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our foremost consideration. Every action we take will be aligned to Government guidance as we move towards normalisation of Macquarie’s operating practices.

In closing, I want to again thank our entire community for the resolve and commitment which you have all shown as COVID-19 plays out.  For our students, we have established a program of telephone calls to every student to check in and see how they are travelling.  I have been making a few of those calls myself and I can share with you that the majority of students with whom I have spoken have adapted quickly and well.  There is a strong sense of appreciation for the extra lengths to which academic and professional staff are going to support students in so many ways.  For this, and indeed all that you are doing, I am very grateful.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University.

Updated, 18 April 2020

I wanted to take the time this weekend to provide you with an update on activity that the COVID-19 Taskforce has taken over the past week in support of our community, as well as prospective new students who are currently experiencing high levels of disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I have heard about considerable anxiety from Years 11 and 12 students, their parents, school principals and careers advisors around the impact of the pandemic on students studying for HSC and university applications for 2021.

In response to this I can announce today that any student who meets the criteria for our Early Entry Schemes, the Schools Recommendation Scheme and Leaders and Achievers Early Entry Schemes, which offer students a place at Macquarie based on their Year 11 results, will be made an offer to study at Macquarie University in 2021. For the first time we will also remove exemptions to courses available through these schemes.

We have also acted to remove caps on the number of students at the University level who will be admitted through these schemes to support students concerned about impacts to their study and ATAR results from the COVID-19 pandemic. Caps will only exist at course level when there are government, legal, or other logistical restraints (clinical placements etc.).

By encouraging students to apply for entry to these schemes, my hope is that students will have one less issue to deal with during these troubling times. Students will be able to focus on their study knowing that they have secured an offer from Macquarie University.

We also continue to see some light at the end of the tunnel with the announcement that NSW schools will commence a phased return to face-to-face teaching from 11 May.

I know for many parents this will be cause for considerable relief as we juggle working from home and caring for children. While this is welcome, we clearly still have some distance to travel before we return to business as usual, so we have decided to extend our ban on domestic and international travel and University events for another fortnight to 16 May 2020. The Taskforce will continue to review this periodically.

I can also report on a fast uptake of the Macquarie University Student Support Package which since launch has had more than 2,000 students apply. I wanted to thank the Student Wellbeing team members and acknowledge the tremendous efforts they have displayed in supporting students during these unprecedented times.

We are also endeavouring to contact every student individually to ask, “are you ok?”. I plan to join our contact centre team and personally contact students to hear for myself how things are going and what else the University can do to support students through the pandemic.

On this theme, it is especially important that we continue to ask each other “are you ok?”. Taking time to consider our own personal wellbeing and mental health, as we adjust to periods of isolation and less contact with people than normal, is particularly important. To support this, we’ve launched a new ‘Wellbeing during COVID-19’ section to our web pages that I encourage everybody to view. A number of our own academic mental health and wellbeing experts will be appearing on the site, to complement the multiple authoritative resources that the page contains, so please visit these pages regularly.

I also wanted to share with the community an initiative established by toll operator Linkt, who are offering support to people still using toll roads to travel to work. Several of our MQ Health colleagues have taken up this service and it may also be valuable to others.

May I conclude by continuing to recognise and acknowledge the untiring efforts of our whole community in continuing to support one another and ensuring that the business of the University continues during these times. My thanks to one and all.

Sincerely

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 27 March 2020

As we get ready for a return to learning and teaching in the new online environment on Monday, we have made some decisions in anticipation of further Government tightening of social distancing measures that I would like to share with you today.

From Monday, we are advising all coursework students not to come to campus. The vast majority of Macquarie University courses will be delivered online with lecturers teaching from home. As we move into the new reality of online learning and teaching, it’s very important that everybody in our community, students and staff alike, work and learn from home as much as possible despite the possible challenges that this may pose.

I am grateful to the small number of essential staff that will be required to be on campus. I expect that all other staff not attend campus and will be working from home including those who are delivering online classes. While there may be a preference for working on campus, I would ask all staff to work remotely over the next week, particularly in order to test technology operations from your home.

It is likely that further social distancing measures may come into force in the near future and it is therefore vital that we take steps now to adapt to these circumstances. I wanted to remind people of the One Help IT service desk who stand ready to assist with any tech issues you may have and will continue to provide their excellent service remotely.

I have been in touch with the Executive Deans of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences regarding key research work. Executive Deans and Associate Deans are working with Department heads and laboratory leaders about the arrangements which are appropriate to the unique circumstances of individual laboratories and HDR students.

We are also taking steps to reduce access to campus from 5pm today. All buildings will now only be accessible via key card access. Effectively, this means that the current weekend and evening access restrictions to buildings will apply 24/7 from 5pm. This will help us with the management of campus and reduction in energy use for this period. Our City Campus will also be closed from 5pm today in support of these measures. If you need to go to campus and require access to buildings, please inform your manager and access, in exceptional circumstances, can be provided.

Campus security will continue to operate on campus to help with the enforcement of these restrictions and to carry out essential campus security patrols.

I also wanted to remind everybody about the importance of calling ahead if you need to attend our onsite GP clinic. The GP clinic remains the correct place to visit if you are resident on or near campus and feeling unwell. Calling ahead on 02 9812 3944 before presenting for assessment at the GP clinic is very important if you have respiratory symptoms or fever. Please do not go to Macquarie University Hospital, which does not have an emergency department.

Please also continue to visit our Coronavirus webpages, which have been enhanced overnight with information for staff to support working from home, and key information for students in support of online learning.

I am sure that I speak for everybody when I say that I am very much looking forward to the resumption of learning and teaching next week, albeit in these highly unusual circumstances. I am sure that this will be a new experience for many members of our community and ask everybody to be kind, patient and understanding as we find our feet in this new environment.

Again, I thank every member of the Macquarie University community for their extraordinary dedication to new ways of working and the outpouring of effort in recent days and weeks to help us all work in new ways.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 25 March 2020

We heard from the Prime Minister last night a set of further recommendations as the nation continues with its collective efforts to slow the rate of community transmission of COVID-19 throughout Australia. I wanted to provide you with an update of what that advice means for our Macquarie University community and actions that we are taking in support of this guidance.

Due to the specialised work of MQ Health, this information does not apply to those staff members. Separate communications will be issued to its staff by MQ Health.

Over the course of the remainder of this week the University will take action to have more staff working remotely. What this means is that we are asking all staff and students, other than those who must physically be on campus, to work from home.

While it is important to emphasise that the campus remains open, only staff who must be on campus to conduct work that is a) essential and b) can only be conducted by being on campus should be on campus from next Monday, 30 March.  This includes areas such as security or those staff members supporting aspects of accommodation, for example.  For professional staff, if your role is required to be on campus, I expect that your manager will discuss this with you if they have not already done so. In further responding to the epidemic, our position achieves both increased social distancing as well as further reducing the population on campus.

Specifically, with reference to laboratory research where physical presence is required, staff and students are permitted to continue to attend campus for laboratory work, however strict observation of social distancing measures must be observed by those conducting research. Faculties will be addressing more specific advice about conduct of research over the next couple of days, and University guidelines will be posted on the Coronavirus website.

There are also cases where staff are employed in areas where work has stopped due to the Government announcements, and where working from home is not viable.  To support these people, there will be a provision for Special Leave, initially for two weeks commencing when work ceases.  This provision will be reviewed regularly.  In doing this, I want to acknowledge the stress and concern that this situation has caused these staff members and I hope this leave provision helps to alleviate the situation for you. At this stage, I expect that there are only a small number of people in this category and managers will be communicating with staff who are affected.

In some of these affected areas, there are also casual staff. Where these arrangements mean that casual work is no longer available, the University will honour its prior commitment that it will continue to pay casual staff for their rostered shifts for a period of up to two weeks. Again, we will continue to review the situation and communicate regularly with our casual staff community.

In line with Government advice, the University Library building will be physically closed from 10pm tonight. However, with almost 800,000 eBooks and 72,000 current journal titles online, our library is fantastically equipped to support learning, teaching and research in an online format via multi-search.

As well as our vast array of learning materials, our librarians will be available via live chat, email and Zoom for students, researchers and staff. I encourage you to visit this page for more details on our library’s extensive online services. Loan periods for resources currently checked out of the library have also been extended indefinitely.

The Federal Government has now announced a comprehensive travel ban for all international destinations, details of which can be accessed here. All sporting events held at Macquarie University facilities have also been cancelled. Our Art Gallery and museums will also be closed from midnight tonight following the Government’s advice.

Finally, our student community has now been sent an email detailing how to access online learning and teaching from next week. I want to personally thank all students for your patience during the pause in learning and teaching which has been essential in transitioning to an online learning and teaching environment. I also want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of our faculty and office staff who have truly put in a herculean effort to move almost the totality of our units online. More information about the move to online is available here.

As we move our learning and teaching to a predominately online format, all our support services in both learning and teaching and, for example, Student Connect, Student Wellbeing, Careers and Employment will still be available and accessible online or by phone. We will also be introducing some new approaches to student engagement appropriate to these times – stay tuned.

Again, I continue to be deeply impressed by the efforts of everybody in our community during these challenging and unique times.

Sincerely

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 23 March 2020

Over the course of the weekend and this morning we have seen a significant escalation of a range of measures introduced by the Australian and New South Wales Government. I wanted to provide you with an update on these measures and the implications for Macquarie University.

We have seen an increase in a range of social distancing measures in an attempt to slow the rate of community transition in Australia. More information about these new guidelines can be found here. In line with this advice, the following now applies to Macquarie University:

  • The University campus, MQ Hospital and Clinics of MQ Health in the Clinic Building and the library remain open. Extra cleaning continues to take place throughout the campus.
  • Macquarie University Sports and Aquatic Centre, UBar, Staff Café, Crunch café and Piccolo Lane will be closed from 12:00pm today.
  • Campus Common retail outlets, Cult Café at Y3a, Library café, Wally’s walk coffee cart, Globe Café and the MGSM Kitchen will now only provide a takeaway service with their retail dining facilities closed.
  • To support our retail outlets, we are pleased to announce that a rent holiday will be extended to businesses on site to support their ongoing viability.
  • Macquarie University Childcare Centres remain open. We will be assessing the viability of these centres remaining open on an ongoing basis.
  • All University interstate domestic travel is now banned. The University ban on international travel and events has been extended to 2 May and will continue to be reviewed periodically.
  • The NSW Premier today announced that at this stage schools will remain open until the scheduled school holidays on 10 April. However, parents are encouraged to keep children at home. For staff who have school children at home, there are several options available to assist them in balancing work and parental responsibilities. It may be viable for staff to continue working from home with school aged children present in the home. This is a matter of judgement for each parent about responsible supervision of their children and is likely to be age dependent. For staff where it is not possible to work from home and ensure responsible supervision of children at the same time, personal carers’ leave provisions will apply for the normal school term period. Staff are encouraged to discuss their personal arrangements with their manager.
  • We recognise the impact that the pause in learning and teaching to March 30 poses for some casual staff who might have been expecting payment this coming fortnight and not over the Easter break. Casual staff will have the choice to be paid in advance for work they perform over Easter to alleviate any impact of this timing change.
  • The University will, as much as is possible, honour the hours of work available for both academic and professional casual staff for the balance of this semester. The type of work performed may be different from usual, for example, instead of face-to-face tutorials, casual staff may be involved in the delivery of online teaching in a variety of forms. Details of these arrangements will be for each Faculty to implement. Casual staff should ensure that they are available for such activities and submit time sheets based on time worked.

Preparations have also been moving apace as Macquarie moves to an online learning and teaching environment. I want to thank the many people who have been actively involved in the delivery of online learning which has seen an enormous effort across all our faculties and offices. All units have been checked to ensure that we are able to maintain the quality of students learning experience.

I am also pleased to announce that a student web application has been developed to allow students to find out the status of their units by entering their unit number. You will then be able to go to your unit's iLearn site to see how learning activities and assessment tasks will be modified to comply with COVID-19 advice and restrictions. Students will receive a separate communication tomorrow asking them to use the application imminently.

May I conclude by continuing to encourage you to visit the University’s Coronavirus webpages which remain the most authoritative source of information for staff and students. Please also continue to observe the Government’s advice on social distancing and avoiding non-essential travel, which are sensible practical steps we can all take in our collective effort to slow the rate of community transmission of COVID-19.

Again, I thank all members of the Macquarie University community for the tremendous flexibility and adaptability that you are showing in moving through these unprecedented times. I am very grateful for your continued efforts and dedication.  Please also do be sure to take good care of your own health and that of your family and those dear to you.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University.

Updated, 18 March 2020

Today is the first day when our staff and students pause in our teaching as we transition to an online learning environment. Teaching in the new mode will recommence on 30 March. Many of our staff are also now working from home, where they can do so effectively, enabling business continuity and contributing to social distancing measures. These are indeed unique times.

I continued to be impressed by the adaptability and positivity of our entire community. I am seeing the very best of Macquarie University come out many times each day with purposeful dedication to work in a dynamic and nimble way when there is so much occurring around us. I thank the community for that.

We had our first student confirmed case of Coronavirus on Campus late on Monday and appropriate cleaning measures were conducted overnight at the University in line with NSW Health guidance. It is important to state that Australia has very strict privacy laws in relation to the disclosure of health information. The University cannot provide information that may lead to the identification of the individual involved, however, please rest assured that it continues to be safe to come to Campus. The position of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on this is very clear and can viewed here.

As community transition increases, we will no longer be issuing updates to the media or our community about COVID-19 diagnosis as continued escalation of cases in NSW makes it no longer practical to do so. We will in all cases continue to act on the advice of NSW Health with the safety and wellbeing of the University community our primary focus. NSW Health staff remain very engaged with individuals affected by Coronavirus and their doctors, as well as in tracing contacts. In that situation, the public health authorities guide those who need to be contacted, tested and/or self-isolated.

The Government has also tightened restrictions in relation to public gatherings, with indoor gatherings of more than 100 people banned. The Government has also reemphasised its advice to people not to travel overseas, which I also ask you to seriously consider if you are considering overseas travel for personal reasons.

Finally, we have taken steps to provide Zoom access for all Macquarie staff and students. This access allows us all to hold meetings with up to 300 people with no time limitations for meetings. To use Zoom, log in using your MQ OneID. If you are a MUH staff, your MQ OneID is what you use to login to HROnline. More information about how to use Zoom, please visit our Zoom website.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 17 March 2020

Student diagnosed with COVID-19 at Macquarie University

A student has been confirmed with a case of COVID-19 at Macquarie University.

Locations at Macquarie University campus have been intensively cleaned overnight after a student was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The student reported feeling ill, was tested for COVID-19 and is receiving appropriate care.

NSW Health has been involved and has provided advice to the University. That advice is being followed.

Staff and students are asked to be vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath, and phone ahead to their GP. All staff and students have been reminded not to attend campus if they are feeling unwell.

The current advice is that the rest of campus can continue to operate as normal after the completion of intensive cleaning operations and in line with communications issued by the Vice-Chancellor today about moving to increase online delivery of educational programs.

Macquarie University has been closely monitoring the situation and will continue to take advice from the Federal Government and NSW Health.

Updated, 16 March 2020

We have seen in recent days a series of Government announcements to support attempts to slow community transmission of Coronavirus in Australia. Concurrently, community concern is increasing across the nation. My principal concern continues to be the continued safety and wellbeing of staff and students, at the same time as continuing the important work of the University community including enabling our students to progress their studies in a safe environment.

We have now taken a decision to substantially move to an online learning environment to support the provision of continued learning and teaching. In order to facilitate these changes, we will pause all face-to-face and online teaching from midnight tonight with teaching resuming on Monday 30 March. The break previously scheduled for 13 April to 26 April will now be a part of the normal academic teaching period, noting that April 13 remains a Public Holiday (Easter Monday). While this may be difficult for some, moving mid-session break will allow us to finish Session 1 within the advertised calendar dates avoiding further disruption.

The University will use the time to 30 March to transition to the online delivery of lectures and seminars as feasible. It will also allow us to re-design campus-based delivery of our units to modes that support social distancing and remote support.

For students:

While we anticipate most units will be delivered online when teaching resumes, some units may not be able to be taught online and alternative arrangements are being considered for these units and we will alert you to proposed changes to your units in coming days. If your units are impacted, you may have the opportunity to change your enrolment to an existing online unit to minimise the impact on your studies. We have extended the date for enrolling in a new unit until Sunday 29 March. Students who had 19 March as their final date to withdraw from units (the census date) will now have until 3 April to make that decision.

The Macquarie University International College is currently on a break between terms and this announcement does not apply to MUIC. There are also a small number of special situations, for example, programs not on a session system and this announcement does not apply to these situations. Further information in relation to these situations will be provided in due course.

It is important to emphasise that Campus remains open. The University Library, Childcare Centres, Sports and Aquatic Centre, study spaces and a range of food service outlets will remain open.

These are clearly unique times and the University will endeavour to support you to participate in distance learning.

All non-essential University events scheduled to be held between 23 March to 18 April, including those with less than 500 attendees, will be cancelled or postponed. This will be reviewed by the University’s COVID-19 Taskforce on a weekly basis.

I understand that this is a concerning time for you. We are taking these precautionary measures now in order to support the efforts of slowing community transmission of Coronavirus. These steps are taken first and foremost with the continued safety and wellbeing of you in mind and the continuity of your university education.

For staff:

While we anticipate most units will be delivered online when teaching resumes, some units may not be able to be taught online and alternative arrangements are being considered for these units.

In addition, the following arrangements will be implemented for staff from Wednesday 18 March in consultation with your manager.

1. Staff who can effectively perform their role from home are encouraged to do so. It is important to emphasise that the Campus remains open and the University continues to operate. Many staff will continue working on campus given the nature of their roles, such as frontline service provision and essential services on campus. I reiterate the advice from NSW Health is that it is safe to attend campus. These arrangements are intended to reduce the number of people on campus consistent with the Government’s advice on social distancing.

If you can perform your role effectively from home, please speak with your manager about setting up such arrangements. Your manager may need to balance attendance at work across teams such as having some staff working from home and some staff on campus and rotating staff where required. By balancing these arrangements across staff and teams, we can support social distancing measures and ensure we continue our teaching and research activities, and support of students.

Due to the specialised work of our controlled entities, including U@MQ and MQ Health, this information also does not apply to those staff. Separate communications will be issued by the leaders of those entities.

2. Staff should hold as many business meetings as possible by audio/visual link or by remote means.

3. All non-essential University events scheduled to be held between 23 March to 18 April, including those with less than 500 attendees, will be cancelled or postponed. This will again help us with social distancing measures and will be reviewed by the University’s COVID-19 Taskforce on a weekly basis.

4. It is important to emphasise that the Campus remains open. The University Library, Childcare Centres, Sports and Aquatic Centre, study spaces and a range of food service outlets will remain open. These steps are being taken in order to reduce community transmission of Coronavirus and also to ensure continuity of University business.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 16 March 2020

Over the weekend, we have received additional advice from NSW Health in relation to the practice of sensible precautionary social distancing measures. In support of this advice the University is taking some additional steps today that I wanted to share with you.

We have taken the decision to cancel the April Graduation ceremonies. Graduates will be graduated in absentia and all fees for graduation will be refunded. While this is unfortunate, this step is in line with Government guidance relating to large public gatherings. Students who were expecting to graduate will be able to receive testamurs and transcripts in order to allow them to fulfil job application requirements.

We understand that Graduation is a special moment in the lives of students, their families and friends and we will look to arrange an alternative Graduation event at a future date.

We are also announcing an extension to the Census Date from 18 March to 3 April. This is to ensure that no students are unfairly impacted by the evolving situation with which we are faced.

The Government has also announced that anybody returning from overseas travel to Australia now has to self-isolate for 14 days. We have now decided that all delegations of international visitors to the University should be cancelled or postponed. This decision is in line with advice from the Government.

My advice for anybody planning international travel in a personal capacity is that you should seriously reconsider the need for any non-essential trips. If staff are travelling for essential personal travel, they should incorporate the mandatory isolation period upon return to Australia into their annual leave planning or ensure they are able to work from home during the isolation period. If you plan to work from home in this scenario, you should consult with your manager.

Finally, you may have read today that some Universities have taken additional steps to assist with social distancing arrangements, such as implementing working from home for staff who can do so effectively and transitioning to an online learning and teaching environment. We are currently considering what steps the University may take in support of advice from NSW Health and I will be providing you with an update tomorrow which will contain important information.

Until then, please continue to check our Coronavirus website for the latest information and updates.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 13 March 2020

The Federal Government has just announced a new precautionary step in response to new evidence presented by the Chief Medical Officer of growing community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia.

From Monday, non-essential mass gatherings and public events of more than 500 people are to be cancelled. This step is a precautionary measure to help slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19 throughout Australia.

Importantly, for our community, this means that staff and students should continue to attend campus which will remain open.

The Prime Minister specifically referenced that University lectures and travel on public transport should continue and that people should go about their business as usual. Additional precautionary measures may eventuate as the situation develops as Australia is now entering the early phase of community transmission. The position taken by the Government today regarding non-essential mass gatherings is designed to slow the rate of transmission of the virus in the community.

The Government, which has formed a national cabinet to manage Australia’s response, will continue to review its advice and we remain in an excellent position to respond as the situation evolves.

Finally, the Government also advised people to reconsider their plans for any non-essential international travel. The University’s position on international travel remains in place and can be viewed on our COVID-19 website.

While the situation is clearly evolving and growing community transmission is likely in the future, I am personally highly supportive of the steps that have been taken to date and remain confident in the advice and guidance that we are receiving from Government and NSW Health.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University.

Updated, 13 March 2020

We have received additional clarifying information overnight from NSW Health that I wanted to share with you.

Following comments made at yesterday’s NSW Chief Medical Officer press conference, NSW Health has issued updated advice to the public. This advice states:

If you have travelled overseas to another country in the past 14 days you should self-monitor for symptoms, practise social distancing as much as possible and immediately isolate yourself if you become unwell.

Please note that this supersedes the advice that was provided yesterday which stated that if you have returned from any country, you should self-isolate for 14 days.  

Social distancing means separating yourself from other people as much as possible when you’re in public places and avoiding crowded places. Additional information on social distancing measures can be found here.

It is also sensible to consider social distancing practices more broadly as we go about our daily lives as a proportionate step you can take in minimising the risk of  transmission of illness.

We will continue to update the University community as the situation evolves, including updating our web page with relevant information as needed through the weekend.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 12 March 2020

Virtual Town Halls with the Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton, held virtual Town Halls for staff and students on Monday 9 March to give an update on the University’s COVID-19 contingency planning.

The Vice-Chancellor, along with Nicole Gower, Vice-President, People and Services and Professor Kevin Jameson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), outlined Macquarie’s position in relation to COVID-19 and answered questions on the University’s response.

COVID-19 update – Staff virtual town hall with the Vice-Chancellor

STAFF FAQS

COVID-19 update – Student virtual town hall with the Vice-Chancellor

STUDENT FAQS

Updated, 10 March 2020

Update from the Vice Chancellor

Following the international escalation of cases of COVID-19 that have occurred this week, we have decided to extend the ban on all staff and student outbound international travel from 4 April to 18April 2020. If you have international travel planned or booked prior to 18 April 2020 please cancel or postpone your travel arrangements. Domestic travel can proceed as normal at this stage.

The University continues to monitor the situation and we will continue to review our guidance in relation to travel on a regular basis.

The Federal Government has also issued guidance today in relation to testing for COVID-19. The Chief Medical Officer advises that people should only be tested for COVID-19 if they are:

  • Returned travellers with acute respiratory symptoms; and
  • People who have had contact with confirmed cases

The Chief Medical Officer also advises that people outside of these two groups with acute respiratory symptoms consistent with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or other symptoms of respiratory infection do not require testing.

Our advice remains that if you are feeling unwell with these symptoms that you do not attend campus and seek guidance from your health professional.

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 9 March 2020

A message from the Vice Chancellor:

Following today’s virtual town hall events for both our staff and students, I wanted to provide you with an update about activity today and over the weekend in relation to COVID-19.

Firstly, the Australian Government has advised that individuals who are unwell with a cough or fever, or other respiratory symptoms should not attend public events or gatherings. This is particularly so for people who have recently travelled from overseas. A list of high risk countries for COVID-19 can be found here.

The Government has advised that while it is difficult to predict how the outbreak will evolve in Australia, and the situation may change rapidly, when significant community transmission is occurring social distancing measures such as cancellation of public gatherings will be considered.

Australia does not have evidence of significant transmission currently, therefore cancellation of Macquarie University public gatherings at this time would not be proportionate nor particularly effective.

We have also been finalising our COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan and including provision for how we respond should the University be required to close for a period, or a range of other scenarios.

Specifically, I would like to address our casual workforce, who play such a vital role in the operation of campus life. I recognise the loyalty and commitment of our casual workforce and that many of you rely on your shifts to meet day to day expenses.

In the eventuality that the University is required to close for a period, some of our casual staff will be able to continue to work from home. For those casual staff who cannot work from home, or where we cannot rearrange shifts, the University has decided that it will continue to pay casual staff for their rostered shifts for a period of up to two weeks. If the University is required to close for longer than two weeks, we will review the situation accordingly.

Similarly, if a casual staff member is required to self-isolate as determined by their doctor, we will honour their casual shifts for up to two weeks with medical certification. For general illness and absence, normal casual working arrangements will apply.

At this time the University remains open and work is progressing as usual, albeit with heightened awareness for the need for precautionary hygiene measures. In addition, if you are ill it is requested that you do not attend the campus and allow time for recovery at home, under the guidance of your health professional.

As we complete our contingency planning processes, we will continue to provide updates to you as the situation evolves. Thank you once again for your continued calm and measured response and please rest assured that the University continues to be well prepared in this evolving situation.

Please also continue to stay in touch with developments on the University’s Coronavirus webpage.

Sincerely

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 6 March 2020

A message from the Vice Chancellor:

I wanted to provide you with an update on developments overnight in relation to COVID-19.

I am very pleased to say that all the children and staff at Banksia Cottage who attended a visit to the Dorothy Henderson BaptistCare Aged Care facility have tested negative for COVID-19.

You may also be aware that Epping Boys High School has closed after a student tested positive for COVID-19. NSW Health have advised that boys at the school should complete a period of self-isolation. We are acting today to have signage posted at our Library and Sports and Aquatics Centre reminding people of good personal hygiene practices.

We have also taken steps as a precautionary measure to increase our campus cleaning activities which will focus on high traffic areas such as Macquarie Theatre, Lotus Theatre and The Forum, as well as other teaching spaces and other areas of high traffic. This includes 14 Easter Road, Graduation Marquee, 12 Wally’s Walk atrium, 9 Wally’s Walk and 10 Macquarie Walk, as well as food and café outlets.

Additional work by cleaning staff also include regular toilet cleaning and replenishment of consumables. Maintaining shared public spaces, including regular cleaning of tables and emptying of bins as well as cleaning of tables and other touch points in classrooms and theatres when not in use, will also continue.

I also wanted to remind everybody of the need to take sensible precautionary measures, including not attending campus if you are feeling unwell with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or other symptoms of respiratory infection. These symptoms are, of course, common to many respiratory viruses and the common cold, not just COVID-19.

We continue to finalise our University Contingency Plan and I looking forward to our Virtual Town Hall event on Monday for both staff and students, which I encourage you to attend.

Thank you again for your continued calm and measured behaviour and please rest assured that the University continues to be well prepared in this evolving situation.

Sincerely

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 5 March 2020

A message from the Vice Chancellor:

I wanted to provide you with an update on our communications activity today in relation to COVID-19. It has been a busy 48 hours for the University, and we have been striving to issue communications in a timely and accurate manner on multiple issues.

Today’s focus has been on the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 at the BaptistCare aged care facility, which is in proximity to the University, and the visit of children from Banksia Cottage (one of Macquarie University’s childcare centres) to that aged care facility on 24 February 2020.

On the advice of NSW Health, children from Banksia Cottage who visited the aged care facility are currently undergoing tests for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure. NSW Health has advised that Banksia Cottage can remain open and operational and no further individuals require testing.

I am sure you may have concerns in relation to an outbreak of COVID-19 close to our campus. Some colleagues and students have asked me whether we should look at closing campus. I wanted to reassure you that NSW Health has advised that we should continue normal operations and be vigilant in accordance with prior advice on our website.

Furthermore, the University continues to finalise our contingency plans in anticipation of various scenarios that may develop should the situation in relation to COVID-19 continue to evolve. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure that we continue to support both students and staff and we remain in close contact with both Government and NSW Health officials.

Sincerely,

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University

Updated, 5 March 2020

The Australian Government has announced the introduction of new travel restrictions and an update of travel advice to South Korea (Republic of Korea) in relation to COVID-19.

As of 5 March 2020:

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will raise the level of the travel advisory for South Korea (Republic of Korea) from level 2 to level 3 – ‘reconsider your need to travel’ and for Daegu Province ‘do not travel’.
  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in South Korea (Republic of Korea) on or after 5 March 2020, will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through South Korea (Republic of Korea);
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only).  They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left South Korea (Republic of Korea).

Existing travel bans and advice for mainline China and Iran remains in place.

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on all students impacted by these restrictions.

For students:

The University has decided to cease all international travel for University business effective immediately. The health and safety of our students and staff is critical in the rapidly evolving situation related to COVID-19.

At this stage, this applies to all international travel booked prior to 4 April. Domestic travel is not currently impacted. We will continue to review this guidance on a weekly basis.

We understand that this will affect students in research programs, PACE, exchange and other international placements.

What should students do?

If students have University related travel planned please contact the relevant team, Higher Degree Research Office, Macquarie International, PACE or GLP to discuss alternative arrangements.

If you already had travel arrangements booked, please contact the team to discuss the financial and insurance implications of the University’s travel restrictions.

Higher Degree Research email HDRcurrent@mq.edu.au or phone +61 2 9850 4741

Macquarie International (for exchange) email mi.exchange@mq.edu.au or phone +61 2 9850 6935 or + 61 2 9850 7334

PACE International paceinternational@mq.edu.au or phone + 61 2 9850 4473

Global Leadership Program email glp@mq.edu.au or phone + 61 2 9850 6761

Other student concerns

We will continue to updated students and staff via email, our Coronavirus webpage and other communication channels.

The website includes comprehensive information about travel, health and study options as well as relevant support services.

Most recent advice confirms the following:

  • It is safe to come to Macquarie University. The University is operating as normal and we will make any future decisions based on advice from the Australian Government and NSW Health.
  • Students registered with Accessibility should contact the team via wellbeing@mq.edu.au for assistance.
  • At this stage, key activities in the student lifecycle – such as graduation and examinations – will continue. If the situation changes, impacted students will be advised via email and the University’s dedicated website.

We are hopeful that these difficult times will soon pass. In the meantime, we will continue our strong focus on doing everything we can to support our entire Macquarie community.

For staff:

The Executive Group has taken a decision for the Macquarie University community, including staff and students, to cease all international travel on University business, effective immediately. The health and safety of our students and staff is paramount and cannot be assured if regular travel continues in this rapidly evolving situation.

If you have international travel planned or booked prior to 4 April 2020 please cancel or postpone your travel arrangements. Domestic travel can proceed as normal at this stage. The Executive Group will review this decision on a regular basis with updates posted to our Coronavirus web page.

The University is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and its implications for overseas travel. Many countries are now reporting cases. Entry restrictions to other countries are changing often and quickly.

Any staff member who believes they have essential travel, either already booked or in planning, should take up the matter with their respective Executive Group member. Ultimately, any decision on travel will be determined by the Vice Chancellor and will be final; it will only be permitted in the most exceptional circumstances.

Direct contact as required will be made with those students or staff who are already overseas on University business to discuss their individual situation.

We are hopeful that these difficult times will soon pass. In the meantime, we will continue our strong focus on doing everything we can to support our entire Macquarie community.

Updated, 4 March 2020

Macquarie University staff member tests positive for COVID-19

A lecturer in the Science and Engineering faculty at Macquarie University has been tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently recovering in an isolation ward at Westmead Hospital.

Our staff member became ill following their return from Iran and took immediate steps to seek medical attention. Our staff member has not been present at Macquarie University’s campus since returning from Iran and has had no contact with either staff or students.

There is no evidence to suggest that the aged care worker from Baptist Aged Care who has contracted COVID-19 has done so as a result of contact with a member of the Macquarie University community.

The whole Macquarie University community sends our best wishes to our staff member for their speedy recovery and we look forward to welcoming them back following their recovery.

Updated, 2 March 2020

The Australian Government has announced the introduction of new travel restrictions and an update of travel advice to Iran in relation to COVID-19. The travel restrictions are consistent with those in place for mainland China.

As of 1 March 2020:

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will raise the level of the travel advisory for Iran from level 3 to level 4 – do not travel;
  • Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in Iran on or after 1 March 2020, will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days, from the time they have left or transited through Iran;
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only).  They will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the day they left Iran

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on all students impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 2 March 2020

Some Australian universities have announced a range of financial compensation for students that have travelled to countries not impacted by the Government’s travel restrictions in relation to COVD-19 and completed 14 days of isolation prior to arriving in Australia.

In order to ensure equitable treatment for all our international students we are not currently providing financial compensation for any international students for travel and accommodation costs incurred in their transit to Australia. We will continue to review this guidance as the situation continues to develop.

The University has already taken a range of steps to support the financial impact of COVID-19 on Chinese students and their families. This includes:

  • Payment of the Student Services and Amenities Fee for Session 1, 2020 will be waived for 1,884 impacted students.
  • If impacted students are not able to successfully complete online units in Session 1, 2020 the University will ensure that they are not disadvantaged either academically or financially.  If impacted students fail semester 1 assessment, they will be allowed to attempt the unit again at no additional charge.
  • Access to ELC Language support for deferred commencing students.
  • An option to defer to Semester 2 without penalty.
  • Specialist support via Student Wellbeing and Accommodation Service.

The University is doing everything it can to support Chinese students during this difficult time. We have a range of options available which include:

  • Late enrolment options
  • Online and flexible delivery of over 150 units prior to returning to campus
  • Additional course offerings which will be made available in semester 3, 2020
  • Reduced study load or deferrals for commencing students to begin their studies in a later session
  • A break from study for continuing students

We understand that this is a difficult time for Chinese Students and their families, and we look forward to welcoming new and returning students back to campus, hopefully, in the near future.

Updated, 28 February 2020

The Australian Government has announced that travel restrictions implemented in light of the outbreak of COVID-19 have been extended to 7 March, 2020. The restrictions will again be reviewed around this date. The travel restrictions in place are as follows:

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on those impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 24 February 2020

We’ve recorded a video message from Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton to all students currently impacted by travel restrictions due to Novel coronavirus.

The Vice-Chancellor took some time out to record a personal message of support and express his sincere best wishes for our Chinese students who have been impacted by Coronavirus.

Please take the time to view the video and please rest assured that our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.

Updated, 21 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Professor Kevin Jameson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Nick Crowley, HR Director discussing the importance of our culture of inclusion and respect.

At Macquarie University we are defined by a strong sense of community and ethical values. At the start of our academic year, Professor Jameson and Nick took some time out to record a message to all students and staff. They particularly commented on the significant impact of the coronavirus on Macquarie community members – those who are worried about family and friends as well as students unable to start their studies on time.

Please take the time to view the video and commit to the University’s focus on inclusion, safety and respect.

Updated, 21 February 2020

The Australian Government has announced that travel restrictions implemented in light of the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been extended to 29 February, 2020. The restrictions will again be reviewed on this date. The travel restrictions in place are as follows:

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families.

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on those impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 20 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Nermeen Abraham, Director of Student Administration at Macquarie University who oversees out Student Administration Services

Nermeen Abraham took some time out to record a message to students impacted by travel restrictions resulting from the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus about options for deferring study at Macquarie University.

Please take the time to view the video and have your questions answered about deferral options in light of the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Updated, 19 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Professor Sean Brawley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Programs and Pathways discussing online learning options for students impacted by Novel Coronavirus.

Professor Brawley took some time out to record a message to all students impacted by travel restrictions related to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus. Professor Brawley talks about the work that Macquarie University is doing in support of making online learning courses available for students impacted by Coronavirus. It is important to remember that Macquarie University will only offer units in a flexible online mode if we are satisfied they meet standards related to quality, accreditation and visa requirements.

Please take the time to view the video and learn more about the University’s focus on online learning provision for those impacted by Coronavirus.

Updated, 14 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Kylie Ebert, Director of Student Life, who coordinates O-Week activities on behalf of the University.

Kylie took some time out this week to explain the University’s position on O-Week in light of the outbreak of Novel coronavirus and the travel restrictions that are in place and impacting students based in China.

Please take the time to view the video and have your questions answered about the impact of Coronavirus on O-Week.

Updated, 14 February 2020

The Australian Government has announced that travel restrictions implemented in light of the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been extended to 22 February, 2020. The restrictions will again be reviewed on this date. The travel restrictions in place are as follows:

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on those impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 7 February 2020

Advice to students impacted by Novel Coronavirus

We understand that this is a very difficult time as you deal with the impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Most importantly, we hope you are taking all the necessary steps to look after your health and that of your family and friends.

In terms of your future study plans, the current travel restrictions from China to Australia create a great deal of uncertainty. I assure you that Macquarie University is committed to doing all we can to support you in facing these challenges.  All members of the University community look forward to welcoming you to campus as soon as possible but we know that it is unlikely that you will arrive in Australia in time to commence Session 1.

At Macquarie, we are working very hard to confirm the range of available options. Your personal circumstances are important to us and we want to ensure that you have all information you need to make the decision that is right for you.

Session 1 study options

The University has considered options such as late enrolment, online and flexible delivery prior to your return to campus (for some units), reduced study load, deferral for commencing students to start in a later session or a break from study for continuing students.

For impacted students, it has been decided to:

  • Extend the last date to enrol in and commence a unit by one week until 15 March
  • Extend the last date to arrive on campus by three weeks until 30 March – if online studies have been undertaken
  • Extend the census date until 3 April

At this stage we ask you to do two things to help focus our response:

  1. Enrol in units via eStudent
  2. Complete this survey to tell us more about your circumstances:

With your completed survey, we will be able to advise you on the best plan for your future study at Macquarie University.

Once again, we remind you to keep up to date via our dedicated communication lines:

Email: studentcare@mq.edu.au

Phone: + 61 2 9850 7000

Updated Thursday, 6 February 2020

Message from the Vice Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton,

You are no doubt aware of the rapid changes in relation to the novel coronavirus outbreak. I write to advise you that the University continues to closely monitor the situation. We are working tirelessly to make sure that our campus is safe, that students affected by the travel restrictions are cared for, and the impact on our University community is minimised.

I appreciate that this is a challenging time for all our students, but especially for our students either from China or with family and friends in China. My thoughts are with you all in this challenging time. I also want to recognise the effort of colleagues who are assisting students to meet academic, logistical and support services and thank you for your ongoing efforts.

I have kept in close personal contact with Federal and State Government authorities as advice evolves while also making sure that authorities are aware of the impact that Government travel restrictions are having on our community. I am leading a University Taskforce, which draws on the resources and expertise of the whole University, which is developing and implementing strategies to assist students and ensuring that we communicate with you all in a timely and accurate manner.

I urge you to stay informed with the latest Federal Government advice for coronavirus for returning students and follow the guidance via our University’s coronavirus webpage, to keep up to date with the latest Macquarie University guidance as well as a range of helpful links to Government resources.

I acknowledge the great challenges and difficulties that our students, their families, and alumni from Wuhan City, across Hubei Province and throughout China are facing at the moment and the tremendous efforts made by China and the Chinese people to tackle this public health threat.

I am hopeful that the difficult times will pass and in the meantime we will continue our strong focus on doing everything we can to support our entire community.

Updated Tuesday 4 February 2020

Over the weekend the Government has updated its guidance in relation to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus.

As such, Macquarie University is updating its advice to staff, students and visitors.

The Australian Government has accepted advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), which advises the Government on Public Health policy matters. This guidance is subject to review on 14 February.

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families

Several international airlines, including Qantas, have also suspended travel to and from China from 9 February to 23 March.

We understand that this may be a cause of stress and concern for our Community. We want to reassure staff and students that we are doing everything possible to respond to the situation.  We are looking forward to welcoming all impacted students and staff to Macquarie when they are able to travel.

In order to further support students, either commencing or continuing their education at Macquarie University, a number of support measures have now been put in place and are detailed below.

Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Higher Degree Research Students

Students impacted by the travel restrictions can choose to defer until semester 2 without penalty or undertake online studies until travel restrictions are lifted. Additional course offerings will be made available in semester 3 2020 to support students who want to make up lost time if they choose to defer their studies. Students are encouraged to contact Student Connect on the email or phone numbers below to discuss their circumstances.

Contact email: studentcare@mq.edu.au Phone: 1800 774 964 or 02 9850 7000

English Language Centre (ELC) Students

Students unable to arrive for the start of the ELC intake on 17 February can defer to the start of the next intake which commences on 23 March.  If students are unable to commence their degree following their language study, they should make contact with Macquarie International admissions to update their offer.

Contact email: gc.admissions@mq.edu.au

MUIC Students

MUIC students impacted by the travel restrictions and unable to start this week are advised to defer to the next intake which commences 30 March. As MUIC has several intakes through the year we anticipate the disruption will be minimal. Students are encouraged to contact MUIC advisors on the email or phone number below to discuss their circumstances.

Contact email: MUIC.advisors@mq.edu.au Phone: 02 9850 5055

Updated Thursday 30 January 2020

The Federal Government has provided an update of advice for those impacted by Coronavirus and Macquarie University is now providing an update to previously issued guidance.

  • People who have been in contact with any confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure.
  • Returned travellers who have been in Hubei Province of China must be isolated in their home for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province, other than for seeking individual medical care.

Given the lower number of cases in China reported outside of Hubei province, self-isolation for travellers from other parts of China or other countries is not recommended. The Federal Government is monitoring the development of cases outside of Hubei province and will update this advice if necessary.

Any students who have returned from Hubei Province in China on or after 15 January, or are impacted as a result of travel restrictions, are requested to immediately contact the University about their study arrangements.

Do Facemasks help to control the spread of Coronavirus?

NSW Health advises that face masks are not recommended for the general population.

A standard surgical mask, like the ones used by surgeons during operations, are designed to block liquid droplets and may lower the chance of catching the virus from another person. However, these masks don’t offer full protection against airborne viruses*.

People who have symptoms and might be infected with novel coronavirus should wear a surgical mask to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to anyone else whilst seeking medical advice.

The best way to protect yourself is to clean your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub. You should cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Advice can be found on the NSW Health website.

*Source – New Scientist

Updated Wednesday 29 January 2020

As you may be aware there has been an outbreak of a new human coronavirus originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

A small number of cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in NSW. To date there are no confirmed cases at Macquarie University. The University continues to closely monitor the situation and advice from the Federal Government and NSW Health.

Guidance from NSW Health

NSW Health has issued a range of guidance and factsheets:

Travel advice

The Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website advises people not to travel to Hubei Province.

Staff should defer all non-essential travel to China for the foreseeable future. Urgent travel requests should be referred to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor on vc@mq.edu.au, for approval prior to travel being undertaken.

Consult the Smart Traveller website for up-to-date travel advice and for further information staff can contact: traveladvice@mq.edu.au

General advice

Anyone who has recently travelled to Australia from Wuhan (Hubei Province, China), or who has been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and is well, can continue to come into the University provided that they follow the advice below.

If they develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of exposure, they should:

  • Immediately isolate themselves from other people
  • Wear a mask (if available)
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible, preferably at the local Emergency Department – Ideally, they should phone ahead to speak to the doctor in the emergency department so that appropriate arrangements can be made to protect others. Royal North Shore Hospital can be contacted on 02 9926 7111

Please also continue to be mindful of good hygiene practices which include regularly washing hands and applying hand sanitiser. Further guidance can be found on the NSW Health website.