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Coronavirus (Covid-19) infection: University of Sydney advice

Last updated Friday 14 February, 5pm
The University is closely monitoring the situation, and will continue to follow the Australian Government's advice. We're committed to doing all we can to help our affected students and community members.

Latest updates

Friday 14 February

  • The Vice-Chancellor wrote to students about the Australian government's one-week extension of the travel restrictions for non-Australian citizens and residents entering Australia from mainland China.
  • Some course-specific information is now available. Unit of study information for other faculties will be made available in the coming days.

Units by faculty

Course-specific information

We have made study arrangements in courses where possible for students who are affected by the travel restrictions and unable to come to campus. All other students will be expected to attend classes on campus from week 1, 24 February (only students enrolled in some postgraduate business courses have a delayed start of week 3, 9 March.)

There are a number of study arrangements available that give students the opportunity to commence their studies with us this semester:

Several units will run the full semester (13 weeks) with online supported learning.

Lectures, tutorials and assessments (exams, essays etc) will take place online for the majority of these units. You will still be able to join an on-campus class if you are able to arrive in Sydney during semester. You may need to complete some course components in-person on campus to complete the unit. This information will be detailed on the Canvas page for each unit.

In several units, the first five weeks will be delivered online. You will then need to attend classes on campus to complete the remainder of the unit. If there is an ‘in person component of study’ you will be able complete it once you are able to attend on campus, and prior to the commencement of Semester 2. These units may require you to sit exams in person, attend laboratory sessions and/or undertake practical assessments at our campus in Sydney.

We will be updating the list of available units regularly. Units of study that are not listed by 19 February 2020 are unfortunately not able to offer online supported learning to affected students for Semester 1. If you are enrolled in units that are not listed by 19 February, you will need to change your unit selection in Sydney Student or choose to defer.

You can choose to:

  • remain in China for all of Semester 1 and choose up to four units that offer full semester online supported learning
  • commence studying up to four units in China with part-semester online supported learning and join classes on campus once travel restrictions are lifted. You will need to attend class by week 6, Monday 30 March to successfully complete the unit and have it counted towards your degree.
  • you can choose to withdraw from a unit, or defer your studies by 31 March 2020 and enrol again in a later semester.
  • Review the selection of units available and determine if they fit with your study plans.
  • Enrol in your chosen units in Sydney Student before Friday 6 March.

If you are enrolled in units that are not available with online supported learning, you will need to change your selection in Sydney Student. You will be able to withdraw or defer up to 31 March.

A message from the Vice-Chancellor

Other important information

The Australian Government has extended the temporary travel restrictions from all of mainland China to Australia to 21 February

This means that you will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time that you have left or transited through mainland China.

This travel suspension applies to everyone except Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only) until further notice. 

The University is committed to doing all we can to help you continue your studies, and will be providing you with updates as they become available. 

For viewers in China, please use the links below:

We have now extended the latest date you should be on campus to join your class to Monday 30 March. If you haven’t done so already, please complete your enrolment and plan your units of study.

We are working to confirm online or remote teaching arrangements where possible. We have made special study arrangements for a small number of postgraduate courses.

  Date
Welcome Week (for students who can attend) 17-21 February
Semester 1 commences (for most courses) Monday 24 February
Deadline to add a unit of study Friday 6 March
Semester commences for impacted business programs Monday 9 March
Last date to arrive in Australia* Monday 16 March
Last date to be on campus to attend classes Monday 30 March
Last date to withdraw from a unit of study or course Tuesday 31 March

*so that you can commence your 14 day self-isolation period and then attend classes by 30 March.

  • All students, staff, affiliates and visitors who have arrived from or visited mainland China within the last 14 days must self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the day they departed mainland China.
  • Anyone returning from China should consult the Department of Health website for:
  • Monitor your health closely and immediately isolate yourself and seek medical attention if you start to feel unwell.
If you feel unwell

If you experience symptoms (including a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath) within 14 days of arriving you must:

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

Please note there is no cost for testing.

Prevent the spread of infection

Always follow these basic hygiene rules:

  • use soap or alcohol-based hand wash frequently; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • avoid areas where there are people sneezing; if you need to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth or nose with a flexed elbow and dispose of tissues immediately.
  • avoid contact with anyone who is unwell
  • do not attend study or work if you feel unwell; instead talk with your lecturer or manager and make alternative arrangements.

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

For students impacted by the travel restrictions, there will be no fee to suspend, defer or withdraw from your studies by 31 March. 

You can apply to suspend or defer your studies in Semester 1, 2020 and begin at a later date, such as Semester 2, 2020 or Semester 1, 2021 (depending on your course).

Login to Sydney Student and follow the instructions to submit your request.

If you hold a scholarship and suspend your studies, your scholarship payments will be on hold until you start or recommence when you re-enrol. 

We have established a dedicated hotline to provide you with advice and support during this uncertain time. Note this hotline is available from 9am to 6pm all week (local time AEDT).

Phone: 

  • 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864) if you are calling from within Australia
    • Select '9' for the coronavirus hotline 
  • +61 2 8627 0010 if you are calling from overseas 
    • Select '9' for the coronavirus hotline

Commencing/new students can also email international.admissions@sydney.edu.au.

Once you're on campus, if you are feeling anxious or distressed you can talk with one of our counsellors from Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Book an appointment by calling 02 8627 8433 or 02 8627 8437.

Australian government support

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

You can also access mental health support:

Answers to common questions including travel, health, special study arrangements, visas, study dates and more. 

General University community

NSW Health has advised the risk of contracting the virus in Australia remains low. It is important to ensure that we all take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Semester 1 will commence as planned for most courses. See semester dates

If you have not been affected by the travel restrictions, you must attend class as normal.

While the risk in Australia remains low, we are protecting the health of staff and students by taking extra precautions such as provision of hand sanitisers, additional cleaning protocols and information posters which you will begin to see around campus.

Always follow these basic hygiene rules:

  • use soap or alcohol-based hand wash frequently; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • avoid areas where there are people sneezing; if you need to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth or nose with a flexed elbow and dispose of tissues immediately.
  • avoid contact with anyone who is unwell
  • do not attend study or work if you feel unwell; instead talk with your lecturer or manager and make alternative arrangements.

If you experience symptoms but have not recently travelled to China, or had contact with anyone who has, it is unlikely that you have contracted novel coronavirus. Don’t attend study or work, practice good hygiene and seek assistance from your GP or the University Health Service (call 02 9351 3484).

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) current advice to all Australians is to not travel to mainland China.

The University has decided there will be no student or non-essential staff travel to China until further notice. As a further precautionary measure, there will also be no University travel to Hong Kong until further notice. This includes exchange programs, field schools, placements or other programs. Students in these programs will be contacted by the University.

Students who are feeling anxious or distressed can talk with one of our counsellors from Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Book an appointment by calling 02 8627 8433 or 02 8627 8437.

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

Peer mentoring program to support affected students

To help support affected students a new peer mentoring program is being launched in Welcome Week. These peer mentors will support affected students by providing information about options for enrolment, referral best support services to answer complex queries, and ongoing mentoring throughout the semester, that links onshore international and domestic mentors with offshore students affected by the travel restriction.

This is a joint initiative of the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Life, the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA), and the Student Experience Program.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for students located in Sydney to support their fellow students as peer mentors.

Peer mentors will be paid at the rate of $37.07 per hour (HEO 1 Step 1, casual loaded rate).

If you are interested in applying to be a peer mentor, please complete this survey by Tuesday, 18 February.

Originally published 24 January, last updated 14 February.