Students in COVID-19 affected areas in Australia

Latest student forum

On Tuesday 27 July, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Grady Venville hosted a forum alongside our online learning, quarantine operations and residential experience teams to answer student questions on starting semester 2 from a COVID-affected area and returning to campus. Watch the recording.

Latest update

Update on starting semester 2 for students in a COVID-affected area sent to affected students on Friday 23 July 2021 at 8.45am.
Update on lifted COVID-19 restrictions in VIC, SA and regional NSW sent to affected students on Tuesday 27 July 2021 at 7.15pm.
 

Q&A

Last updated: Monday 16 August at 10.30am

Advice for residential students

Advice for residential students affected by the Greater Sydney lockdown

How long will I need to wait to return to ANU?

You will need to continue your semester 2 studies online until you get an exemption to travel to the ACT or restrictions ease where you are.

We have been working closely with the ACT Government on a way to return a small group of students who meet the ACT Government's exemption requirements to quarantine on campus. We now have to pause our preparations at least until the ACT lockdown is lifted.   

If an on-campus quarantine trial goes ahead and is successful, we would work with the ACT Government to continue quarantining our students on campus and help more of you to return safely to the ACT. However, the reality for most of you who do not meet the limited exemption criteria is that you will need to stay where you are and continue online learning for the foreseeable future. 

We understand that waiting to return is frustrating. We are doing everything we can to find a pathway for your return that meets government requirements and keeps you, and everyone around you, safe.  

We will continue to update you as soon as new information becomes available.  

Online learning and support

How can I engage with my courses remotely?

We have online course options available for you, and our teachers have listened to feedback and ideas and worked very hard to make online content engaging and interactive.

If you want to know more about your online learning options, please contact your Academic College.

We also have a range of online events, academic workshops and activities to help you learn online and stay connected.

How do I take care of my mental health during quarantine?

ANU will provide a comprehensive approach to support your mental health and wellbeing needs while you are in quarantine. This includes a daily check in from your residence, providing lots of opportunities to keep occupied and stay connected with others on campus, and access to peer support.

Daily Check-up  

Your residence will maintain regular one-on-one contact with you, including via a daily welfare check. This will be done by either staff or Senior Residents. 

Please use this opportunity to ask any questions you might have and seek support. We understand it may be difficult to remain isolated for a significant period of time, and your mental health and wellbeing is very important to us.   

It would be good to tell the volunteer if there is anything you need that you have not been able to access online. Our goal is to reduce the difficulties of being in quarantine, so please let someone know if you need something and we will do our best to assist you.   

I need some further support. How can I get this?

We have a range of support services for our students, and these can be accessed remotely at no cost, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are also a range of financial support options available to you.

Contracts and rent

I'm a residential student with a room on campus. What are my obligations regarding my occupancy agreement and rent?

You were advised before you signed your Occupancy Agreement that if you were unable to use the room because of a public health direction, you would continue to be liable for the cost of that room. 

If you are experiencing any financial difficulties in making payments, contact your residence to discuss what options are available. If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for an emergency accommodation bursary.

I'm a residential student and live in a catered residence.  Can I get some relief from paying for my meals? 

Our catering contracts require us to pay for the full population of students regardless of the occupancy level.  This arrangement allows us to keep your catering prices lower than would be possible if we allowed for flexibility with catering.

The consequence is that students are required to continue to pay the catering costs as part of their tariff as agreed to in their Occupancy Agreement. 

If you are experiencing any financial difficulties in making payments, contact your residence to discuss what options are available. If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for an emergency accommodation bursary.

I'm a residential student who has just accepted a Semester 2 2021 contract. I'm currently unable to my on-campus accommodation due to border restrictions and stay at home orders. What should I do?

Until you are approved to return to the ACT, please stay where you are and continue to follow the health advice of that jurisdiction.

Please contact your residence and they will advise you about updating the contract start date.

I had accepted an inter-residence transfer (current residents moving to a new residence in semester 2) and my belongings are in my current room. What should I do?

Until you are approved to return to the ACT, please stay where you are and continue to follow the health advice of that jurisdiction. 

Email your name, mobile number and name of your residence to uni.accom@anu.edu.au. We will contact you to discuss your options. We may look at extending your current contract until you can return to pack up your room and then start your new contract at a later date.

Exemptions

Can I get an exemption to travel to the ACT? If so, how?

A small number of our on-campus residential students may be eligible for an exemption from ACT Health to travel to the ACT. To be eligible, students need to demonstrate an urgent or priority need to travel to the ACT and have a safe, approved place to quarantine.

When you submit an exemption request, include as much detail and supporting documentation to help ACT Health assess your case. You may receive a call from an ACT Health officer who will ask you for further details to assess your situation.

Until you are approved to return to the ACT, please stay where you are and continue to follow the health advice of that jurisdiction.

We are working with ACT Health to seek approval to bring all students back in a large group. Pathways back to the ACT for our on-campus residential students currently in Greater Sydney were discussed during the online forum on Tuesday 27 July 2021. To clarify, there are two pathways back to campus that health authorities have approved:

  1. If you are not safe to stay where you are and have an urgent need to return to the ACT, please email accomreturntocampus@anu.edu.au with your uni ID number and "Quarantine" in the subject line immediately. An urgent need may include being homeless or unsafe in your current housing. We'll do all we can to support you and explain your exceptional circumstances to ACT Health. You will also need to apply for an exemption directly from ACT Health to travel to the ACT.
  2. If you have a "priority need" to return (see definition below), and have documentation to verify this need, you should arrange your own accommodation off campus that is suitable for safe quarantine and apply for an exemption directly from ACT Health to travel to the ACT. If you are approved by ACT Health to travel to the ACT, you will need to advise accomreturntocampus@anu.edu.au.
What is a "priority need" to travel to the ACT?

A priority need to travel to the ACT may include, but is not limited to: 

  • Needing to commence or maintain work, especially if you are at risk of losing employment if you do not return imminently
  • A documented impact on your mental health if you do not return imminently;
  • An unsafe living situation, which may include being accommodated at somewhere currently unsafe or impractical, being severely financially impacted by your current living situation, or facing loss of current accommodation; or
  • needing to attend an in-person placement or face-to-face studies to meet course requirements. This will only apply if course requirements cannot be met online.

You will need to provide documentation as evidence for your exceptional need to travel to the ACT. This may include a letter from your employer, medical reports, lease arrangement, photos of your living arrangement, police reports.

What is a "safe, approved place to quarantine" in the ACT?

ACT Health has strict requirements for spaces which are suitable for quarantine. ACT Health has determined that on-campus accommodation is currently not suitable for quarantine due to the transmissibility of the Delta COVID-19 strain, but we are working with ACT Health on quarantine protocols and will update you when we can.

You must be able to be safely accommodated in the ACT during your quarantine period.

Either: 

  • At an approved hotel in the ACT, for which you provide evidence of a booking confirmation; or
  • At a residence of a friend or family member who provides written confirmation that you can quarantine there. If there are other members residing in the household, you will need access to a separate bedroom and bathroom, otherwise the whole household will need to quarantine.
How do I book a hotel to quarantine in?

When you apply for an exemption with ACT Health, they will provide you with a list of Quarantine-approved hotels. You will need to book for 15 days and pre-pay for your stay. When you make your booking with the hotel, remember to inform them of any requirements. You will not be able to leave the hotel for the quarantine period, except in an emergency. Here are some useful questions to consider:

  • Do you require any disability adjustments?
  • Do you need a kitchen to cook in?
  • What are the parking arrangements?
  • What size bed is available, and do you need to bring your own sheets and/or other linen such as bath towels?
  • Is there WiFi available at the hotel?  If yes, are there any additional charges I should be aware of?
  • When can you check-in?  Does the hotel have any specific check-in arrangements for quarantining individuals?
  • What is their cancellation or amendment policy, in case my circumstances change after my booking?
Can I quarantine in a hotel with my friend/partner?

This is a decision for ACT Health. In some cases, they may allow you to quarantine with one other person. Be aware that if one of you test positive for COVID-19, you and the other person will need to quarantine for an additional period.

Will ANU pay for my hotel quarantine?

No, students will be responsible for covering the cost of their quarantine in a hotel. This includes any associated hotel costs, such as parking, wi-fi, mini-bar and meals.

Students were advised not to travel away from their residences at this time, except for urgent reasons, due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 situation across Australia.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, more information about bursaries can be found here.

How do I get food during quarantine?

As you are not allowed to leave your hotel room, you will need to arrange deliveries of food and groceries. Coles and Woolworths offer delivery services, and there are also meal delivery services. Please check with the hotel you are staying at to see if there are any specific delivery instructions you may need to provide with your order, such as delivery point or timeframes for delivery (ie some hotels reception areas are not 24/7 staffed).

We have partnered with the meal delivery service, Gym Meals Direct, which have a special discount code for ANU students. For more information on how to access this discount, please contact your residence.

I can't quarantine with a friend or family member, or at an approved hotel in the ACT. Is there another option?

If you are unable to quarantine in any of the above accommodation options and have an urgent need to return to the ACT due to safety reasons, please email accomreturntocampus@anu.edu.au

I have a self-contained apartment on campus and am happy to quarantine in there. Can I stay in my apartment?

ACT Health have deemed that all on-campus accommodation is unsuitable for quarantine purposes. We have asked ACT Health to re-consider this option and we will provide advice as soon as it is available. 

I have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Can I get an exemption on that basis?

No. As only a small amount of the population is vaccinated, and people who have been vaccinated could still transmit the virus, you will be subject to the same requirements as others who have not yet been vaccinated.

Advice for residential students affected by a lockdown elsewhere in Australia (outside of the Greater Sydney region)

Until you are approved to return to the ACT, please stay where you are and continue to follow the health advice of that jurisdiction.

If you are in an area that declares a lockdown, please stay where you are if it is safe to do so and follow all public health directions. The purpose of lockdowns is to limit movement while contact tracers work to quickly to identify who has been exposed to the virus and move them to quarantine. Most lockdowns usually end relatively quickly once all sources of transmission have been identified. For this reason, students should stay in place and follow local health directions until restrictions are eased, at which time entry into the ACT is usually a more straight forward process.

Leaving lockdown areas is a violation of the public health directions and people who do so could be fined. We will monitor the situation and will work with ACT Health to find potential ways for you to return to campus if the lockdown where you are continues to be extended.

We have online course options available for you, and our teachers have listened to feedback and ideas and worked very hard to make online content engaging and interactive.

If you want to know more about your online learning options, please contact your Academic College.

We also have a range of online events, academic workshops and activities to help you learn online and stay connected.

We also have wellbeing support available and ways to stay connected to your community on campus.

If you are not safe to stay where you are, please email accomreturntocampus@anu.edu.au immediately. We will do all we can to support you and make your case to health authorities.

I plan to travel to the ACT from a state that is not in lockdown, but I need to transit through an area that is in lockdown. Will I be able to enter the ACT?

Yes, you can enter the ACT without any restriction if you transit through an area that is in lockdown by car, train or an airport, as long as you do not exit the airport, car or train other than to go directly to the next mode of transport. More information can be found on the ACT Health website.

Advice for students who reside in private accommodation off-campus 

I plan to travel to the ACT from a state that is not in lockdown, but I need to transit through an area that is in lockdown. Will I be able to enter the ACT?

Yes, you can enter the ACT without any restriction if you transit through an area that is in lockdown by car, train or an airport, as long as you do not exit the airport, car or train other than to go directly to the next mode of transport. More information can be found on the ACT Health website.

If I am a student with off-campus private accommodation who is currently in a lockdown area, will I be able to enter the ACT?

Until you are approved to return to the ACT, please stay where you are and continue to follow the health advice of that jurisdiction.

ACT Health has advised us that they will consider declarations or exemption requests from students who have a valid longstanding lease with your name on it in the ACT or an ACT driver licence.

They may also consider entry for students who may not meet the above criteria but who, for exceptional reasons, are unable to remain where they are or have an urgent need to be in the ACT. You can complete a declaration (ACT resident outside of NSW lockdown area) or exemption form (non-ACT resident and everyone in NSW lockdown area) here.

It Is Important that you inform the COVID Response Office know that you are In quarantine by emailing COVIDResponseOffice@anu.edu.au so they can provide appropriate support, Including a daily check-up.

What am I required to do in quarantine?

If you are required to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19, it is important to follow the following instructions:

  1. Stay in your home. People who are in quarantine are not allowed to attend public places, particularly shops, cafes, work, school, childcare or universities. You are not allowed to leave for any reason except in an emergency such as seeking urgent medical care.
  2. Do not have visitors. You are not allowed to have any visitors while in quarantine. If you require deliveries, these must be done through contactless deliveries.
  3. Monitor any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should call ACT Health about getting tested for COVID-19. ACT Health will contact you each day to check whether you have symptoms, and to check on your wellbeing in quarantine. If you are experiencing serious symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, call 000 and ask for an ambulance. Please let them know you are in quarantine.

More information about quarantine can be found here.

Can I quarantine in my share house?

Yes, but, depending on the arrangement, other people in your household may need to quarantine as well.

Other members of your household do not need to quarantine if you can maintain appropriate separation from them. Appropriate separation means sleeping in a separate bedroom with your own bathroom. You must not spend time in the same room as the other people in your house.

If you cannot maintain separation, then the people you live with will need to quarantine with you or they will need to find alternative accommodation.

How do I take care of my mental health during quarantine?

You can access free, remote support services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This includes access to peer-to-peer support through TalkCampus and online counselling sessions with a mental health provider from the ANU Counselling Centre.

There are also a range of ways to stay connected with your peers while you are in quarantine.

Daily Check-up  

ANU will maintain regular one-on-one contact with you, including via a daily welfare check. 

Please use this opportunity to ask any questions you might have and seek support. We understand it may be difficult to remain isolated for a significant period of time, and your mental health and wellbeing is very important to us.   

It would be good to tell the volunteer if there is anything you need that you have not been able to access online. Our goal is to reduce the difficulties of being in quarantine, so please let someone know if you need something and we will do our best to assist you.