Coronavirus – advice for staff and students


Authorities are currently dealing with the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

In response to the Victorian Government’s decision to close non-essential services to combat the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we have paused teaching activities at our TAFE and university campuses from Tuesday 24 March.

For Federation TAFE students, we have brought forward the Easter holiday break in line with the government’s decision to do this for Victorian schools.

For Federation University students, the majority of undergraduate and post-graduate coursework programs have moved to online delivery for semester one from Monday 30 March.

Students are asked not to attend classes, lectures, tutorials or practical sessions during this time.

Student services and support will still be available, via phone or online.

Please continue to check this webpage, your email and social media regularly for further updates.

Are Federation University and Federation TAFE campuses open?

There are some important changes to teaching delivery and staff arrangements.

For higher education, we have paused teaching activities from 24 March, and moved to online delivery for the majority of higher education programs from Monday 30 March.

For TAFE, we have brought forward the start of the Easter holiday break to 24 March in line with the Victorian Government decision to do this for Victorian schools.

Unless the TAFE sector is directed by government to close campuses, we intend to resume classes after the Easter holiday break on Wednesday 15 April. Our student services and support will continue to be available to students during this time, via phone or online.

There is more detailed information about this in the ‘Students – classes, online learning and exams’ section below.

Many staff will continue to work but under changed arrangements including working from home. There is detailed information for staff under ‘Staff – general information’ and ‘Staff – working from home’ below.

University events

All upcoming university and TAFE events have been reviewed in line with government advice on large gatherings. Guests and participants have been notified about events that have been cancelled as a result. This includes the postponement of semester one graduation ceremonies.

Measures Federation University is taking

All actions taken by Federation University are at the direction of government.

Federation University has begun working under its Critical Incident Management Structure to ensure a speedy response to government direction.

Actions include increased campus hygiene measures, online study options for impacted students (see below), review of all university events, and development of online study and working from home arrangements.

The critical incident response team provides clear leadership, structure and process for the university’s response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

The team includes:

  • Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett
  • Chief Operating Officer John Blair
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Andy Smith
  • (Interim) Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching Quality and Innovation) Associate Professor Nina Fotinatos
  • Associate Director, Risk and Integrity Noni Clarkson
  • Director, Human Resources Deborah Walker
  • Director, Corporate Communications Kara Douglas
  • Director, Student Experience Greg Jakob

This group is supported by university’s extended leadership group of Deans, Directors and Heads of Campus.

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to diseases that are more serious.

COVID-19 is a new virus that can cause infection in people, including severe respiratory illness.

Find more information from the Department of Health.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.

People with COVID-19 may experience:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person, mostly face-to-face or within a household.

It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air. Transmission by people without symptoms is possible, but likely to be rare.

The virus can spread from person to person through:

  • close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they started showing symptoms)
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face

COVID-19 is a new disease, so there is no existing immunity in our community.

Close contact means:

  • living in the same household
  • direct contact with body fluids or laboratory specimens of a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • spending two hours or longer in the same room
  • greater than 15 minutes face-to-face

How to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19

Stay home if you are sick rather than going to university, work or public places.

Practise good hygiene:

  • wash hands often with soap and water
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • dispose of tissues properly and wash hands afterwards

Social distancing to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases:

  • try to keep 1.5 metres between yourself and other people
  • avoid large gatherings
  • minimise physical contact (handshakes, hugs etc)

Clean and disinfect surfaces and frequently used objects (such as keys, mobile phone and wallet)

Hand sanitiser stations have been installed throughout the university and we encourage all students, staff and visitors to use these.

What should I do if I have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case?

If you have been in close contact with a proven case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

I am feeling unwell, what should I do?

If you suspect you have COVID-19 you must call to arrange for a review by either a doctor, the hospital or medical services. Call ahead of time to book an appointment.

You will be asked to take precautions when you attend for treatment. Follow the instructions you are given. If you have a mask, wear it to protect others. Stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Cover your coughs or sneezes with your elbow.

Tell the doctor about:

  • your symptoms
  • any travel history
  • any recent contact with someone who has COVID-19

If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 and ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you suspect you may have COVID-19 and your recent travel or contact history.

For general advice in relation to COVID-19 – call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Who is most at risk of COVID-19?

If you have travelled overseas or have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 you are at highest risk of infection.

Many people will suffer only mild symptoms; however, early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart and lung disease are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms.

Should I wear a surgical mask?

Surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others.

If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask. There is little evidence that widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people prevents transmission in public.

I have an existing health condition

People with underlying medical conditions may be at risk of more severe disease if they become infected with the COVID-19. This includes people with heart or lung disease, pregnant women, young children, the elderly and those with a suppressed immune system.

If you’re in an at-risk category and are a staff member who would like to explore alternative arrangements, you are encouraged to speak to your manager in the first instance and follow the work from home requirements.

Can I be vaccinated against COVID-19?

There is no vaccine for COVID-19, but there is one for the flu. You should get your flu shot when it is available. Getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can make you very ill.

How do I seek treatment or diagnosis if I suspect I have COVID-19?

Staff who are sick (with any illness) should not attend Federation University until they are well again.

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to talk to someone about your symptoms first, call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

If your symptoms are mild – please contact your doctor or the university’s medical services to advise that you are sick and believe you may have a case of COVID-19. They will ask you some questions to help determine the next steps.

If your symptoms are severe (e.g. difficulty breathing) – please contact the emergency room of your local hospital or ambulance service. Tell them that you suspect you may have COVID-19, have severe symptoms and need to come in for immediate treatment.

Staff complying with these guidelines will not be penalised if they cannot come into work.

Mental health and COVID-19

Discussions and concerns around the coronavirus outbreak and practising self-isolation can be stressful and affect our mental health and wellbeing. It is natural to feel a range of emotions, such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood. Many people feel distressed by the constant news and overwhelming amount of information about the situation.

Maintaining good mental health

The Australian Department of Health and MindSpot have produced a guide to help people cope and maintain good mental health.

1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Key things that we know help include:

  • Set up a daily routine. Plan activities that are fun (such as reading, watching movies, hobbies) and that give you a sense of achievement (such as cleaning, completing work tasks, learning a new skill)
  • Stay active—create an exercise routine that can be completed at home, to maintain physical fitness and reduce stress
  • Eat well—plan and eat a variety of nutritious meals
  • Stay connected with friends and family via phone, chat, email, or video conferencing

2. Stay informed

Getting information from trusted sources can help you determine reasonable precautions to take to maintain your health. See the links we have included above and in COVID-19: The facts.

3. Stay positive

Remember:

  • This is unpleasant, but it will pass
  • What you say to yourself is important. Listen to the things you are saying to yourself and change negative comments to be more helpful and realistic

Getting support

If you are feeling anxious or distressed about the impacts of COVID-19 on you, or your studies, you can talk with a Federation University counsellor free of charge.

The counselling service will continue to operate sessions with students of Federation University. These will primarily be conducted by phone. If necessary, sessions can be conducted via Skype.

Appointments can be made by phoning (03) 5327 9470 (Ballarat and Wimmera) or (03) 5122 6425 (Berwick and Gippsland). Appointments can be made via e-mail at counselling@federation.edu.au, but priority is given to phone requests.

Other online and phone-based mental health resources you may find helpful may be found by using the Australian Department of Health’s Search Tool.

Stage 3 restrictions

The Victorian Government has announced that Stage 3 restrictions will come into effect from 11:59pm Monday 30 March 2020. They will be in place for four weeks, meaning people should only be away from their primary residence for the following reasons:

  1. shopping for what you need – food and essential supplies
  2. medical, care or compassionate needs
  3. exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  4. work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely

If people breach these directions, they face on-the-spot fines.

What does a maximum gathering of two people mean?

All gatherings will be restricted to no more than two people except for members of your household and for work or education purposes. Social distancing rules should also be observed.

What if I live with more than two people in my house?

This does not apply to people you already live with.

Does that mean I am allowed to have more than two people over to my house?

No. People should be staying in their own homes.

Can I be outside with more than two people if they are part of my household?

Yes, if those people are part of your household. However, you should only be outside for one of the following 4 reasons:

  • shopping for what you need – food and essential supplies
  • medical, care or compassionate needs
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely

Can I still go outside with my children? Can we play in the park?

You can go outside with your children for the purposes of exercise and fresh air. This does not mean that you should spend the day outside because everyone who can stay home must stay home.

What does self-isolate mean?

To self-isolate at means to stay at home and do not attend public places:

  • do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
  • ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
  • do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
  • elderly people and those with compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions should stay away

You do not need to wear a mask in your home. If you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

In the case of COVID-19 the self-isolation period is currently 14 days as this is how long COVID-19 appears to take to show symptoms.

If you show symptoms, you must seek medical help and continue your isolation until you advised by your healthcare professional (doctor/hospital) that you are clear to return to normal activities.

Who must self-isolate?

Australian authorities now require ALL travellers arriving in Australia from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive here. For full information see Department of Home Affairs website.

If you have been in close contact with a proven case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

If a member of your household is in isolation, you do not need to do the same unless they or you have developed symptoms.

You may seek home delivery of food or medication from a family, friends or delivery services.

To find out more, read the Australian Department of Health home isolation information sheet.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between you and other people.

We have introduced new social distancing measures in line with the latest Australian Government advice. This includes:

  • Information posted on all rooms informing staff and students of the maximum number of occupants that can be allowed in the room under the Federal Government guidelines that require four square metres of space for each occupant
  • Some student recreational areas will be closes to avoid unnecessary contact
  • Signage and indicators for social distancing in café and dining areas
  • Reviewing and implementing social distancing measures that can be applied within other student-facing service areas such as student lounge and student study areas

Overseas travel

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises all Australians not to travel overseas at this time. This is the highest advice level (level 4 of 4). At level 4, your health and safety is at extreme risk.

If you are already overseas and wish to return to Australia, it is recommended you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.

If you are overseas and cannot, or do not want to, return to Australia, follow the advice of local authorities. Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus including by self-isolating. If you choose to stay, the ability to provide consular assistance in some places may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.

Enforced quarantine

All travellers returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for a self-isolation period of 14-days. Each person will also be supported with self-isolation care packages of food and other essentials.

Travellers are required to quarantine in the Australian state they arrive in, irrespective of where they live.

University travel

In line with advice from the Australian Government, the university has implemented a ban on all interstate and overseas university travel for staff and students due to the rapidly changing situation.

If a staff member believes their travel is essential to university operations, they should make the request to their Dean or Director in the first instance. If the Dean or Director agrees, the request will go to a panel comprised of VCST members for approval.

Medical and nursing services

Federation University continues to operate a medical clinic at Mt Helen and nursing services at our Mt Helen and Gippsland campuses, and a health centre is on site at our Berwick campus. Learn more about these services.

It is important that if you are experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms and have recently travelled overseas, or have been in contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, that you telephone ahead and advise reception staff, before attending for your appointment.

Counselling

If you are feeling anxious or distressed about the impacts of COVID-19 on you, or your studies, you can talk with a Federation University counsellor free of charge. Get emergency contacts and learn how to make an appointment here.

Please phone ahead before attending the clinic, if you are experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms and have recently travelled overseas, or have been in contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

Student Advisory

Student Advisory is a service that can answer your questions, discuss options for resolving your concerns about your academic progress, help you to understand communication (emails and letters) from the university and refer you to other services. Visit the Student Advisory Service to learn more and make an appointment online.

Student HQ

Student HQ will be able to assist you with the following activities if you are impacted by COVID-19:

  • Enrolment, including subject selection, changes to enrolment, adding and dropping subjects
  • Program planning
  • Special consideration – including general and deferred exams

Students should log their enquiry via the online portal or call Student HQ. Enquiries can be logged 24/7 and Student HQ may be contacted on 1800 FED UNI (1800 333 864) Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm. Learn more about Student HQ.

Living on campus

For students living on campus, FedLiving have been in direct contact via email. You should continue to check your email for important updates. The FedLiving Residential Support Team are available to answer your residential support questions, or for referral to other university support services.

If you are living on campus, please refer to the FedLiving website regularly for important information, including the social distancing requirements, self-isolation and what to do if you become unwell or have been in close contact with COVID-19.

Scholarships

The scholarships office remains available to students via email and phone. Learn more about scholarship, bursary and grant payments.

International student support

We recognise that this situation may be particularly difficult for international students. We want to reassure you that International student support remains available. We are here to support you – whatever your question, please email international.ss@federation.edu.au or call 03 5327 9446.

If you are required to self-isolate, or miss the social experience of being on campus, please treat our Facebook group and Moodle site as a social space – ask a question, chat to other students, or share interesting/funny things you have found to help us through the day.

If you are worried about your studies, please speak with academic staff as early as possible, particularly if you find online-only learning difficult.

Disability access

Disability Services will continue to offer services to students with a disability. This includes making reasonable adjustments to study requirements for students with a disability, medical condition or mental health condition.

Disability staff will continue to write Learning Access Plans and the adjustments recommended in your Learning Access Plan will be implemented.

Chaplaincy

Chaplaincy continues to deliver support during the COVID-19 outbreak and has transitioned to phone and online services. Appointments will continue as usual.

Students can contact the Chaplains for emotional and pastoral support, and community support contacts.

Careers services

Careers services continue to be available to students during the COVID-19 outbreak.

View the services they offer, the programs you can join and get in touch.

Student Engagement

Student Engagement is developing a range of social, health and fitness activities, events and opportunities for students which will be offered virtually/online. These opportunities will be facilitated by staff, so keep an eye on your emails, as well as by student clubs and societies.

Go to edge.federation.edu.au to register and follow the FedUni Current Students Facebook page for updates.

Will Federation University close because of COVID-19?

We have moved to online delivery for the majority of higher education programs from Monday 30 March. Please refer to the ‘Students – classes, online learning and exams’ section for more information.

It is our intention to keep providing students with the services and support you need however, we ask for your understanding that some services may be impacted in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to keep students updated about any changes to the delivery of services.

I am required to self-isolate or I have had a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, who do I report it to?

Please notify your program coordinator in the first instance. Then complete the reporting form and email to the Risk and Assurance Officer, Sandra Griffin via s.griffin@federation.edu.au. Once submitted it will formally notify the university.

If you or your program coordinator require advice in relation to the reporting process then please contact the Risk and Assurance Officer, Sandra Griffin via s.griffin@federation.edu.au or Adrian Tinetti, Director, Corporate Governance via a.tinetti@federation.edu.au.

Changes to library services

Campus libraries have been closed to non-library staff and students to assist in meeting social distancing measures, and in line with the pause on higher education teaching activities. Staff and students will still be able to access library services and receive assistance from library staff – all online. This includes accessing e-books, e-journals, research and digital skills training, copyright and course readings services and consultations.

Students will continue to access a range of study spaces and computer labs across all campuses, with social distancing guidelines in place. Please direct students to the library support web page for more information.

I am a student from a country with a current travel restriction

Students in countries with travel restrictions are not on campus and have been offered online study or deferral as options, so they can continue as students of Federation University once this situation is resolved.

What if I have to self-isolate?

Students who need to self-exclude due to self-isolation requirements or because they are sick, will not be penalised.

Students who are affected by travel bans or medical self-isolation may be offered online study or deferral as options, so they can continue as students of Federation University once this situation is resolved. You should contact your Program Coordinator to discuss your study options and call Student HQ to discuss your individual circumstances. Students HQ may be contacted by phone: 1800 FED UNI (1800 333 864) Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm (AEST).

Email: info@federation.edu.au

Outside Australia: +61 3 53279018

Changes to Federation University and Federation TAFE classes

We have paused all on-campus teaching activity for students from Tuesday 24 March.

Higher education

The university has moved the majority of undergraduate and post-graduate coursework programs to online delivery for semester one from Monday 30 March. Online delivery means:

  • no more lectures and tutorials held on-campus
  • teaching and learning activities will be adapted for online learning
  • access will be available through your Moodle shell, including links to virtual classroom technologies and virtual meeting spaces
  • students may also be provided with access to short videos and focused learning resources via a variety of digital media
  • existing course assessments scheduled throughout the semester will primarily remain the same but will be adapted for an online learning environment

TAFE

We have brought forward the start of the Easter holiday break for TAFE students, in line with the Victorian Government decision to do this for Victorian schools.

Unless the TAFE sector is directed by government to close campuses, we intend to resume classes after the Easter holiday break on Wednesday 15 April. Our student services and support will continue to be available to students during this time, via phone or online.

Online learning – getting started

Some of you will be used to studying online and for others, it will be a new experience. Rest assured that the whole Federation University community is well prepared to support you through these challenging times. The following resources provide you with quick guides to key academic and student support services available as you transition to online learning and study:

Tips for learning at home

Check Moodle – you will find all of your teaching and learning activities in one place, your course Moodle shell.
Go to Moodle >

Get help with study – find information about referencing, assessment, research, critical thinking, punctuation, writing and time management.
Go to Study Skills >

Connect with a tutor – log in to Studiosity between 3.00pm and midnight, Sunday to Friday, to talk to an expert tutor. It's free, online and you don't have to register.
Go to Studiosity >

Visit the library online – the library services are still available online. Don't forget to download the new MyLibrary! app.
Go to Library >

Stay in touch – we will continue to send you important information so check your email daily, and remember that Student HQ is still available to you.
Go to Student HQ >

IT support is available – you can access on-campus software at home, learn how to use Microsoft Teams, install Adobe applications for free and much more.
Go to Service Desk portal >

Enrolment

There is no need to change your enrolment. We are simply changing the way we teach.

This is a challenging time for the whole community and we would like to reassure you that we remain absolutely committed to ensuring you receive the highest quality student services, teaching and learning as a Federation University or Federation TAFE student.

Please talk to your program coordinator about your individual arrangements.

Who should I contact if I have any placement enquiries?

Placement information specific to your study area is available within your placement Moodle shell where one exists, or on your School webpage or via InPlace. If you have placement enquiries, it is important to clarify these with your School Placement Coordinator, your Program Coordinator, or your Work Integrated Learning administration support staff.

Changes are occurring rapidly at the moment, and placement providers must therefore react quickly to ensure safe working environments. We need you to be flexible as changes occur; be assured that we are updating you with information as quickly as possible.

Will online learning impact my course progression?

Federation University wants all of its students to achieve successful higher education progression, even in this transition to online learning.

Students are welcome to discuss any concerns or course progression enquiries with your Course Coordinator and/or Program Coordinator. These staff can provide sound advice particular to individual situations.

It’s important to remember that many university students across Victoria and Australia are going through a similar transition to online learning. We look forward to working with our students face-to-face once again, once we have advice that we can return to this model of education delivery.

Special Consideration because of the impacts of COVID-19

If you require Special Consideration or a deferred examination as a result of COVID-19, please follow the university or TAFE process for special consideration and deferred examinations.

What do I do if I need to complete a form that requires a signature and I don’t have access to a printer?

Please complete the form electronically and submit it via specialcon@federation.edu.au and include the following student declaration on the face of your email:

“In submitting the attached form I, [Insert name and Student ID number], acknowledge that disciplinary action may be taken if I knowingly supply false or misleading information. I certify that to the best of my knowledge, the information supplied on this form is true and correct.”

If you have printed and completed a form but are unsure how to submit it to us you can consider using Microsoft Lens. Further support and guidance on the use of this application is available via our IT support page IT Knowledge base article - Microsoft Lens. Alternatively please give us a call on 1800 333 864 and we’ll talk you through the options and provide further guidance based on your circumstances.

What do I do if I need to apply for Special Consideration but I am unable to visit a healthcare professional or complete a statutory declaration due to self-isolation?

Please state this on your form and include all relevant and pertinent information that you can, such as recent travel dates and destinations, dates you commenced self-isolation and whether this was voluntary or imposed, and we will proceed with the evaluate of your request and come back to you if we need anything further.

Federation University has paused teaching activities from Monday 23 March at our Brisbane campus and our partner teaching locations in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Students are advised not to attend campus.

This follows the Victorian Government announcement that non-essential services will be closed from Tuesday 24 March to combat the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Pausing our teaching activities has allowed us to prepare for online delivery of higher education programs from Monday 30 March and to seek further clarification from the government on the new measures.

Please contact student support at your teaching location if you have any further questions and continue to check this page, email and social media for regular updates. Support is also available on Study Queensland's 1800QSTUDY hotline and at Study Queensland's website.

Who needs to read these FAQs?

These FAQs are intended for Federation University HDR candidates and their supervisors currently or planning to conduct research activities. These FAQs do not replace the policies and procedures which govern research at Federation University, and may be updated if government advice changes.

If you feel that the guidelines provided are not appropriate for your situation or believe there are exceptional circumstances, please urgently discuss this with your line manager. Your line manager will consult with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

Research activities to be scaled back

The university has scaled back research activities after the announcement of stage three restrictions by the Victorian Government.

Only laboratories mandated to be open by the government may remain open. Staff should begin an orderly closure of research laboratories, which must be completed by Tuesday 31 March. For laboratories that remain open, strict social distancing and occupational health and safety (OH&S) standards must be maintained.

Field work should also be scaled back and stopped by Tuesday 31 March as we prepare for the possibility of further restrictions on people’s movements. Many research activities can continue through desktop access to library resources and data repositories. Supervisors are asked to provide guidance to higher degree by research (HDR) students and research assistants in these circumstances.

Research staff and students should ensure that research data is curated and stored in an approved repository according to our policy (RS1836) and in accordance with the revised Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2019).

For contract research, please inform the research office if these restrictions are likely to lead to missed milestones within a project. The grants and contracts team will then negotiate contract extensions and variations.

General planning

Arrange a discussion with your entire research team to consider how your research may be impacted by:

  • reduced access to campus
  • reduced travel
  • reduced access to participants, and
  • reduced access to equipment and facilities

This should take place using electronic platforms unless social distance requirements can be maintained.

Things to consider:

  • if you can adjust your research to accommodate the social distancing requirements
  • consider how you can ensure that critical tasks can be completed in the event that someone falls ill
  • arrange a discussion with your research students to address impacts on their research and how they can plan for interruptions
  • communicate with your research stakeholders (e.g. funders, research contract partners, research participants, collaborators) to let them know how your work might be affected
  • ensure that you and your research team can access the Federation University network and that you data is safely stored and accessible

Please note that at all times the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research must be maintained.

Research equipment

Where research is reliant on equipment please consider whether this equipment can be shut down in the event of reduced access to campus or laboratories.

Research involving human participants

In accordance with advice received by the university on 19 March, from the Department of Human Services and Health, research involving human participants, which cannot conform to social distancing guidelines, cannot be undertaken at this time.

However, for interviews and focus groups, we encourage the use of internet platforms such as Skype, if appropriate, to assist with data collection and engagement with research participants.

Any proposed changes to research with human participants must be communicated to the research ethics team at research.ethics@federation.edu.au. Your proposals will be assessed and you will receive feedback on what is possible.

Implementing remote working arrangements

  • follow the ‘Working from home: Information guide’ and inform your line manager and your immediate work team of your need to work from home
  • arrange regular online or phone meetings with your research team to ensure that you stay connected and have a plan of work that can be undertaken during any closure
  • consider using this time to analyse data, explore secondary data sets that might be valuable to your research, prepare a research funding plan using resources such as Researcher Professional, prepare research for publication, and update your Researcher Profile
  • ensure that you continue to maintain confidential treatment of data and documents while working remotely, and
  • provide status updates to your research stakeholders (particularly other collaborators and funders) to ensure that they stay informed of the impact on your research activities

Research Services

Support from Research Services will continue. Email is most effective way to communicate with Research Services. Staff who are working remotely will be contactable.

Animal Ethics and Human Research Ethics Committees

These committees will remain in operation. Committees will meet as scheduled but will be required to convene using electronic means until social distancing restrictions are lifted. You can continue to prepare and submit your applications in the usual way. Please note, the restrictions on starting or continuing work involving human or animal participants stated above.

Research funding applications

Researchers can continue to get support for preparing and submitting funding applications through the Research Funding team.

Currently funded projects

If you lead a project which is externally funded, please consider how interruptions to the research might impact on your deliverables and ability to meet timelines. If you are concerned that a project is at risk, or a milestone is likely to be affected please contact Research Services to discuss the best course of action.

If you believe your project is not affected, we encourage you to let your funding partner know this. Please use the following qualification in any communication, “……I will let you know if the situation changes as responses to COVID-19 develop.” Please include the Research Office on your email.

If your funding partner is the Australian Research Council (ARC) or NHMRC we would ask that you communicate with them through Research Services for ARC and NHMRC. General information can be found here:

Research contracting services

Researchers will continue to get support for research contracts including financial and non-financial contracts. Research Services is working with the university’s Legal Services to provide for continuity of service in the event of staff absences.

Research reporting

Researchers will continue to be supported in the usual way.

Researcher Skills Development Program

The Researcher Skills Development programs will continue to be delivered online. Check FedNews for offerings.

HDR supervisors

New candidate applications are being considered at the moment. However, admission will be delayed until semester two.

HDR scholarships

Scholarship payments will occur normally (made through payroll) even if research projects are impacted by COVID-19.

Is the university operating as usual?

We have moved to online delivery for the majority of higher education programs from Monday 30 March. Please refer to the ‘Students – classes, online learning and exams’ section for more information.

It is our intention to keep providing students with the services and support you need however, we ask for your understanding that some services may be impacted in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to keep students updated about any changes to the delivery of services.

The following toolkits have been developed to assist staff and their managers to implement safe and effective remote working arrangements.

The principles for working remotely include

  • signing and agreeing to work from home requirements to ensure the University’s OH&S obligations are met
  • agreeing with your manager what work will be completed
  • being readily available to attend phone/skype meetings
  • completing a summary of the work completed on a weekly basis
  • keeping a written record of hours worked that can be shared with your supervisor and, if you have not been able to work your required hours, submitting appropriate leave bookings

I am required to self-isolate or I have had a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, who do I report it to?

Please notify your manager in the first instance. Then complete the reporting form and email to the Risk and Assurance Officer, Sandra Griffin via s.griffin@federation.edu.au. Once submitted it will formally notify the university.

If you or your manager require advice in relation to the reporting process then please contact the Risk and Assurance Officer, Sandra Griffin via s.griffin@federation.edu.au or Adrian Tinetti, Director, Corporate Governance via a.tinetti@federation.edu.au.

I am a supervisor or program coordinator and a staff member or student has contacted me about their self-isolation or diagnosis, what do I tell them?

Please notify your manager in the first instance and assist your staff member or student to complete the reporting form. Once completed, please email the form to the Risk and Assurance Officer, Sandra Griffin via s.griffin@federation.edu.au. Once submitted it will formally notify the university.

If you or your manager require advice in relation to the reporting process then please contact the Risk and Assurance Officer, Sandra Griffin via s.griffin@federation.edu.au or Adrian Tinetti, Director, Corporate Governance via a.tinetti@federation.edu.au.

Campus travel

The university's travel policy now includes a ban on non-essential travel between our campus regions. Given there are multiple campuses in Ballarat, we understand staff may need to travel between these campuses. This should be cleared with their Dean or Director.

The ban on interstate and international university travel still applies. We will continue to review the travel policy as the pandemic situation evolves and will update staff on any changes.

What if I have an existing health condition or I live with someone in a high risk category?

People with underlying medical conditions may be at risk of more severe disease if they become infected with the COVID-19. This includes people with heart or lung disease, pregnant women, older people and those with a suppressed immune system.

If you are in an at-risk category or live in the same house as a high risk person and would like to explore immediate alternative work arrangements, you are encouraged to speak to your manager in the first instance and follow the remote working from home requirements.

The following toolkit has been developed to assist staff around recording any university property that you may need to complete your duties remotely and ensuring your proposed work environment meets appropriate Occupational Health and Safety requirements.

What do I do if I am a staff member and my child/ren is unable to attend school?

If your child’s school or childcare centre has been closed due to COVID-19, and this affects you working, please speak to your supervisor in the first instance to explore if your duties can be completed at home, following the requirements for working remotely.

If you can work some of your hours or are unable to complete any hours the university supports you accessing a one-off special leave arrangement for up to five working days (pro-rata for part-time staff). If your child is sick you can submit carer’s leave.

What do I do if I have to stay home with my child/ren during school holidays?

School holidays are nothing new for staff with children and many of you will already have your plans in place.

However, for those staff that may rely on grandparents or school holiday programs, please speak to your supervisor in the first instance to explore if your duties can be completed remotely acknowledging that this can sometimes be difficult around children. If you can work some of your hours or unable to complete any hours the university supports you accessing a one-off special leave arrangement for up to five working days (pro-rata for part-time staff). If your child is sick you can submit carer’s leave.

What leave arrangements apply if I have to self-isolate?

If you need to self-isolate and you are not unwell, you should work from home if it is possible to do so. You need to discuss arrangements with your supervisor and complete a request to work remotely. You will not be on leave in this situation.

If you are required to self-isolate and your work cannot be done from home, you will need to take self-isolation leave until cleared to return to work. Although the terms of the current Federation University Enterprise Agreements do not provide an entitlement to paid leave for casual and sessional staff, the university has decided to extend the availability of isolation leave for up to 14 calendar days to casual and sessional staff to assist in the efforts to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

You will be paid for the shifts you were rostered to work during the period of isolation. The availability of this leave will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and guided by advice from health authorities.

What if I’m working from home and become unwell?

You will need to advise your supervisor and take personal leave until cleared to return to work.

Can the university require staff to work from home?

If you are not unwell, the university can require you to work from home where it is possible for you to do so. You will not be on leave in this situation.

If you decide not to work from home, you will need to take annual leave or long service leave (if relevant).

Can the university require staff to work from home if my campus or building is closed?

If you are not unwell, the university can require you to work from home where it is possible for you to do so. Many roles across the university contribute to business continuity.

If you are not unwell and decide not to work, you can apply for annual leave, long service leave, or accrued time off in lieu where relevant.

If you are unwell, as normal, you will need to take personal leave until cleared to return to work. You are not expected to work when you are unwell.

What if my campus or building is closed but my job can’t be done from home?

Initially, where the university does not have work for you to do when your campus or building is closed, the university will grant you five working days (pro-rata for part-time staff) special leave.

The university will continue to monitor the situation as it applies to your circumstances on a case-by-case basis and keep you informed as relevant information comes to hand.

Information for sessional academic staff

Our sessional academic workforce is part of our core workforce and staff are committed to delivering quality teaching.

If the university or a campus is required to close for a period, many of our sessional academic staff will be able to continue to work from home. Where the work no longer exists we will continue to pay sessional academic staff their contracted work for the current teaching semester.

If a sessional academic staff member is unable to work from home because they have a confirmed case of COVID-19, the university will continue to pay for their contracted work for the current teaching semester. The sessional academic staff member in this first instance should talk with their program co-ordinator and complete a report form and notify Human Resources of the details of the period of personal leave. This must be supported by a medical certificate from a registered health practitioner.

Although the terms of the current Federation University Enterprise Agreements do not provide an entitlement to paid leave for sessional staff, the University has decided to extend the availability of isolation leave for up to 14 calendar days to sessional staff to assist in the efforts to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The availability of this leave will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and guided by advice from health authorities.

Information for casual staff

Our casual staff are important and we recognise the difficulties you face at this time.

If the university or a campus or a service is required to close for a period, some of our casual staff will be able to continue to work from home. Where the work cannot be done from home, individual circumstances for casual staff will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and if available we will explore the possibility of alternative work but this cannot be guaranteed. The university will pay you your scheduled shifts for 10 working days from closure or ceasing of service if we cannot find alternative work for you.

Although the terms of the current Federation University Enterprise Agreements do not provide an entitlement to paid leave for casual staff, the university has decided to extend the availability of isolation leave for up to 14 calendar days to casual staff based on the shifts you were rostered to work during that 14 day period to assist in the efforts to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The availability of this leave will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and guided by advice from health authorities.

I have questions or concerns which have not been addressed. Who do I speak to?

If you have questions or concerns which have not been addressed to date, please raise these with your manager to be escalated to your Dean or Director, or email the Chief Operating Officer as the Critical Incident Lead via coo@federation.edu.au.

Essential staff and services

The online delivery of programs and student services, as well as research, requires a number of staff to work on-campus. We are currently reviewing which services could be classed as essential and the staff required on-campus for their delivery. In addition to this, professional development support is currently being offered to our partner providers regarding the transition to online.

HR hotline

Human Resources have established a COVID-19 hotline (03 5122 6300) to support staff who may have enquiries in relation to leave types available to them and working from home protocols. The hotline will be staffed between 8.30am – 5.00pm and will be operational from tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March. We encourage you to access this support and please continue to check our website for regular updates.

Federation University has maintained regular communication to students and staff since the beginning of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The advice provided reflected the response of state and federal governments to a rapidly-changing situation.

Communication channels have included regular direct emails, messages from leadership, regular updates on this dedicated webpage, internal online communication, talking points provided to management, targeted communications to partners within Australia and overseas, and by SMS.

Below is an archive of the direct messages sent to staff and students.

Archived staff messages

27 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 117kb)

26 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 128kb)

25 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 122kb)

24 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 119kb)

23 March Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 114kb)

20 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 120kb)

19 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 119kb)

18 March Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 125kb)

17 March Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 107kb)

12 March Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 68kb)

2 March Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 120kb)

20 February Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 82kb)

3 February Coronavirus daily update for staff (PDF, 125kb)

2 February Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 129kb)

31 January Vice-Chancellor's message for staff (PDF, 146kb)

Archived student messages

2 April Starting with Fed Week Five Check in to Victorian Federation campuses commencing students (PDF, 308kb)

2 April Week Five Check in to Victorian Federation campuses continuing students (PDF, 390kb)

27 March Vice-Chancellor's update for Brisbane Campus and onshore partner provider students (PDF, 180kb)

27 March Vice-Chancellor's update for Victorian Federation campuses international students (PDF, 179kb)

26 March Vice-Chancellor's update for all onshore international students (PDF, 62kb)

26 March Vice-Chancellor's update for all higher education domestic students exc HDR (PDF, 179kb)

25 March Vice-Chancellor's update for students not enrolled in Semester One (PDF, 158kb)

23 March Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) update for HDR students (PDF, 159kb)

23 March Vice-Chancellor's update for Fed campus higher education students exc. Brisbane (PDF, 160kb)

23 March Vice-Chancellor's update for students (TAFE) (PDF, 161kb)

23 March Vice-Chancellor's update for all Brisbane campus and partner provider students (11am) (PDF, 159kb)

22 March Vice-Chancellor's update for all Federation campus students including Brisbane and HDR (PDF, 80kb)

22 March Vice-Chancellor's update for all onshore partner provider students (PDF, 64kb)

20 March Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) update for students (PDF, 165kb)

20 March graduation refund information (PDF, 164kb)

20 March Vice-Chancellor (Academic) update for students (partners) (PDF, 178kb)

20 March Vice-Chancellor (Academic) update for students (campuses) (PDF, 167kb)

18 March Vice-Chancellor's update for students (higher education) (PDF, 65kb)

18 March Vice-Chancellor's update for students (TAFE) (PDF, 65kb)

16 March Semester 1 2020 graduation event (PDF, 63kb)

6 February Vice-Chancellor's update for students (PDF, 179kb)

3 February Vice-Chancellor's update for students (PDF, 169kb)

2 February Vice-Chancellor's update for students (PDF, 180kb)

31 January Vice-Chancellor's update for students (PDF, 182kb)


Pollution to solution – is the key to soil health buried inside brown coal?

13 March 2020

A researcher is studying the brown coal that is used to fire a Victorian power station to determine if it holds substances that can improve soil health.

Telling the tales from Rat City

4 March 2020

Long-forgotten stories of Ballarat’s dark and bizarre past are being brought to life in an award-winning podcast series featuring the research of a Federation University Australia historian.

An antipodean dream in Milan

20 February 2020

Jill Orr’s work has appeared at exhibitions around the world, with her work held at major collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.