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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Student Update 12

/ Coronavirus Student Updates
This week we again see changes to our working and living environment. However, the precautionary measures that have been put in place by the Victorian Government will assist us all to remain safer and reduce the risk of COVID-19 within our region.

New restrictions for regional Victoria
The Victorian Government yesterday announced: from 11.59pm on Thursday 30 July, if you live in the City of Greater Geelong or the Shires of Colac Otway, Golden Plains, Moorabool, Surf Coast and the Borough of Queenscliffe, the restrictions are changing

  • You can no longer have visitors to your home, except for necessary goods or services, care or other compassionate reasons, or work or education.
  • You cannot visit friends and family in their homes, even if they live outside of Greater Geelong and the surrounding areas, other than in limited circumstances (for example, for care or other compassionate reasons).
  • You can still meet with up to 10 people in a public place in these areas, such as a park or cafe.
  • Otherwise, the Stage 2 Stay Safe directions continue to apply in Greater Geelong and the surrounding areas.

The update to restrictions can be viewed [here].

Please note that travel between SWTAFE campuses is still permitted if necessary (including Colac).

Face coverings mandatory for all of Victoria
From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August, face coverings will also be mandatory for all of Victoria.

The same exemptions that currently apply in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, will apply across Victoria. These include if you have a medical condition or other condition that impairs your ability to wear a face covering, doing strenuous exercise or if you are unable to do your job while wearing a face covering.

People who do not wear face coverings and do not have a lawful excuse can be fined $200.

Wearing of masks at South West TAFE

Based on these new Victorian Government protocols, from Monday 3 July:

  • Staff and Students are required to wear a mask when travelling to and from campus, while they are on-campus, and in the classroom or workspace.
  • Teachers are exempt from wearing a mask while teaching, but have the option of wearing one.
  • The expectation is that staff and students will provide their own masks.  These may be a face shield, a cloth mask or disposable mask.
  • Supplies of single-use masks are available to students and staff who have been unable to acquire a mask. These have already been distributed to each campus reception and can be collected from there.
  • Some staff will be provided with masks where external industry lead protocols require masks to be worn.
  • For those that are on-campus for longer than a brief class, and are using disposable masks, they will bring at least two with them for the day - as well as plastic bags to carry and dispose of them.
  • If you are driving alone you are not required to wear a mask, however if you have co-workers in the vehicle (or people who you do not live with) you must all wear a mask.
  • You can find more detailed information about face mask rules [here].

How to safely wear a mask

Your mask should fit securely around the face, specifically covering the nose and the mouth areas.

Make sure that your mask does not have holes or a valve, reducing its effectiveness.

How to correctly wear a mask:

  • First: Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser that is made up of over 60% alcohol.
  • Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.
  • Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
  • Be sure the mask fits snugly across your nose (it is important your nose is covered)
  • Don’t touch the mask once in position as this can contaminate the mask.

This video provides an excellent overview of how masks help to keep us safe, and how to correctly wear a mask.

It’s up to all of us to make this work.

While we are unwavering in our commitment to keep SWTAFE sites safe, we are relying on every staff member and student to be proactive and responsible for their own health and safety to stop the spread of the virus in our region.

This means we must all:

  • Stay at home if you are unwell.
  • Practice social distancing - this means 1.5 metres apart at all times. Note that VCAL and VETDSS students are currently exempt from this rule when in the classroom.
  • Maintain the 4 square metre rule for any work or study spaces (measure room square metres and divide by 4 = the amount of people allowed within this spaces).  Note that VCAL and VETDSS students are currently exempt from this rule when in the classroom.
  • Practice good hand hygiene (consider washing hands or using hand sanitiser after using computers, attending meetings, touching any surfaces).
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should get tested.  The most common symptoms are fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell.
  • It will take a team effort to keep us all safe! It is everyone's responsibility to be involved in cleaning and sanitising their own work/study space or classroom. so please utilise the cleaning equipment that is now readily available at each campus.

Thank you

We all continue to work and learn at SWTAFE in this new environment we find ourselves in. Life goes on for us all, just in a different way.

I respect and applaud the resilience of our staff and students amidst this rapidly evolving environment. Your adaptability speaks volumes.

Please continue to follow the government guidelines to keep yourself and your family safe.

Mark Fidge
CEO
South West TAFE