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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Student Update 2

/ Coronavirus Student Updates
Over the past week there have been continuing developments of the spread of the coronavirus across Australia and therefore it is timely to remind you about several appropriate preventative measures.

What's been happening here at SWTAFE?

We are following the advice and guidance disseminated via the Department of Education and Training (DET). There are regular, sector-wide teleconferences with the Department and these are planned to continue over the coming weeks as this is a rapidly evolving situation.

SWTAFE is open, and courses will continue to run as normal as per student timetables. However, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take advice from DET to ensure we are responding appropriately. Any change in this position will be directed by the Victorian Department of Education and Training and communicated to SWTAFE’s CEO Mark Fidge.

The best defence for COVID-19 remains good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and to isolate when unwell.

It’s key to follow these sound public health principles:

  • Regular handwashing with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds)
  • Good personal hygiene
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and a cough
  • Adopt a no hand-shaking policy at this time
  • Strongly encouraging the flu vaccination for all students when the new influenza vaccination for Australia becomes available (mid-April)
  • Whilst flu vaccinations will not prevent COVID-19 from developing, this proactive practice assists our community to lessen the burden of respiratory infections and medical services generally. We strongly recommend students and their families to consider this step in 2020, and especially those who have a history of respiratory complications.

To remind all of the importance of these preventative measures, South West TAFE has placed information posters across all campuses to raise the awareness of how important good hand hygiene is to reduce the risk of spread.

Travel restrictions and advice

If you are planning or have already booked an overseas trip and it involves travel to or through a country that currently has a High or Moderate travel risk, you are strongly advised to consider cancelling or postponing your travel. Please note this information is being updated on a regular basis and could rapidly change as countries adjust their own travel warnings.

Whilst this is a difficult decision to make, maintaining a safe environment for students and staff is our highest priority and I thank you in advance for your understanding. This decision is in line with statewide advice, however, if this changes we will provide an update.

Travel Risk

Country

Action for Students

HIGH

Mainland China
Iran
Republic of Korea
Italy

Isolation period from SWTAFE of 14 days from date of return from the overseas country.

If you develop a fever or cough, seek medical advice urgently.

MODERATE

Indonesia (including Bali)
Cambodia
Hong Kong
Japan
Singapore
Mongolia
Thailand

Isolation period from SWTAFE of 14 days from date of return from the overseas country.

DFAT has advised Australians to reconsider taking an overseas cruise at this time due to COVID-19, particularly people with underlying health concerns.

LOW

All other countries

Can return to work/class if well.

If unwell (with unexplained fever of 38 degrees or higher) the person should seek medical treatment and self-isolate

Students who are currently overseas

Where students are currently overseas and returning from high or moderate risk areas, at the time of this advice (13th March); they will be required to undertake an isolation period of 14 days from the time of leaving that country.

If you are a student in this situation, please contact incidentresponse@swtafe.edu.au and advise us of the following:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • SWTAFE Course
  • Campus
  • Travel location
  • Date of departure
  • Date of return from the overseas country
  • Planned return to study date

In these situations, should the student travel to another country that is not currently rated as moderate or high risk, or spend a portion of their leave in Australia prior to returning to work, this period will be considered as part of the exclusion period.

Students who have travelled to any other country (low risk), not in the moderate or high-risk groups, can return without an isolation period. Where an employee returns from a low-risk country and is feeling unwell (fever of 38 degrees or higher, and/or respiratory symptoms) they should self-isolate for a period of 14 days and seek medical treatment.

Helpful sources for up-to-date information

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS):
The Commonwealth Department of Health:

Have any questions?

If you have any questions you can contact our Customer Service Team or speak to your teacher.
If they are unable to assist they will liaise with the Incident Response Team incidentresponse@swtafe.edu.au

Thank you

I acknowledge that this is an uncertain and disruptive time and we will endeavour to provide regular updates to all staff and student as further information becomes available.

Kind regards,
Mark Fidge
CEO - South West TAFE