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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Student Update 3

/ 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?

The health and wellbeing of our staff and students is our top priority as we prepare to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. We are following the advice and guidance disseminated via the Department of Education and Training (DET).

SWTAFE remains a safe place for students to study, 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.

Updated travel restrictions and advice

If you are planning or have already booked an overseas trip you are strongly advised to consider cancelling or postponing your travel in line with the recent advice from the Australian Government. As of 12:00 am 16 March 2020 all people entering Australia will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.

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.

Students who are currently overseas

Where students are currently overseas they will be required to undertake an isolation period of 14 days from the time of entering back into Australia.

If you are a student in this situation, please contact incident.response@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


Organised gatherings

The Department of Health and Human Services have advised that all non-essential organised gatherings of 500 or more people should be cancelled from Monday 16 March. This does not include TAFEs and training organisations running normal teaching and learning programs.

It does apply to any TAFE or training organisation event that involves the attendance of community members who are not students and staff (including support staff), and where the total attendance will be over 500. For example, Graduation ceremonies where more than 500 people would be gathering.

Excursions

The Department of Education and Training has advised that all excursions outside of the TAFE Institutes are to be postponed or rescheduled from Wednesday 18th March. If excursions cannot be rescheduled, they should be cancelled. This includes all excursions for purposes such as visits to cultural institutions, art galleries, theatres and sporting events.

Events

All events currently planned by South West TAFE, including those organised as part of your curriculum are under review and further communication will be issued on the potential postponing or rescheduling of these events in the near future. We understand the inconvenience this may cause staff and students with time and effort placed on the organisation and co-ordination of these events, however your health and well-being is extremely important as we increase our precautionary measures.

Our wellbeing team is here to help

If you’re feeling concerned or overwhelmed with what you are seeing on TV and on social media about the Coronavirus and this is impacting on your studies our Well-being team is happy to chat. Please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us.

The best defence…

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.

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