Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
Update 1 April 2020

This is a central, frequently updated source of information and advice relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), for the benefit of our community.

ACU is committed to ensuring a safe place of work and learning and the wellbeing of our staff and students. To minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other infections, please remember to wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser

As the situation continues to evolve, we ask that staff and students stay engaged with and alert to our communications and check back here regularly for the most up-to-date advice.

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please use this step-by-step self-assessment guide.

FAQs

What is ACU doing in response to COVID-19?

ACU is monitoring the situation closely and keeping up to date with the impacts of government decisions about policy, healthcare and border protection. We have established an incident response group, chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, which meets three times weekly and is closely overseeing the situation.

We are communicating regularly with our community – both locally and internationally – through emails, phone support, social media and this website as the situation unfolds.

Along with following advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, we’re working closely with Universities Australia, and have developed a pandemic plan to respond to a major coronavirus outbreak in Australia.

We have moved the majority of our classes fully online from Monday 30 March. All staff, other than essential on-campus staff are now working remotely where possible. 

Reporting and self-assessment of COVID-19

The university has developed a set of protocols (PDF, 66KB) for reporting and dealing with confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst staff, students and visitors. To help staff, students and visitors identify whether they need to report, the university has developed a self-assessment guide. If you are in self-isolation or have tested positive, please make sure you fill in the ACU reporting form for staff or the ACU reporting form for students.

Medical Centers

ACU medical centres on the Brisbane and Melbourne campuses remain open. Please check the website (Brisbane, Melbourne) for information about services and opening hours. All services will be bulk billed at this time.

Medicare has approved new item numbers so a lot of the medical centres’ services are available via telephone consults. Doctors can fax scripts and blood test results. To make an appointment please call the ACU medical centres and the team will take you through the process.

Please note that the telehealth service is only available to existing patients.

If you think you might have COVID-19, please do NOT attend a medical centre without calling ahead and speaking to one of our nurses first, to avoid the risk of spreading it further.

If you can’t access an ACU medical centre, please contact your regular GP or your local medical centre for advice.

ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven AO, GCSG

Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Stephen Weller

Provost Professor Pauline Nugent AM

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Innovation Professor Zlatko Skrbis

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global and Education Pathways Mr Chris Riley

Director Human Resources Ms Diana Chegwidden

Academic Registrar and Director, Student Administration Ms Kathryn Blyth

Executive Dean Education and Arts Professor Elizabeth Labone

Director, Marketing and External Relations Ms Kathy Vozella

Director Learning and Teaching Centre Professor Meg Stuart

Director, Properties and Facilities Mr Michael Tracey

Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences Professor Michelle Campbell

Director, Information Technology Mr Niranjan Prabhu

Deputy Chief Operating Officer Mr Paul Campbell

Chief Financial Officer Mr Scott Jenkins

Director, Government Policy and Strategy Mr Ashley Midalia

Associate Director, Communications and Creative Services Ms Alisse Grafitti

National Manager, Strategic Programs Ms Jane Caton

Program Officer Ms Melinda Hunt

National Manager Strategic Communications Ms Jen Rosenberg

As a result of new legislation in NSW and Victoria, all ACU campuses and libraries remain open for essential on-campus activities. All staff who are deemed non-essential on campus are directed to work from home, effective from Tuesday 31 March 2020, until further notice.

We have identified those staff who are essential on-campus staff and these are staff whose functions are essential to facilitate an open and operating campus. We will continue to review this list and it may be amended as the situation evolves.

  • Vice-Chancellor
  • Director, Office of Vice-Chancellor
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Incident Convenors
  • Associate Vice-Chancellors and Campus Deans

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Innovation)

  • DVC Education & Innovation; PVC International; Director, Learning & Teaching
  • Library Services: Collections Services Team and Research Services Team (rostered)
  • Strategic Partnerships and Executive Education (rostered)
  • Learning and Teaching Centre: E-Learning Advisors and Educational Designers (rostered)
  • ACU International: Student Advisors and Office Reception Staff (rostered)
  • ACU College: Student Support Staff in Brisbane and Melbourne (rostered)

Corporate Services

  • Human Resources: Payroll Services
  • Information Technology: Campus IT Service Delivery
  • Properties & Facilities: Facilities Management, Campus Concierge, Cleaning & Security
  • Student Administration: AskACU Campus Service Centres
  • Student Engagement Services: Campus Residences

Vice-President

  • Campus Ministry

Faculties

  • Academic and Professional Staff (rostered)

Am I eligible for Australian Government’s wage stimulus or JobKeeper payments?

No, ACU is exempt from this stimulus measure and therefore employees at ACU are not eligible for JobKeeper payments. You or your household may be eligible for other support. Government information can be found here.

Information for sessional academic staff

Our sessional academic workforce is part of our core workforce and staff are committed to delivering quality teaching. The university makes a commitment to our sessional workforce through providing programmed work related to a teaching session.

Where the work no longer exists, for example because the university is closed, or the work at hospital, school or similar no longer exists, ACU will continue to pay sessional academic staff for their programmed work for the current teaching session. Programmed work means an employment contract is in place and it outlines the work to be undertaken, when and where, and includes lecturing, tutoring, clinical nurse (practicum), and practice teaching supervision.

Sessional academic staff may also be asked to contribute to other relevant and applicable work activities, as the university transitions to modes of online delivery.

If sessional academic staff are impacted by the rescheduling of the mid-semester break to 23-27 March (instead of 13-17 April), they should raise this with their supervisor.

If a sessional academic staff member is unable to work from home because they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have an influenza-like illness, the university will continue to pay for their programmed work for the current teaching session.

The sessional academic staff member should talk with the lecturer-in-charge, complete a reporting form for staff, and notify Service Central of the sick leave details. This must be supported by a medical certificate from a registered health practitioner.

If a sessional staff member has programmed work for the current teaching session and elects not to attend or perform the work, ACU will not continue to pay them.

Information for ACU College and Centre for Languages staff

ACU College and the Centre for Languages are continuing to offer many courses. However, where ACU decides to withdraw short courses which have already been offered, and the associated work no longer exists, ACU will pay sessional teaching staff for the scheduled work associated with that short course.

Please see the section about sessional staff above for further details.

Online resources

Staff working remotely should be aware that VPN is only required for you to access resources on the ACU network, for instance your network drives. 

All online tools used to support learning and teaching do not require VPN to run. These include Zoom, Echo360, Adobe Connect and Teams. Further information can be found in this Service Central article and if you need support, please contact Service Central

I am feeling worried and uncertain – what support is available to me?

Home isolation, quarantine periods and/or the spread of COVID-19 can be stressful and may leave you feeling concerned. Support services are available for staff who may feel anxious or distressed. Information regarding these services is available here.

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

The majority of ACU staff are currently working remotely. In some states and territories, there is government advice to keep your children at home unless you cannot work from home. In others, schools have implemented additional pupil free days, or extended school holidays.

In some cases, schools or daycare centres have been closed either temporarily or permanently.

ACU is mindful of the challenges faced by many staff and their families and is continuing to review its approach in response to rapidly changing circumstances.

If you are impacted by school or daycare closures and you are concerned about your ability to undertake all or some of your work, whether on-campus or remotely, you are encouraged to speak to your supervisor in the first instance.

Staff are expected to plan for scheduled school holidays as usual. Personal/carer’s leave is not generally available to provide care for children in school holidays (except in specified circumstances e.g. when a child is sick and cannot attend usual care). Staff can also access personal leave for pupil free days (up to four days each year), where additional pupil free days have been implemented in some states.

Staff who are required to provide short term, emergency care to children because of school or daycare closures are eligible to apply for personal/carer’s leave. Generally, the university would take the view that three days provides cover for the immediate emergency and for staff to make necessary arrangements or adjustments. However, ACU will allow staff to access personal/ carer’s leave until the commencement of normal school holidays where there are no alternatives (e.g. another member of the household who can provide or share care). Staff must provide evidence of the school’s closure with their leave application.

Many schools are open and there is no other enforceable government directive not to send children to school. If you elect to keep your child at home and you are concerned about your ability to undertake all or some of your work, whether on-campus or remotely, you should discuss all the options available with your supervisor.

Similarly, where longer term or non-emergency care for children due to school closures is needed, staff should discuss all the options available with their supervisor.

These options include working remotely, working flexible hours, alternating carer’s leave with a partner, taking annual leave or long service leave, and when these are exhausted, leave without pay. 

In many cases, staff may be able to work from home for their usual, reduced, or modified hours. Staff should speak with their supervisor about their arrangements. ACU has protocols (PDF) in place for working remotely in the context of COVID-19.

How do I respond to a student’s request for attendance exemptions?

Online and face-to-face teaching were suspended from Friday 20 March, with teaching resuming on Monday 30 March, including at ACU College.

During this time our academics and professional services staff are working to adapt campus-based delivery of our units to modes of online delivery, wherever feasible. The majority of ACU courses are now being offered online, with a small number of exceptions.

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 supervisor for escalation to the relevant dean or director.

If I have had a positive diagnosis of covid-19, who do I report it to?

Please formally notify ACU that you are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once your form is submitted, the university will contact you to discuss arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

If I am required to self-isolate, who do I report it to?

Please formally notify ACU that you are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once your form is submitted, the university will contact you to discuss arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

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

Please ask them to formally notify ACU that they are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once their form is submitted, the university will contact them to discuss arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

Can I return to work or study after having a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Any staff member or student who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection must follow health guidelines and directions from health professionals. ACU will require evidence that you have been assessed by your treating health professionals as no longer infectious.

NSW Health advises that people with confirmed COVID-19 infection are required to stay in isolation under the care of medical specialists until they are no longer experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Before being released from isolation, a person who had a confirmed COVID-19 infection must have tests to determine whether they have recovered and are no longer infectious. Once they are discharged, they will have a follow up assessment by the medical team to make sure they remain well.

Vaccines

Fluvax (private) is now available at the ACU Medical Centres. Please call ahead for an appointment to ensure a minimal wait time and meet the requirements of social distancing.

Please note that this is not the subsidised flu vaccine program that is organised by the university every year for ACU staff members. Arrangements for the university’s flu vaccine program is being brought forward and information will be communicated soon.

Office resources

There is limited access to campus buildings. If you have essential items that you need to collect from your office, you should do so where practicable and while this is still possible. If your security card does not allow after-hours access you will need to make sure you do so during business hours.

If you need to take ACU equipment to work from home, you must seek permission and log this with IT to ensure that we have a register of all our assets and where they are.

ACU acknowledges that some staff may require additional equipment to work remotely. 

Staff may also incur costs associated with additional internet access requirements, office supplies and telephone use.

What do I need to do if I have ACU equipment at home?

In a number of cases, staff have arranged to use ACU equipment at home. If this applies to you, please obtain permission from your supervisor, keep a record of the equipment and follow any specific instructions from your supervisor or Faculty, School or work area. This is to ensure that we have a register of all ACU assets and where they are.

All ACU equipment will need to be returned at the end of this period.

Will ACU reimburse me for expenses I incur while working remotely?

No, but you may be able to claim expenses in your annual tax return. Please keep appropriate records and seek professional advice about your circumstances.

More information from the Australian Taxation Office is available here.

What technical support can ACU provide?

While you are working remotely IT will continue to provide support for ACU equipment and systems. You can lodge a Service Central request for IT support here.

The Work Health & Safety team can assist with information about how to set up your workspace correctly and generally to assess the safety of your remote working arrangement. Information about setting up your workspace can be accessed here.

Any incidents while working remotely should be lodged in riskware.

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

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

If you are required to self-isolate and your work cannot be done remotely, you will need to take Personal Sick Leave until cleared to return to work.

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

You will need to advise your supervisor and take Personal Sick Leave until cleared to return to working (remotely).

What if all or part of my job can’t be done from home?

If you are concerned about your ability to undertake all or some of your work remotely, you are encouraged to speak to your supervisor in the first instance who will seek advice from Human Resources about all the options.

Staff should discuss all the options available with their supervisor. These options include taking annual leave or long service leave, and when these are exhausted, leave without pay. In many cases, staff may be able to work remotely for their usual, reduced, or modified hours.

Staff may be asked to contribute to other relevant and applicable work activities, where their usual work cannot be performed remotely, or because operational requirements have changed.

Information for casual staff

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

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 as they arise.

Is the university operating as usual?

The mid-semester break was brought forward and the majority of courses were moved online from Monday 30 March. This includes ACU College.

The majority of ACU courses are fully online, with a small number of exceptions.

While most of our courses are online, the campuses and some facilities, including libraries, will remain open for the moment.

Libraries

While the New South Wales and Victorian governments have released their stage three restrictions, places of education remain exempt. As such ACU campuses, and our libraries, remain open.

Access is restricted to students and staff through your ID Card with strict social distancing enforced. Information on opening hours is available via the Library website. Please use libraries only for research and online education – they are not communal meeting points or centres of social activity.

Our virtual library is operating as usual with online resources available 24/7 and you can contact us via chat (24/7) or email. In the event that the government closes university libraries, our library is prepared to go to a fully online service.

Can students study online?

Our academics and professional services staff are working to adapt campus-based delivery of our units to modes of online delivery, wherever feasible. The majority of ACU courses will be fully online, with a small number of exceptions. We’ll be in touch with the details very soon so please keep an eye on your emails.

While most of our courses will be online, during this week of paused classes and when classes resume on 30 March, the campuses and some facilities, including libraries, will remain open.

Strict social distancing will be enforced, especially in areas like libraries and computer labs. They are areas for research and the use of teaching infrastructure for activities like online education. They are not communal meeting points or centres of social activity. In the event that the government closes university libraries, our library is fully prepared to go to online service.

The Critical Incident Response Group Convenor, Dr Stephen Weller, has been in touch with the NTEU ACU President and ACUNSA President and will continue to inform these representatives of our considerations.

Will student assessments and exams be going ahead?

Please see heading under “Online FAQ for students”.

Student placements

Please see heading under “Online FAQ for students”.

What is happening with Autumn graduations?

Autumn graduation ceremonies have been cancelled.

Refunds for payment of ceremony fees, guest tickets and graduation services submitted via the Graduation registration portal started on Monday 23 March.

Graduands should expect to receive the funds by Tuesday 31 March. Refunds are automatic and graduands do not need to take any further action. 

Refunds are being made to the account that made the original transaction. If graduands made additional purchases or multiple orders, they will receive separate refunds for these.

The Graduation Office has been in email contact with all graduands who opted to attend their autumn ceremony. The Graduation Office is also contacting any graduands who had not completed registration to advise of the current situation. 

ACU confers awards at graduation ceremonies. As we are unable to hold these ceremonies, the Graduations Office is working on protocols for the conferral of awards and the release of documents to the autumn graduands.

The Graduations Office continues to liaise with our external ceremony venues in relation to opportunities to schedule alternative celebrations in 2020. Neither the venues nor ACU can yet confirm or schedule alternatives due to the unprecedented and unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As progress is made, we will remain in contact with our graduands; it is critical that graduands monitor their email for updates.

Will the Census date for Semester 1 be changing?

The census date for Semester 1 remains 31 March. If you persist with your studies but they have been impacted by COVID-19, we’re here for you.

We’re considering a range of flexible responses to concerns. If you’re experiencing short-term issues related to an assessment task, you may be eligible for an extension, special consideration or a deferred examination. And if you need to withdraw due to illness, employment, family or personal reasons, you can apply to withdraw without penalty. If that’s the case for you, please contact AskACU.

What if I have to withdraw from studying after the census date?

You may be able to apply to withdraw from a unit/s without academic or financial penalty after the census date in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Where you are experiencing ongoing, significant difficulty in studying online.
  • Where ACU has been unable to provide you with a professional experience placement.
  • Where ACU has been unable to provide you with continued access to a unit which you were enrolled in.
  • If you have an Educational Inclusion Plan and ACU has been unable to provide you with ongoing reasonable adjustments.

In these circumstances you should apply using the Recredit of Fees (RE) process and provide the requested documentation.

I live in a university residence or accommodation and have concerns. What can I do?

Please contact the student accommodation team in your state for support.

Classes and coursework

How long will classes be online only?

Effective Monday 30 March, most courses will move to online teaching to minimise the spread of COVID-19. The exceptions are those courses with a significant practical component.

Prepare for all of Semester 1 to be online and we will reassess for Semester 2.

We understand that some of you may feel uncomfortable about this shift to online classes. This has been a necessary move to ensure you can continue your studies safely in the current climate. We’ll get you back on campus as soon as we can.

Which classes will be delivered online?

Most courses will move to online teaching from Monday 30 March. The exceptions are those courses with a significant practical component.

For units of study with labs, studios and other practical course components, online or remote arrangements will be put in place or will be suspended to later in the semester, or the year, and will be delivered in an intensive mode.

Do I still have to attend face-to-face classes/labs/practicals?

From Monday 30 March, all face-to-face teaching will be suspended. When stipulated by the Australian Government and deemed safe, practical classes will resume.

These face-to-face classes will be delivered in intensive mode later in the year, and we are currently developing online modules to help you prepare for these. As the climate is uncertain, we cannot specify a resumption date of face-to-face practicals.

Will my practical experience placements still go ahead?

If you are a student enrolled in a practical experience unit or a unit containing practical experience where ACU is unable to currently provide a placement (or approved alternative activity), you can remain enrolled in that unit and we will attempt to provide you with a placement at a later date. This is, however, likely to be outside the semester.

If we’re not able to provide you with a placement, will be able apply to withdraw from the affected unit without academic or financial penalty up until the end of the year using the Recredit of Fees (RE) process

How will assessments be conducted? Will there be any changes to my assessments?

Details about assessments and any assessment changes will be communicated to you by your Lecturer in charge, and these may be included in an update to the unit outline.

Will I still have exams?

It is possible that you may still need to complete an exam for some of your units this semester. Details will be available on LEO and/or communicated to you via your Lecturer in charge. If relevant to you, an examination schedule will be emailed to you or, once exams are scheduled, check the Exam Timetables page.

Resources for online learning

What does online learning mean, and how can I effectively learn online?

ACU is providing students with resources and support to help with the transition to online study arrangements. Your learning resources and activities will run through LEO, and may use other tools such as Adobe Connect, Zoom, MS Teams, Echo360 and Turnitin.

It's important to check in regularly for new resources and announcements and to keep communicating with your teachers and classmates. Make the most of every opportunity to engage through discussion boards and collaborative activities with your teachers and classmates. You might want to set up a schedule in your calendar and with your classmates, so that you follow lectures and study together at set times.

For help using tools online, contact AskACU.

What learning resources or adjustments are available for students with disabilities?

We understand that the move to online learning may pose some additional challenges for students with disabilities, and adjustment may be required. Regardless of whether you have registered for disability support and already have an active Education Inclusion Plan (EIP), the different nature of the online learning method may raise concerns with our students.

If you have concerns, in the first instance, you should contact your lecturer in charge to discuss your needs, either in relation to your EIP adjustments or otherwise.

Will I have access to recorded lectures?

Your Lecturer in charge will provide information regarding the format of your classes. This may include live streaming or webinar at the scheduled class time or pre-recorded content. Pre-recorded lectures may form part of your learning resources package. We strongly encourage you to explore all the resources provided to you.

How can I access library resources?

Library online services are operating as normal and are available to you whether you are on or off campus. View the library opening hours for each campus.

If you attend a library on campus, remember to practise physical distancing and good hygiene, as recommended by the Australian Government Department of Health.

If you are off campus, you can contact library staff by text and 24/7 online live chat. The Library staff have also increased the monitoring of their Ask Your Librarian email service to ensure swift responses to your queries.

If you have never used the library services from home, now is a good time to check them out and make sure you can sign in. Read more about off-campus access.

Do I need to bring my student ID card to access the library on campus?

Yes, from Monday 30 March 2020, students will need to use their ACU student ID cards in order to access the library on campus.

If you don’t currently have an ID card, you can order your ID card online. When ordering your card, please select your local Self Service Kiosk or ‘online’ from the drop-down menu. Your card will be ready to be collected from the Self Service Kiosk for students within 24 hours; pleasecheck the location of the kiosk before collection. Learn more about how to order your card in the AskACU knowledge library.

Technology and support

The following FAQ only provides answers to general technology and support questions. If you have a more complex question, please contact AskACU directly for assistance.

I don’t have internet access at home, or my internet connection isn’t reliable – how can I continue my studies?

All ACU campuses remain open and the Wi-Fi network, libraries, computer labs, research and study spaces will be available to students who need to use them. Social distancing and health precaution measures will be observed.

I don’t have a computer or a laptop – can I continue with my studies?

You’ll be able to access all online learning materials via your smart phone or tablet devices (if available). If you cannot access these materials, please contact AskACU. Alternatively, university computer labs will remain open and available to staff and students who need to use them.

I am not very tech-savvy – is there anyone who can help me?

Our AskACU staff are available to help with basic technical assistance. For more complicated queries, the team will direct you to the appropriate IT Support staff for further assistance.

The AskACU team is available from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 8.30pm:

  • Call 1300 275 228
  • SMS 0427 522 268
  • Enquire online AskACU

You can also access online chat between 9am and 5pm.

I have technical issues with using one of the learning platforms – what do I do?

With any technology-related issues, we recommend you contact AskACU in the first instance. If you can, please provide a screenshot of the issue you are experiencing so staff can assist you more effectively.

The AskACU team is available from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 8.30pm:

  • Call 1300 275 228
  • SMS 0427 522 268
  • Enquire online AskACU

You can also access online chat between 9am and 5pm.

I am experiencing technical/systems issues but it’s after business hours – what do I do?

We understand tech issues can be frustrating, especially if these happen after hours. In this instance, please take a screenshot of the issue you are experiencing and email it to AskACU via your student email account. AskACU will attend to your issue as soon as possible.

What online teaching software am I expected to use/download?

All classes will be delivered either via Adobe Connect, Zoom or Microsoft Teams (MS Teams). You can access these tools either through a downloaded app or your web browser. Your Lecturer in charge will provide a link for you to join the online class.

Your lecturers will let you know which software to use for your specific units. More detailed information can also be found in LEO.

How do I use Adobe Connect?

Adobe Connect is an online application used for video conferencing, webinars, and as a live classroom teaching tool. Staff and students can communicate synchronously using voice and video, utilising features such as screen sharing, text chat, interactive whiteboards, application sharing, instant polling, and breakout rooms.

For more on using Adobe Connect and related technical support, access how to use Adobe Connect on the staff website.

How do I install and use Zoom?

Zoom is an online meeting platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops and phones. Zoom is easy to use, but please take some time to test all features such as video, audio and microphone.

Students are not required to have a Zoom account and can join classes using the links sent from the teacher. For the best experience, however, we do recommend every user download the Zoom application on their preferred Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, or Android device.

Download the Zoom app

How do I install and use Microsoft Teams on my computer?

Microsoft Teams is a hub for team collaboration and can be used for video conferencing, team chat and calls. You can access this platform in multiple ways:

  • from your browser
  • with a Teams app on your computer (Windows and Mac)
  • from an app on your mobile device (Apple or Android).

To access a class, you can join through the calendar in your Teams app or using the links sent from the teacher.

How do I access LEO?

LEO is ACU’s Learning Environment Online (LEO) where you will find most of your unit information, learning activities, readings, quizzes and assessments. Wherever you are, if you have internet access, you should be able to access LEO.

Read more about how to access LEO

For LEO-related technical support, please visit the support FAQs on LEO.

How do I access Echo360 lecture recordings?

If your lectures are recorded using Echo360, there will be a link inside your LEO unit to the list of recordings. Learn more about Echo360.

How will other people know who I am when I use these online tools?

As more of you study remotely, it’s a good idea to upload or update your photo in Office 365. This will mean that when you attend video conferences or use ACU collaboration tools, your classmates can recognise you more easily.

To find out how to do this, check out this AskACU article for students.

Do I need a VPN to access resources on the ACU network?

No, a VPN is not needed for students at all. It is only needed for staff to access resources on the ACU network (eg network drives).

None of the online tools used to support learning and teaching require a VPN to run. These include:

  • Zoom
  • Echo360
  • Adobe Connect
  • Microsoft Teams

Study challenges

I’m experiencing difficulties and these issues are my affecting assessment tasks – what should I do?

If the conditions you are experiencing are short-term and are related to an assessment task, you may be eligible to apply for an extension, special consideration or a deferred examination. You should follow the relevant, normal process as identified in Section 3 of the Assessment Procedures:

  • Application for extension of time for an assignment (EX)
  • Application for special consideration (SC)
  • Application for deferred examination/s (DE)
  • Application for special adjustments – Central examinations (SA)

I’m worried that I may have to withdraw after census date – will there be a penalty?

You may also be able to apply to withdraw from a unit/s without academic or financial penalty after the census date in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • where you are experiencing ongoing, significant difficulty in studying online
  • where ACU has been unable to provide you with a professional experience placement
  • where ACU has been unable to provide you with continued access to a unit in which you were enrolled
  • if you have an Educational Inclusion Plan and ACU has been unable to provide you with ongoing reasonable adjustments.

In these circumstances you should apply using the Recredit of Fees (RE) process and provide the requested documentation.

Placements

My class has a lab, clinical placements, studio or other practical course component. How will this be managed?

We are committed to ensuring you fulfil the necessary requirements to graduate and register for professional practice, if this is a requirement of your degree. 

The Vice-Chancellor and Executive Deans are in discussions in all states and at all levels of government to secure as many placements as possible during this time. Many placements are still occurring, so please monitor your university email account for updates specific to your program.

For units of study with labs, studios and other practical course components, online or remote arrangements will be put in place or will be suspended to later in the semester, or the year, and will be delivered in an intensive mode.

What happens if my placement is cancelled?

If your placement facility/host organisation cancels your placement as a result of COVID-19 you will receive an email from the Placement Operations team notifying you of this. Academic staff and the Placement Operations team will be working collaboratively on alternative placement options. Individual plans will be communicated to any affected students by your Placement Officer.

Support and wellbeing

I’m feeling anxious or worried about COVID-19 – are there any support services available for me?

It is normal to feel anxious or distressed about COVID-19, your family, home isolation, and your finances. If these feelings are starting to affect your mental or physical wellbeing, we encourage you to:

If you are an international student, you can also contact your International Student Advisor for advice, information and guidance.

I’ve lost my job now that businesses have shut with COVID-19. What resources are available to help?

The Australian Government has announced new funding for eligible domestic tertiary students. Learn more at Services Australia.

If you have lost your job, please contact the Career Development Service for advice, support, information and employment opportunities.

Will I still be able to access all the support services I’d normally be able to receive on campus?

Absolutely. All the support services you would normally receive on campus are still available to you either online, via video conferencing, or over the phone.

While not all of staff are physically present on campus, you can still email our student support services or arrange an appointment through the online booking system.

Email or speak to a CounsellorDisability AdvisorAcademic Skills AdvisorCareers AdvisorStudent Advocacy Officer or Student Enrichment Advisor

I have a disability and need help with my online learning – what do I do?

If you have a disability or health condition which may impact your study, arrange an appointment with a Disability Advisor to talk via Skype, phone or online chat.

Stay connected and engaged

How can I stay connected with my fellow students?

All on-campus events have unfortunately been cancelled, but we encourage you to follow your campus student association on Facebook, as well as the ACU National Student Association (ACUNSA) or the ACU Postgraduate Association (ACUPGA).

Online activities, such as weekly online Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) and online modules for the Leading with Impact leadership program, will also be available.

What is the latest I can arrive for Semester 1, 2020?

If you have been unable to travel to Australia to commence or resume your studies, or impacted in any other way, please contact ACU International at international.admissions@acu.edu.au, or on +612 9739 2437 to let us know:

  • your situation
  • if you are experiencing difficulties with the exclusion arrangements
  • if you are concerned about your enrolment, fees or other issues related to your studies.

You can also visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website or contact international.students@dese.gov.au.

I am an international student. Can I still apply, receive an offer or accept a place for a future semester?

Program availability for Semester 2, 2020 and Semester 1, 2021 remains currently unchanged. You can still submit applications, respond to offers and accept their places.

We are aware how challenging and dynamic the current situation is. We will ensure you are kept as up to date as possible about any changes that may impact your study plans.

What if I have accepted my Letter of Offer but my plans need to change due to a travel restriction or ongoing issues in relation to COVID-19?

If you have accepted a place for a future intake but find that you are unable to travel to Australia due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions or another impact of COVID-19, you will have the option to defer your studies to a future semester intake or seek a refund.

I am offshore and have accepted my offer and have received my COE- should I apply for my student visa?

Please contact your local Australian High Commission or Embassy for further information on student visa processing arrangements in your country of application.

I am currently in Australia and studying/working/undertaking a preparatory program. Should I delay my application or acceptance?

All applications, offers and acceptances are currently being processed so please submit your application or accept your offer for study.

Please be aware that should you travel outside of Australia whilst there are travel restrictions in place, you will not be able to gain entry until the travel restrictions are lifted.

I have accepted my place for Semester 2, 2020 – will my program be put online?

ACU is currently working to adapt campus-based delivery of our units to modes of online delivery, wherever feasible. Further updates on on-campus and online and face to face delivery availability for Semester 2, 2020 will be posted here as soon as it is available.

What will happen with my ARC/NHMRC funded project?

The ARC and NHMRC have confirmed that any variations to funded “research projects and researchers that have been directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic” can be considered via their usual post-award procedures. Impacts may involve “changes in circumstances, including scope changes, personnel changes, suspensions and extensions to end dates”. The ARC and NHMRC will consider variation and extension requests on a case-by-case basis.

What can I still do?

Researchers should consider strategies to progress your research projects during these periods of unavoidable delay, including ways to continue project development, literature reviews, meta-analyses, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation and grant application development (most grant schemes are still reviewing application as usual).

These strategies may include, moving to phone, online or virtual meetings, testing and collaboration using audio/visual tools. If strategies require changes in research protocols, project plans, budgets or ethics approvals, we can help you manage this via the usual post-award processes and by an ethics modification.

What if my funded research cannot be conducted in any manner other than face-to-face?

Review the latest information and communications from your funding body to check if this research can be delayed/extended. If the research can be extended and conducted at a later date and you would like to do so, notify your research team and submit the details and budget variation to the post-award team. Notify the contracts team of your proposed changes and ensure they are able to be made from a contractual perspective. If the research cannot be extended and the project must be closed down, please contact post-award.

Can I continue research that does not involve face-to-face contact with participants?

Yes. Research that is able to be conducted remotely and that does not place researchers or research participants at increased risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection may continue as approved.

What should I tell my research partners?

The contract milestones and timeframes in research contracts and agreements for your project will very likely be affected.  Legal issues may arise from extended time frames or changes to protocols.  The contract parties will be able to consider these changes and usually agree to an appropriate outcome.  However, you must contact the Office of Research Services (the Director, A/Prof Michael Baker and the Research Contracts Team) before you contact or make arrangements with any other party or funder for your project. 

What if ACU is not the lead/sponsoring organisation on my research?

Many ethics applications are reviewed and approved by other organisations and registered with ACU. In these cases, we recommend that researchers defer to the COVID-19 protocols being instituted by the lead or sponsoring organisation, which in most cases will align with ACU’s protocols.

What should I do with my honours student project?

Given the short timeframe available to complete an honours project, the indefinite period of suspension, and the uncertainty of how government action may extend, these projects should be modified to continue without the need for face-to-face data collection.

How will this affect my HDR candidature?

Candidates should contact their Principal Supervisor and, where appropriate, the Faculty Associate Dean Research to discuss strategies and decide an appropriate course of action for their research project.

In general, candidates whose research does not involve face-to-face interactions, or whose research can be undertaken remotely, should proceed as normal in consultation with their Principal Supervisor.

Candidates whose research project involves face-to-face interactions/contact must cease those activities and, in consultation with their Principal Supervisor, consider strategies to progress their research during these periods of unavoidable delay. Strategies may include literature reviews, meta-analyses, data collection, data analysis (as appropriate).

If appropriate and in discussion with their Principal Supervisor, a candidate may apply to vary their candidature. Refer HDR Regulations. Requests to vary candidature should be submitted as normal via Orion.

What about variation or suspension of my HDR stipend scholarship?

As normal, any request to suspend or vary a HDR stipend scholarship will be considered on a case-by-case basis as it depends on the source of the funding, conditions of award, and how far the student has progressed in their candidature.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please note that our team in the Office of Research Services will be managing a very high volume of changes to research projects; your patience is appreciated.

Are there any restrictions on international travel for staff and students?

The Australian Government has raised the travel advisory for the entire world to a level 4 – do not travel, and DFAT has told Australians travelling overseas to return home as soon as possible.

All university-related international travel and new travel bookings by staff and students have been suspended until 31 July 2020. ACU is monitoring the situation closely, and we will continue to follow Australian Government recommendations.

If you have university related travel planned within this timeframe and you have questions, please contact AskACU or speak to your supervisor.

Please note that ACU’s Rome Campus is closed until further notice, in line with the Italian Government closure of schools and universities. 

Are there any restrictions on domestic travel for staff and students?

All university-related domestic travel for staff and students is suspended until 31 July 2020. Exceptions for essential domestic travel for staff will require approval by the relevant member of the Senior Executive Group.

I am overseas, what should I do?

Immediate and reasonable steps must be taken to return to Australia. Upon arrival in Australia you will need to follow Australian Government directions and enter mandatory isolation for 14 days.

I have an international holiday planned, what should I do?

The Australian Government has raised the travel advisory for the entire world to a level 4 – do not travel, and DFAT has told Australians travelling overseas to return home as soon as possible. We therefore strongly advise you to reconsider any international travel plans at this time.

If you elect to travel overseas regardless of Australian Government advice, please note that your return to Australia will be impacted due to enhanced border control measures to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the Australian community. Staff members must plan their leave arrangements to include the 14-day mandatory isolation period.

Before proceeding on leave, discuss with your nominated supervisor whether working remotely can be accommodated during your 14-day mandatory self-isolation period. All working remotely arrangements during this period must be approved by your Director or Executive Dean before you can proceed. Where this cannot be accommodated, you will need to apply for annual leave, long service leave (if applicable), or leave without pay.

Support services

Home isolation, quarantine periods and the spread of COVID-19 can be stressful and may leave you feeling concerned. Support services are available for students and staff who may feel anxious or distressed. Information regarding student services is available here and information about staff services is available here

Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry continues to provide pastoral and spiritual wellbeing support to the ACU community, whether it be on campus or online. To contact Campus Ministry staff or an ACU Chaplain please visit the ACU website.

Medical Centers

ACU medical centres on the Brisbane and Melbourne campuses remain open. Please check the website (Brisbane, Melbourne) for information about services and opening hours. All services will be bulk billed at this time.

Medicare has approved new item numbers so a lot of the medical centres’ services are available via telephone consults. Doctors can fax scripts and blood test results. To make an appointment please call the ACU medical centres and the team will take you through the process.

Please note that the telehealth service is only available to existing patients.

If you think you might have COVID-19, please do NOT attend a medical centre without calling ahead and speaking to one of our nurses first, to avoid the risk of spreading it further.

If you can’t access an ACU medical centre, please contact your regular GP or your local medical centre for advice.

Who does this information apply to?

ACU staff and students travelling on university business, or for a university-approved activity.

Am I covered by travel insurance for cancellation of a trip?

Trip booked prior to 31 January 2020 (excluding China)

Travel insurance in relation to COVID-19 is based on two factors – the Australian Government’s DFAT travel advice level at the time of booking (see levels above), and whether your cancellation is due to a change of mind (including change of mind by destination conference organisers) rather than a change in travel advice.

If you book a trip to a country listed as levels 1–3 on the Smart Traveller website at the time of booking, and these countries are later upgraded to a level 4, then you can claim cancellation under the ACU policy.

Trip booked from 31 January 2020 (excluding DFAT level 4 regions/countries)

If you book a trip to a region/country including countries you need to transit through to, listed as levels 1–3 on the Smart Traveller website at the time of booking, and these regions/countries including countries you need to transit through to, are later upgraded to a level 4 due to COVID-19, you can’t claim for deposits or cancellation costs under the ACU policy due to COVID-19 being considered a ‘Foreseeable Event’. These costs will not be covered by a central university budget. You will still be covered for medical by the travel insurance whilst travelling.

If I book a trip to, or transiting through, a region/country already listed as level 4, am I covered by travel insurance?

No, you can’t claim for medical, deposits or cancellation costs under the ACU policy. There is no insurance cover for this destination.

Does insurance cover me for cancellation if there is NO change in DFAT level for the destination after I have booked, but I have changed my mind about travelling?

No.

What if I contract the virus while travelling?

If you contract the virus while travelling or transiting through a level 1 to 3 country, the usual medical cover applies.

If you contract the virus while travelling or transiting through a level 4 country, medical cover does not apply.

If you contract the virus while travelling or transiting through a country which was upgraded to level 4 after you left Australia, medical cover will apply. In this instance you should take immediate and reasonable steps to leave the region/country.

Should I make an insurance claim?

Should you and/or your travel plans be impacted by COVID-19, a claim should still be made, and the university’s insurer will review these on a case-by-case basis.

Where can I get more information or make a claim?

Staff members with queries or claims, please email insurance.finance@acu.edu.au

We ask staff to cancel or postpone all non-essential events, and to move business meetings to video or phone conference.

Protocols for ACU events and meetings

ACU campuses remain open to students and staff, and we are increasing our ability to deliver teaching online to provide flexibility for our students. The university has developed protocols on the running of, and attendance at, events and meetings scheduled by ACU, on and off campus, in line with the university’s directive and protocols for management of the spread of COVID-19. The protocols can be found here (PDF).

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can make humans and animals sick. They cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases. Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.

How does it spread?

There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person. The virus is most likely spread through:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • 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.

What if I develop symptoms?

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath), you should arrange to see a doctor for an urgent assessment and avoid coming to campus. Testing can be ordered by your GP, or at a hospital emergency department.

You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and advise of your travel history or whether you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Your doctor will liaise with Public Health authorities to manage your care. You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until Public Health authorities inform you it is safe to return to your usual activities.

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

The Department of Health recommends people who have been in close contact with any confirmed COVID-19 cases be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure. Close contact is defined as requiring:

  • greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
  • sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.

What does isolate in your home mean?

You may be asked to isolate in your home if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you have come into close contact with a confirmed case (as defined above).

People who must be isolated should stay in their home and avoid public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in your home or other place of residence should be permitted on the premises. Do not allow visitors into the home or residence.

If you have contracted COVID-19 and you are sharing your home with others, you should stay in a different room from other people or be separated as much as possible. Wear a surgical mask when you are in the same room as another person, and when seeking medical care. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

If you are self-isolating for either reason, make sure that you do not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as elderly people and those who have heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated, to get food or other necessities for you.

If the university semester has started, you should notify your lecturer or supervisor of your circumstance to determine whether alternate arrangements for remote learning or working can be temporarily put in place.

If you must leave the home or residence, for example to seek medical care, you should wear a surgical mask if you have one.

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

How can we help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • avoid close contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, shaking hands and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • avoid handshakes
  • stay 1.5 meters away from each other where possible.

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