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COVID-19: Updates for students

Support for students during COVID-19

As always, the safety of our community is our priority, and we are committed to supporting our students through this difficult time.

  • To report a case of COVID-19 and to get assistance managing self-isolation, please email cvstudenttriage@utas.edu.au
  • For assistance with managing the impact of COVID-19 on your studies, please call UConnect on 1300 826 663 or +61 3 6226 6111.

University updates for students

From Tuesday, June 9, the below libraries will be accessible to 20 people at a time. Other University libraries will remain closed until further notice.

To adhere to health guidelines, everyone will be required to visit a health screening point and have their temperature checked before entering the library. Physically distancing measures of 1.5 meters apart will continue and if you are feeling unwell please stay at home. The Library is providing hand sanitiser, and carrying out additional cleaning.

  • Morris Miller Library at Sandy Bay campus: Opening hours Monday - Friday 8.30am - 6pm. Bookings essential
  • Launceston Library Newnham campus: Opening hours Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm. Bookings essential
  • Clinical Library Hobart CBD campus: Open Monday to Thursday from 9am – 5pm. No booking required but you must visit the health screening point located at the Hobart Clinical School (2 floors up from the Clinical Library).

The collections are open and each student is allocated 1-4 hrs a week to collect library resources, use a computer or brief study time. More information can be found on the library website.

A full and comprehensive list of building closures, accessible space (such as computer labs and research facilities) is available in this handy booklet.

A message from Vice Chancellor, Rufus Black: As a member of our community, it is important you are across our approach and how it relates to you. The travel restrictions introduced to control the spread of the virus will see fewer international students coming to Australia and Tasmania in the years ahead. It also will reduce the arrival in Tasmania of interstate students.

This will result in reduced revenue. We forecast losses in revenue for the remainder of this year of $30-$34 million, and between $60-$120 million per year across the next three years.

What is important is that this will not affect the teaching or services we provide to you. In talking about our response, my first message to staff is that through this period we need to stay focused on our students and their experience. We are clear it has never been more important to make sure you have a great experience and emerge with a qualification which sets you up for whatever you want the next stage of your life to be.

The reason why this won’t impact you is that we are cutting non-staff costs such as travel, cuts that will not affect the services we provide to you. We are looking to forego increases that are due shortly. And as a university we will borrow some money to get through this time, as our government is doing, so that today’s students and staff don’t carry the disproportionate impact of this once-in-a-hundred-year event.

Further, all the University’s Executive Team and many of its leaders are making significant personal contributions from their salaries to the Student Support Appeal. In just a few weeks, along with other staff contributions, more than $360,000 has been raised, showing our personal commitment to you.

That commitment comes because we recognise these times are challenging for students. Since the emergence of COVID-19, the University has provided more than $2 million in support to alleviate hardship, including grants, help with payment plans and assistance with other costs such as computer equipment and data plans.

We will see some reduction in staff over the next few years as we become a smaller university and as we become more efficient in delivering better services to you.

In making all of these plans we have been engaged with the State and national leadership of our unions. Their leadership is supportive of the plan, and we have embraced measures such as local and national oversight by joint union-management committees to make sure everyone’s interests are well represented. It matters a great deal to us that we are working together on these things to care for students, staff and the future of the University.

As a university, while we do have challenging times ahead, we will not lose sight of the fact that our students are at the very centre of what we are here for.

1 May: UTAS begin trialling a COVID-19 health screening process at the Administration building in Sandy Bay.

6 May: The Cradle Coast campus Mooreville Road site partially reopens following an easing of restrictions imposed by the State Government for North-West Tasmania.

11 – 18 May

The University has released a three-step guide for our return to some on-campus activities.  For semester 2 2020, learning, research and teaching will continue online but from Monday, 18 May, we will introduce a small number of face-to-face activities.

All students and candidates returning to campus will be required to complete a re-induction module available in MyLO addressing social distancing and hygiene requirements and visit a health screening point, which are being set up at campus entry points.

You can view more detail around these timelines in the UTAS staged return to campus booklet.

From Monday, 18 May, Morris Miller Library at Sandy Bay campus will have restricted access of 10 people at a time. To ensure equitable access we have implemented a booking system and allocated each student and candidate 1-4 hrs a week to collect library resources, use a computer or brief study time. Updates for other University libraries will be coming soon. 

For those who need to come on campus to study, a list of open computer labs can be found in this booklet.

21 May: As a result of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 and with the restrictions on large public gatherings, unfortunately the University is unable to hold our Winter Round of graduation ceremonies scheduled for August in both Hobart and Launceston.

At this stage it is too early to say whether our Summer Round of ceremonies in December will go ahead. We hope this is the case of course and are monitoring both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments’ advice to inform our decision making. All graduates will have the option of doing a walk-through at a future ceremony. For more information about walking-through at a ceremony, please see our Key Information page.

Students identified as potential graduands for the Winter Round will be contacted in late June, as originally scheduled, with potential eligibility information. This will be sent to your UTAS email address. For more information about eligibility to graduate, please see our Eligibility page on the Graduation website

April 1/21: Announcement of flexible assessments measures:

  • No Fail Grades recorded on transcripts, with the option to take units again until the end of 2021.
  • Automatic five-day extensions for assessments
  • Extend Last Withdrawal without Fail to May 31
  • Online exams and replacement assessments

April 1/10: Further building closures announced with the opening on select computer labs and remote access.

April 12: Cradle Coast campus closes

April 24: Further financial support announced for temporary visa holders and continued UTAS financial support packages.

March 12/13: First confirmed case of COVID-19 on our Sandy Bay and Newnham campus. UTAS response

March 15/20: Temporary closures university buildings including libraries, Unigyms, multi faith centres, gallerys and cafes.

March 15/30: Financial and online learning support packages announced

Government updates

The Tasmanian Government has announced a staged easing of restrictions. From 18 May, the following guidelines apply:

  • Gatherings increase to 10 people (except visitors to households, which is capped at 5 people) for indoor and outdoor, including real estate, small religious gatherings and weddings. Funerals can extend to 30 people outdoors.
  • Restaurants and cafes in all settings (including restaurants in pubs, clubs, hotels and RSLs) to open and seat patrons of up to 10 people at a time. Seated table service only with physical distancing.
  • Border controls remain in place except domestic travelling Tasmanian residents can quarantine in their principal residence if it is suitable. International arrival arrangements remain in place.
  • Community and local government facilities and libraries allowed to open for up to 10 people.
  • Park exercise equipment and playgrounds, pools and boot camps open for up to 10 people.
  • Vulnerable people are encouraged to stay home and protect their health. (Vulnerable people includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions. People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions. People 70 years and older. People with compromised immune systems, and people with a disability).

Source: Roadmap to Recovery - 16 May (tas.gov.au)

The Tasmanian Government has announced that a staged easing of restrictions will begin from 11 May, starting with:

    • Funerals – increase from 10 to 20 attendees.
    • Aged care visits – one visit per week and no more than two visitors, managed by the facility.
    • National parks and reserves – open to residents for exercise within 30km of their home.
    • People should remain at home whenever possible and at physical distance from others to continue to prevent spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Source: Road to Recovery - 11 May (tas.gov.au)

More resources

Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, sore throat, nausea/vomiting and shortness of breath. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.
  • If you develop these symptoms, you must call a doctor, health clinic or Public Health Hotline (Tas: 1800 671 738; NSW: 1800 022 222), advise them of your situation and arrange an urgent assessment.
  • If you are having trouble accessing medical attention, please contact us on +61 3 6226 2600 or email UConnect.
  • Out-of-hours care should be accessed at the Emergency Department of your local hospital.

Mental health

We are offering online course delivery to the greatest possible extent during this period and we thank students for their patience.

For any activities where online delivery is not possible (such as Practicals), alternative approaches will be communicated to individual students.

A new 24/7 learning support service has been made available to students and you can connect with this through each of their MyLO subject units. If anything is unclear, please email U.Connect@utas.edu.au.

The COVID-19: Support for students web page provides support options on study, IT, accommodation and keeping healthy.

As a University community, we recognise the impact COVID-19 has had on our students and we are particularly mindful of the financial impacts. To support students through this difficult time the University of Tasmania has introduced a fast tracked application process for the Safety Net Grant Scheme, in collaboration with the Tasmania University Union (TUU).

The fast track application process enables enrolled students who are experiencing financial hardship to apply for grants of up to $350. This is an extension of the existing Safety Net Grant Scheme, which offers discretionary grants of up to $2,000.

Both, international and domestic students can apply for these grants. The grant is a one-off payment, not a loan and therefore does not need to be repaid.

If you would like to discuss your financial position you can always reach out to a TUU Student Advocate or speak with the TUU financial counselling services.

To apply for a Fast Track Safety Net Grant Scheme you must meet the following criteria:

  • A University of Tasmania student who is currently enrolled in a minimum of 25% study load;
  • A University of Tasmania student whose capacity for continued study may be compromised if their financial situation is not resolved;
  • Able to demonstrate unexpected and /or exceptional financial hardship due to the COVID-19 response; and
  • Able to demonstrate that you have attempted to access any other financial support options.

The Fast Track Safety Net Grant Scheme was established to provide critical support to students who are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19, which are impacting their ability to complete their studies.

The scheme can assist with:

  • Vouchers to assist with food and essential items
  • Support to access laptops, computer hardware or other technology related resources to study online as recommended by the University’s IT Services
  • Support to access learning resources that are specific to the course content and assessment requirements
  • Support to access learning resources or equipment that are specific to the accessibility needs of the student.

The Safety Scheme Net Grant Scheme does not fund payment for the following expenditure:

  • General fines including Library and parking fines
  • Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF)
  • HECS or course fees
  • University accommodation rental fees
  • Payments to credit card accounts
  • Loan payments.

Please reach out to the TUU financial counselling services if you would like to discuss your options and managing finances.

Fast Track Safety Net Grants will not be made as cash payments but will utilise gift vouchers from a defined set of retailers to contribute to or offset unexpected financial costs.

You can complete your application in the online form on this page. Application takes about 15 minutes and please have any supporting documentation ready to upload.

Once your application is submitted, it will go the Safety Net Grant Scheme Committee for review.

Applications are considered within 2 working days and you will be contacted via your UTAS email about the outcome.

During peak times, there may be some delays in the assessment of applications. However, rest assured your application will be assessed at the earliest possible time.

Apply for the Fast Track Safety Net Grant Scheme

We understand the financial impacts students may be experiencing as a result of COVID-19. To support students through this difficult time the University of Tasmania has allocated additional funding through the Safety Net Grant Scheme, in collaboration with the Tasmania University Union (TUU).

This scheme offers discretionary grants of up to $2,000 to enrolled students who are experiencing exceptional and/or unexpected financial hardship. The grant is a one-off payment, not a loan, and does not need to be repaid.

In response to COVID-19, we have developed an additional fast tracked Safety Net Grant of up to $350 which you can apply for online.

If you would like to discuss your financial position you can always reach out to a TUU Student Advocate or speak with the TUU financial counselling services.

The grant is designed to provide emergency assistance to University of Tasmania students who experience unexpected financial difficulties which make it hard for them to continue concentrating on studying. You may apply for assistance with costs incurred in everyday basic living.  The grant also offers assistance with payment of study related costs such as text books.

Please note: Payments cannot be made directly to the student. This includes reimbursements for costs that have already been taken care of by you. All accounts need to be outstanding. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Please fill out the application form (below) and email this with your supporting documents to student.advocacy@tuu.utas.edu.au

Your application will be assessed within 7 days and if there is any outstanding information you will be contacted via your UTAS email.

Safety Net Grant Scheme application form (DOCX 73KB)

In order to be able to demonstrate your eligibility and exceptional circumstancesyou will need to provide the following:

  • SNGS application form
  • Statement regarding your personal circumstances and the circumstances of your situation
  • Actual or screen shots of bank statements for all your most recent bank accounts for the last 4 weeks
  • Budget (income vs expenditure per fortnight see Part 2 of the SNGS application form)
  • Income (Centrelink statement, scholarship award letter, payslips etc.)
  • If claiming for rental support, you must include payment details for your landlord. If you are subletting, grant payments cannot be made to another tenant.

Depending on your circumstances and the items you need financial support for, you will need to provide documents evidencing those costs, e. g. quotes for text books, lease agreement for rent, bills etc.

You will know the outcome of your application within 7 days.

Each application is assessed against the eligibility criteria and judged on its own merits. The approval of a grant depends on the student’s individual circumstances and the type of assistance required.

Applications are assessed by the Safety Net Grant Scheme assessment committee who meet regularly.

Each application is reviewed at the earliest possible time.

If you need assistance please reach out to a TUU Student Advocate by calling +61 3 6226 2855 or +61 3 6226 5573 or emailing student.advocacy@tuu.utas.edu.au

Find more information on Emergency Relief Agencies in the community.