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Student support during COVID-19

Our community, like others around the world, has been adapting to the impacts of COVID-19. It has been a period of challenge and enormous change, and we know that you too are facing your own challenges and having to find ways to adapt.

For the second half of 2020, a range of exciting activity has returned to campus and some learning, teaching and research will continue online. View the Staged Reopening booklet for more information on the opening phases and coming on campus.

To support you in this transition, there are a range of study, learning, wellbeing and financial supports available to you which are detailed on this page.

You might find the answer to some of your questions in the frequently asked questions below, and if not please reach out to us:

Frequently asked questions

Can I go on campus?

The easing of restrictions in Tasmania mean that we can bring life back to our campuses but we need to do that safely and in line with health and government requirements.

Students will be invited to any on-campus and face-to-face activities by their unit coordinators. Keep an eye on MyLO and your emails.

Physical distancing and other safety requirements are impacting how we can use our facilities. View the Staged Reopening booklet for more information.

All students and candidates returning to campus will be required to complete the 'COVID-safe Return to Campus' module addressing social distancing and hygiene requirements and visit a health screening point, which are being set up at campus entry points.

Complete the COVID-Safe return to campus module

Health screening station (locations) (PDF 95.1 KB)

Library access

From July 20 all of our campus libraries have reopened. To adhere to health guidelines, everyone will be required to visit a health screening point and complete the MyLO Induction module before entering the library.

On entry and exit to the libraries (or buildings containing the libraries) you must swipe with your Student or Staff ID/Access card or be manually registered as being in the space.

Physically distancing measures of 1.5 meters apart will continue and if you are feeling unwell please stay at home.

The Library has reopened a number of group study rooms for booking. Click here to find more info and book.

View the opening hours 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 building opening booklet.

I need access to books and journals.

We know how important it is for students to be able to access their study materials and we want to make this easy for you.

Our Library resources remain available online. If the books or journals you need aren't available electronically, you can request scanned copies of chapters and/or extracts which we will email to you. Simply fill out the request form and select 'scan and attach to email' as your delivery option.

What about social spaces?

As of Monday 6 July, on campus- cafe/retail hours are:

  • Lazenby's: 8.30am-2.30pm Mon-Fri,
  • Saltz (AMC):  7:00am-7.30pm everyday
  • Uni Shop and Hobart Post Office (Sandy Bay Campus):  9am-12pm Mon-Fri.
  • Uni Shop (Newnham): 9am-12pm Mon-Fri
  • Makers Workshop (Burnie):  9am-3pm Mon-Fri.  Café take-away only.

All other campus cafés and retail outlets are temporarily closed. Indoor social spaces on-campus (such as student lounge) are still being reviewed. All social spaces will have a COVID Safe Plan in place.

Sport and fitness

Sports fields and indoor sports facilities are open and can be booked on the UTASSport website or in person at one of our Unigym centres.

Unigym in Launceston and Hobart have reopened - view the fitness timetable on the Unigym website.

View the Staged Reopening booklet for more information.

What is happening for the rest of 2020?

The easing of restrictions in Tasmania mean that we can bring activity and life back to our campuses, however we need to do that safely and in line with health and government requirements.

Some activity has already returned to campus and we will be steadily adding more throughout the rest of the year. Students will be invited to these on-campus and face-to-face activities by their unit coordinators. Keep an eye on MyLO and your emails.

We are currently in Stage 3 of the Staged Reopening.

There are some things that we will not be able to do, such as large format lectures, for example. These, along with some course content, will continue to be accessible online. Our aim is to offer rich, high-value learning experiences in both the digital space and through face-to-face activities.

What activity will return to campus?

Physical distancing and other safety requirements are impacting how we can use our facilities. The 1.5m social distancing measures mean that even our largest lecture theatres and rooms can only hold a relatively small number of people at a time. This means we are not able to safely bring a significant number of students together in the spaces that we have.

Below is a guide for on-campus learning and teaching activity:

ActivityDelivery
Lectures Online
Tutorials On-campus and online
Internships/placements Face-to-face
Practical/Clinical On-campus
Field trip Face-to-face
Creative, e.g. fine arts, music On-campus (wherever possible)
Classes with specialised equipment, eg Labs, AMC On-campus (wherever possible)  

How will I know if I can go on campus for a class?

You will be invited on campus by your unit coordinators, who will also keep students informed about any changes specific to your course.

Will my timetable change?

At this stage timetables are subject to change, given the evolving nature of the easing of COVID 19 restrictions. We advise to check your timetables regularly (at least once a week) and follow any instructions provided by your unit coordinator.

Check your UTAS email regularly and stay in touch with their unit coordinators on MyLO.

Do I enrol in 'off-campus' or 'on-campus' units?

As study continues online into the second half of the year, if you applied for an 'on-campus' course, then enrol in your on-campus location because as restrictions are eased some classes will resume on campus. Only enrol in ‘off-campus’ units if are in a course that is taught entirely by distance, or you would have enrolled in distance study under normal circumstances.

Enrolment for 2021 will open late October 2020.

Am I still required to allocate my class times?

From June 15, you will be able to select the time you would like to take your lectures, tutorials or workshops for the units you have enrolled in.

Although classes are predominately online for the second half of 2020, only classes that would typically be offered as 'On-Campus' will be visible in MyTimetable.

Simply login to MyTimetable, and select from the time slots available to lock in your preferred time. Here are some handy hints if you're finding it a little bit difficult to figure out.

I am new to UTAS, where do I go?

If you are joining UTAS mid-2020, we have moved our orientation offerings online to help support you in the transitions to university life.

Head to the First Steps website for your guide to starting uni, here you will be able to access:

What is the university doing to ensure I am receiving an equivalent experience online?

We are committed to further developing and improving our online services so that we are delivering a high-quality, consistent learning experience.

To ensure that you are well supported, we are moving a range of study support, wellbeing, events and learning services online. Additionally, financial support services will continue to be available should you require them.

You can find these in the support tabs of this page.

What if there is another outbreak?

A second outbreak has been factored into planning. For example, we will only be reopening rooms/buildings that can quickly be closed in the instance of a second wave.

I am experiencing financial difficulty – what supports are there for me?

We know many jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 and we want to ensure our students have options. Below are a list of grants open to apply for students:

  • To support students through this difficult time, we have streamlined and fast tracked our student financial assistance in collaboration with the Tasmania University Union (TUU), to ensure we can be as responsive as possible to student needs.
  • The Tasmania government Rent Relief package for residential households who rent in the private market.
  • The Tasmania Community is providing a range of offerings. A list of these can be found on the Student Portal.

If you find yourself struggling financially, remember you can also talk through your options with a financial counsellor.

Will the University offer discounts for course fees or accommodation?

We are committed to providing a high quality online learning and university experience. As such, while we are not offering discounted tuition or accommodation fees, we are offering the option to enter a payment plan, as well as our student financial assistance.

If you are living in UTAS accommodation you can request a flexible payment plan for your accommodation costs by speaking with your accommodation team.

Given the move to online learning, will the University now refund the Student Services and Administration Fee (SSAF)?

During this difficult time we are providing ongoing and high quality student support across a wide range of services. SSAF is crucial funding that enables us to provide those services to you. Some of these services include; financial support, accommodation support, legal services and wellbeing services. Find out more on our SSAF website.

Is UTAS student accommodation still open?

Student accommodation remains open across the state. In some areas we may ask students to switch rooms in order to respond to emerging issues and ensure that we are able to comply with physical distancing or quarantine requirements.

I was living in UTAS accommodation and returned home, can I get my room back?

We always try our hardest to meet room preferences, however we cannot always guarantee the same room. If you vacated as a result of COVID-19, we will offer you priority for re-application for Semester 2. This means you will get a priority offer for your first preference.

I am having difficulty paying rent what should I do?

If you are living in UTAS accommodation you can request a flexible payment plan for your accommodation costs by speaking with your accommodation team.

Further, the Tasmanian Government has recently established the COVID-19 Rent Relief Scheme to support Tasmanian residents in rental accommodation who are experiencing financial hardship. You can find information about the Scheme, including eligibility requirements, at the Government’s Rental Services website.

How can I apply or re-apply for accommodation?

Applications are now open for accommodation. New residents and current residents can apply (or re-apply) in the Resident Portal found on the student living website. If you have vacated as a result of COVID-19 and you are re-applying, we will not charge you another $150 holding fee for re-application.

Who do I contact about my accommodation options?

What online IT support is there for me?

To help you transition to online learning, the following support is available:

What if I don't have access to the Internet at home?

Some phone providers are offering additional data on existing pre and post-paid mobile phone accounts during COVID-19: Telstra | Optus | Vodafone. You may be able to hotspot from your phone to your computer if you have reasonable coverage. Contact the IT Service Desk If you need assistance setting this up at home.

What online study support can I access?

  • 24/7 study help is an online 24-hour support service to give you feedback on your writing or help with a study question. Connect on MyLO via your subject units.
  • For PASS-supported units, your PASS Leader has set up a discussion board in your MyLO unit.
  • Join in Student Learning webinars
  • Career Connect is continuing to offer services online including: job application reviews, resume building, mock interviews, information sessions and workshops.
  • The Learning Lounge connects you with support staff in real-time. Drop in Monday to Friday 12pm-2pm
  • Online support services are available via Appointment Hub. You can talk on the phone or online with:
    • Career counselling
    • Disability Advisers
    • International Student Advisers
    • Personal Counsellors
    • Student Advisers
    • Student Learning Advisers
    • Student Learning Librarians

What support can I access for my wellbeing and mental health?

We understand that this might be a troubling time for you and may impact your health and general wellbeing. Confidential and free counselling is available through our counselling services. You can make an appointment through:

  1. AppointmentHub
  2. or call 1800 817 675 between 8:45am and 5:00pm Mon-Fri.
  3. Outside of business hours, please contact our University Help Line on 1300 511 709 or text on +61 488 884 168.

Free wellbeing resources

For general health the University has contacted doctors in each region to ensure their capacity and willingness to assist our students. If you are having any difficulties seeking medical advice and need support, please contact our COVID-19 helpline +61 3 6226 2600 or by email COVID@utas.edu.au

Health Apps and resources

What about my assessments and graduations for the rest of 2020?

As we head into the second half of 2020, we are extending some of the assessment flexibility options, so students can concentrate on their intended study path and focus on learning.

These options apply to all study periods.

I am concerned I might fail, what are my options?

We recognise the challenges of studying in this environment and to help support you through this time, no fail grades will be recorded for all remaining 2020 study periods. This means there will be no impact to your overall grade average (Grade Point Average GPA) and you will not have a fail recorded on your transcript.

Any fail grade received in 2020 as a result of academic misconduct is excluded from this arrangement.

You have two options:

  • Finish your unit, and if you receive a fail grade it will automatically be removed from your record and converted to withdrawn without academic penalty - the unit will appear on your academic transcript as 'WW'.
  • Withdraw from your units before the Last withdrawal without fail date – which has been extended to the end of the study periods to allow you to focus on the final assessments for any remaining units. Last withdrawal without dates can be found on the Key Dates webpage in the 'All Study Period Dates 2020' tab.

In both cases, fees for the unit remain for any units you were enrolled in beyond census date.

Arrangements for the first half of 2020

If you received a fail grade in the first half of 2020, it will also not be recorded and you have the option to repeat the unit once more at no extra cost up until the end of 2021. This option excludes fail grades received due to academic misconduct and only applies to the units you failed or withdrew from in the first part of 2020. The fee waiver is automatically applied to your record.

If you need to discuss this and your options, we are here to assist you. Please contact UConnect.

Opt to Ungraded Pass (UP)

Opting to convert to an Ungraded Pass benefits students who have consistently high results that have been affected because of COVID-19. A student can opt to convert a unit grade (i.e. pass, credit) to an Ungraded Pass.

What this means is that the unit will count toward their degree as usual, but the grade results won't impact their overall Grade Point Average (GPA). You can apply for this within 10 days of when results are released on the results page in the Student Portal.

Exams

There will be no face-to-face exams for the second half of 2020, the majority to be replaced with alternative assessments or online assessments - with the exception of some supervised exams. You will hear directly from your unit coordinator about this in MyLO or by email.

Graduations

We are excited to announce will be able to again hold graduation ceremonies in December (summer).  Those students who missed out because we were unable to hold our Winter Graduations will also be able to participate in the upcoming ceremonies.

Physical distancing and restrictions about the number of people who can attend public gatherings are still in place, and this does mean our ceremonies will look a little different. To ensure our events are safe and compliant, and to cater for the increased numbers, we will be holding a larger number of smaller ceremonies.

For those of you expecting to graduate in December, and those that have already graduated in 2020, the Graduation team will be in contact soon to provide further details about the Summer graduation round. They will provide you with the specific details of ceremonies, how and when to register to attend and other important information. More information is available on the graduations website.

For those who may wish to wait until next year to attend a ceremony, there is the possibility of an additional round being held in Autumn 2021 once, and if, public gatherings of larger numbers are allowed.

Scholarships

If you have concerns about your scholarships eligibility email u.connect@utas.edu.au

Assignment submission

Your assignments this semester will be due according to the due dates as provided by your unit outline. If you have any questions or need to discuss anything impacting upon your ability to hand your assignments in on time, please talk to you unit coordinator.

Helpful graduate research resources

What financial support is available for postgraduate students?

To support candidates through this difficult time, we have streamlined and fast tracked our student financial assistance in collaboration with the Tasmania University Union (TUU), to ensure we can be as responsive as possible to student needs.

The COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund can help renters in the private market. If you find yourself struggling financially, you can also talk through your options with a financial counsellor.

Can I still carry out my practical and lab work?

We understand the importance of your practical research and you will be supported to carry out this work where at all possible.

From May 18, some essential campus activities have returned to campus. HDR candidates who are required to be on campus will be individually invited by their unit supervisors and will be required to complete a re-induction module addressing social distancing and hygiene requirements and visit a health screening point, which are being set up at campus entry points.

Complete the re-induction module

Some buildings and facilities are temporarily closed – please contact your supervisor to discuss access to labs and other facilities. A full list of building closures, accessible space (such as computer labs and research facilities) and a safe working guide for those coming on campus is available in this Building Reopening booklet.

Can I continue with my research project?

Research can continue for the majority of our candidates. We encourage you to remain closely connected with your supervisory team, and to discuss any impacts on your research progress.

Depending on the nature of your research project, and the stage of your candidature progression, aspects of your research plan may be disrupted. For example, you may need to apply for modifications to your ethics approval, or you may need to defer field work or laboratory work. This may mean that you will need to adapt your research plan to ensure that you remain productive while unable to access facilities.

Tasks which you could perhaps do remotely include:

  • Continuing or finalising your literature review
  • writing and revising chapter drafts
  • developing papers for publication
  • undertaking professional development
  • analysing existing data sets

How can I contact the Graduate Research Office?

You can reach us at:

Full list of Graduate Research FAQs – COVID-19 (PDF 130.1 KB)

I am experiencing financial difficulty – who can I contact for help?

To support students through this difficult time, we have streamlined and fast tracked our student financial assistance in collaboration with the Tasmania University Union (TUU), to ensure we can be as responsive as possible to student needs.

Students on temporary visas can access one-off payments of $250 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families. To apply, please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. Find out more on the Tasmanian Government website.

The COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund can help renters in the private market. If you find yourself struggling financially, you can also talk through your options with a financial counsellor.

Semester 2 fees were due on 27 July, 2020. If you have any concerns about your finances or paying your fees, please get in touch with the International Student Advisers.

Remember - you should never deal with any unofficial finance or loan providers.

Can I get help to return home?

Temporary visa holders impacted by COVID-19 can make arrangements to return to their home country, if border restrictions in that country allow. If you need assistance to return to your country of citizenship, you can contact your home country's embassy or High Commission in Australia . You can also register your details so you receive all the relevant information for you.

Visit the Department of Home Affairs for more information for temporary visa holders returning home.

Will studying online impact my student visa?

With significant components of our teaching and learning continuing online for Semester 2, you may be concerned about your visa. Please be assured that the Australian Government has announced it will be flexible with regard to student visa conditions such as attendance at class or use of online learning.

If you decide to return home, or have already returned, the University will support you to continue to study your 'on-campus' course in an online mode in 2020. If you enrol in units as an on-campus student, you will still be recorded as on-campus for those units even if the unit is delivered online. If you do decide to return home to study, it’s important to let us know by contacting UConnect.

If you enrol in any units as off-campus or distance units (for example in Breadth Units), please remember that student visas have a limit on the number of units which can be studied by distance.

The Australian Government has announced a number of measures to assist student visa holders and clarify their options. these include

  • The Government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
  • International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19.
  • Student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
  • Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.

Please see the announcement for more information.

I'm a student in China. How do I access online study?

The University has established a third-party Virtual Private Network (VPN) which provides you and all other current students in China with access to the University’s My Learning Online (MyLO) system.

Instructions are detailed in Technical FAQs for students in China (PDF 196.4 KB)

Who do I call if I need to discuss my options for the rest of 2020?

Please book an appointment with an International Student Adviser if there are any issues that you feel may affect your studies. We can talk about your situation and discuss options and support that may be available.

If you need advice and assistance with enrolment please contact U.Connect@utas.edu.au.

Other information