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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. As we are nearing the end of the first half of 2020, we are looking forward and planning for the remainder of the year.

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 will return 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 at COVIDsupport@utas.edu.au or phone us on 1300 826 663 or +61 3 6226 2600.

Frequently asked questions

Can I go on campus?

For the second half of 2020, there will be a range of safe and exciting activity returning to campus. Learning, research and teaching will also continue online as it has been in recent months.

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 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

Health screening station (locations)

Play video: Managing a COVID safe return to campus

View the Staged Reopening booklet

Library access

From June 29 some of our libraries have reopened. Bookings are no longer required, however 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.

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

  • Morris Miller Library at Sandy Bay campus (250ppl): Opening hours Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.
  • Launceston Library Newnham campus (250ppl): Opening hours Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.
  • Cradle Coast Campus (23ppl): Opening hours Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.
  • The Clinical Library Hobart CBD campus (23ppl): opening hours Monday to Thursday from 9am – 5pm.

From, Monday 13 July the below libraries will reopen:

  • Carrington Smith Library (Hunter Street) (45ppl): Monday-Thursday 9am - 2.30pm
  • Rozelle Library (2ppl): Opening hours Monday - Friday 9am-5pm
  • Special & Rare Collections: opening hours Monday to Wednesday 10am – 5pm

From Monday 20 July the below libraries will reopen:

  • Law Library at Sandy Bay campus (90ppl): Opening hours Monday-Thursday 9am -5 pm

Other University libraries will remain closed until further notice and 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 building opening booklet.

I need to use computer labs and study spaces.

Some computer labs and study spaces are still open, however people must be at least 1.5 metres apart. We have a limited number of used laptops and PC’s available for loan to students.

Computer labs that are still available for general use are:

*All students have swipe access to the above labs. A full list of accessible spaces is available in this Staged Reopening booklet.

Printing: Other printing options include: Mercury Walch (Hobart), Burnie Print 'n' Design and Print Domain (Burnie). These providers have either pick up or postal options.

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:

  • Greens (next to Lazenby's):  9am-2pm Mon-Fri, for takeaway
  • 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.

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

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 been scheduled to return 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. During July and August, we will be able to open up more buildings, rooms and study areas where we can ensure student safety.

Planning is underway to bring more activities on to campuses following the mid-semester break, which begins on August 31.

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:

Activity
Delivery
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)

Our spaces and their capacity will be reviewed if physical distancing measures change.

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.

For your enrolled 'on-campus' units, you will be able to select your tutorials and other classes from the evening of June 15 in MyTimetable.

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:

  • Fast Track Safety Net Grant Scheme can provide immediate grants of up to $350 for support with living costs and study resources.
  • Safety Net Grant Scheme. Grants of up to $2,000 for emergency assistance. This funding does not need to be repaid.
  • 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 financial grants via our Safety Net Grant Scheme.

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 11am - 1pm. No appointment necessary.
  • 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 COVIDsupport@utas.edu.au

You can also make a appointment with a Disability Advisor to talk about any disability or health condition that impacts on your ability to study via Appointment Hub

Online events program and Online fitness timetable

Now you're studying entirely online, it's a good idea to set up your study-station to suit your tasks. Watch this Ergonomics expert explain how to set up your desk video (YouTube).

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. This applies to all study periods.

No Fail grades recorded

No fail grades will be recorded on student transcripts for the rest of 2020. We’ve done this to take away unnecessary worry and give students the time to ease into online learning. If a student receives a fail grade they will still need to take the unit again and they will still be invoiced for the unit. This also means that fail grades will not impact their grade point average.

Note: If you received a fail grades in the first half of 2020, it will also not be recorded and you can take unit again at no extra cost until the end of 2021

This excludes Fail grades received because of academic misconduct.

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 once results are released on the results page in the Student Portal.

Graduations

If you are set to graduate this year, you will be able to, however the manner in which you graduate may be different. All graduates will have the option of doing a walk-through at a future ceremony.

  • Winter Graduations: due to current restrictions, our Winter Graduations, scheduled for August 2020 in Hobart and Launceston have been cancelled. Graduates will receive their academic documents by mail.
  • Summer Graduations: At this stage it is too early to say whether our Summer Round of ceremonies in December will go ahead. We are monitoring both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments’ advice to inform our decision making.

Scholarships

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

Helpful graduate research resources

What financial support is available for postgraduate students?

Our new Fast Track Safety Net Grant Scheme can provide immediate grants of up to $350 for support with living costs and study resources.

Further financial support is available through our existing Safety Net Grant Scheme, which offers discretionary grants of up to $2,000. This funding does not need to be repaid – it is designed to provide emergency assistance to students who experience unexpected financial difficulties which make it hard for them to continue with their studies.

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 238.5 KB)

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

As well as the Fast Track Safety Net Grant Scheme and the Safety Net Grant Scheme, 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 will be due on 27 July, 2020. If you have any concerns about your finances or paying your fees, please get in touch with your International Student Advisers.

Payment plan applications for Semester 2 tuition fees are opening early so you can apply for a Payment Plan for Semester 2 even if you have had a previous payment plan. Apply for a Payment Plan (PDF 159.6 KB).

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

Can I get help to return home?

Some countries are offering assistance packages to return home. Ensure you are registered with your country’s embassy or High Commission in Australia so you receive all the relevant information for you. Find the contact details for your embassy or High Commission on the Consulates of Australia website.

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.

Please contact International Student Advisers for more information, or visit the Department of Home Affairs website for more information on your student visa.

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?

For information relating to visas and your study plan please book an appointment with an International Student Advisers.

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

Other information

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