Update Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated - 31 Mar 2020 3:09pm

At this point in time, all of our TAFE Gippsland campuses remain open but with access limited only to TAFE Gippsland students and essential staff.

TAFE Gippsland is continuing to work closely with the Victorian Government in respect of the potential impacts of COVID-19 and we are following all current government advice. We are considering all measures, with the health and wellbeing of our students and staff being our first and foremost consideration.

Importantly, TAFE Gippsland has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our TAFE continues to operate in line with the advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and we have taken the step of moving away from face-to-face delivery of our courses. Where activities need to continue to occur on a campus, strict social distancing guidelines will be followed.

We are however actively moving the majority of our programs to online and other flexible modes of delivery, which are now being communicated with students and employers.

Please note that if anything changes in relation to TAFE Gippsland’s operations, we will provide the necessary advice to all people promptly.

We are closely following advice from relevant Federal and State health and government authorities to inform all our actions and ensure the safe delivery of our educational services.

In addition we would like to provide the following information to support you during this time:

Good hygiene is the best defence against COVID-19

Following good hygiene practices is the most effective way of protecting yourself from COVID-19. This includes:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating, preparing food, smoking and using the toilet. Follow these five steps every time.
    • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
  • Utilise alcohol-based hand sanitiser when you can’t use soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue - or cough into your elbow. Dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards.
  • Wherever possible avoid touching your face as this is the primary route of exposure (eyes, nose and mouth).

Use of surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who already have COVID-19 from spreading it to others. If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask.

Remain at home if you feel unwell or you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you are unwell and suspect you may have COVID-19 (cold and flu like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and breathing difficulties), we request that you remain at home and seek medical advice through the Coronavirus Hotline or your GP.

Advice for TAFE Gippsland students

TAFE Gippsland cannot stress enough the need to follow the current health advice if you or a fellow student is unwell. You MUST stay home if you are unwell and you MUST NOT present in an un-fit state of health at TAFE Gippsland.

Importantly, you must notify TAFE Gippsland immediately if you test positive for COVID-19, call 1300 133 717 and your call will be referred to our Health Safety & Wellbeing team.  We will need the following information:

  • Name
  • Campus
  • Course or program name
  • Classes attended
  • Date/time of notification
  • Contact phone number
  • Other relevant information

All student details and personal information will be subject to privacy provisions.

TAFE Gippsland will notify all relevant staff and students immediately if we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, in accordance with advice from the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS).

Student Support Services

Student Support offers free and confidential counselling, financial support and career advice. If you need extra help or are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, please contact us at: studentservices@tafegippsland.edu.au

For all up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Victoria - https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

24/7 support is also available through the following external agencies.

  • Beyond Blue (24/7 support) 1300 224 636 beyondblue.org.au - Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
  • Lifeline (24/7 support) 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au - Lifeline is a national service providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
  • Kids Help Line (24/7 support) 1800 551 800 kidshelpline.com.au - Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged up to 25.

Events

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on 29 March the National Cabinet agreed to further limit most indoor and outdoor non-essential gathering to 2 people. These procedures are intended to protect the health of our students, staff and the broader community. Consequently, the following events have been postponed:

  • Births, Deaths and Marriages – Wednesday 18, Thursday 19 and Friday 20 March
  • Education Awards Dinner – Tuesday 24 March
  • Graduation – Thursday 23 April
  • Career Advisors Seminar – Tuesday 5 May
  • East Gippsland Skills and Jobs Expo – Wednesday 13th May
  • JobSkills Expo – Tuesday 28th July
  • All Student Services events
  • All excursions

We will continue to review all future events and will update this list as required.

New dates for these postponed events will be communicated as soon as they have been set.

Campuses

Campuses will still be open to students to access services. Our libraries at Bairnsdale, Flexible Leaning Centre (Sale), Morwell, Traralgon, Warragul and Leongatha are open to use the computers, printers and loan and return books. We kindly ask that social distancing rules and good hygiene be adhered to in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. The study areas and computer banks have been adapted to accommodate these practices.

Key contact information, links and resources

Please visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus or contact the Coronavirus Health Information line on 1800 020 080 for the latest information about COVID19 in Victoria,

For any TAFE Gippsland-related COVID-19 questions, please contact us at: COVID-19@tafegippsland.edu.au or 1300 133 717.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only

Additional handy links

Resources

Our primary focus in all decision making is the health and well-being of our staff and students. We encourage everyone to take care of their personal health. If you need further advice and support, please contact the numbers and help lines we have set out above.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for TAFE Gippsland students

The following FAQs are provided as a guide to various situations, however the main contact number in all circumstances for all student absences is calling 1300 133 717 and selecting Option 5.

I have been unwell or have had a cold, should I attend class?

If you feel unwell, our advice is that you seek medical attention/advice and do not attend class. Students are to contact 1300 133 717 (Choose option 5) and advise Call Centre staff of their inability to attend class.

In the interest of protecting the health of other students and staff, you must NOT return to class until such time that you are feeling better and no longer have symptoms.  If you have been tested for COVID-19, you must NOT return to class until you have been provided with medical clearance from your doctor.

I have had advice that I have been in contact with people who have been overseas and potentially at risk?

Please seek medical attention if you have received communication that you are at potential risk. Before returning to class you will need to provide a medical certificate to Student Support Services email: studentservices@tafegippsland.edu.au

I am not unwell, however I have a medical condition that compromises my immunity?  

Health professionals are advising people with compromised immune systems to limit possible exposure to COVID-19.  TAFE Gippsland advised that any students who believe they may be at risk take all necessary precautions including staying away from campus in the short term.

I have recently travelled overseas?

As directed by the Australian Government, all people who returned from recent international travel as of midnight 15 March are to self-isolate for a two-week period.

I have a family member who has compromised immunity at home?

If you there is increased risk to yourself or a family member due to possible exposure, we recommend that you take all necessary precautions to decrease risk. Including staying away from classes for the immediate time period.

If I am unable to attend class, do I need a medical certificate prior to return?

If you have remained away from class to decrease risk to yourself or a family member however have not required medical attention yourself, then a medical certificate is not required.

If you have required medical treatment or undergone testing for possible COVID-19 a medical certificate is required to be sent to Student Services email: studentservices@tafegippsland.edu.au prior to returning to class.

If I miss classes can arrangements be made for alternative assessments, extensions on assessments?

Student Support Services will work with students to negotiate reasonable academic accommodations.  Please contact Student Support Services: studentservices@tafegippsland.edu.au

What about my student placement?

With the changing developments, we understand you may have concerns about being on practical placement. Currently, the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education and Training are supporting ongoing placements until further notice.

If you feel your practical placement potentially puts you at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and you would like to opt-out, you will need to advise your placement coordinator as soon as possible and we'll try to support you with alternative arrangements.

If you’re feeling unwell and experiencing cold/flu-like symptoms (such as a cough, runny nose, sneezing or sore throat), please excuse yourself from your practical placement and notify your site coordinator and TAFE Gippsland’s Placement Coordinator immediately.

I am feeling anxious and need support due to COVID-19 situation.

Students can access our external counselling services by calling Converge International on 1300 687 327

Summary Information

If you are seeking general advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), please contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

If you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms of the virus, please call the dedicated Victorian COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 and follow their advice.

If you are a TAFE Gippsland student and have been confirmed as having COVID-19, please call 1300 133 717 immediately and we will take the necessary actions from there.

For all TAFE Gippsland-related COVID-19 questions/enquiries, please feel free to contact us at covid-19@tafegippsland.edu.au.