Update Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated - 20 Nov 2020 9:47am

TAFE-Gippsland-Help-stop-the-spread

In line with update Victorian Government advice, all TAFE Gippsland staff, students and visitors attending campus from Monday 12 October will need to wear a fitted face mask that securely covers the nose and mouth. Scarves, bandanas and face shields will no long meet the requirement of a face covering. For updated DHHS information on masks, click here or send your enquiries to covid-19@tafegippsland.edu.au

Wearing of Masks at TAFE Gippsland

In line with updated advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government is set to enforce their announced changes to the wearing of fitted masks for all Victorians.

As of midnight Sunday 11 October 2020, all Victorians including those in regional areas will be required to wear a properly fitted mask. Scarves and bandanas will no longer be acceptable as face coverings.

As a result, ALL students attending TAFE Gippsland campuses from Monday 12 October 2020, will need to wear a properly fitted face mask. This includes while in class and while travelling to and from campuses in line with Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advice.

Additionally, students are reminded that properly fitted masks are also mandated in practical learning situations where maintaining 1.5 metres of physical distance is not possible. This includes all courses in the following areas:

  • Hair and Beauty
  • Hospitality and Cookery
  • Remedial Massage
  • First Aid
  • Nursing and Disability
  • Individual Support.

Students in these programs will also be required to undertake thermal temperature testing prior to entering a TAFE Gippsland campus.

Please note, any person who has a medical condition - including problems with their breathing - a serious facial skin condition or a mental health condition, has a lawful reason for not wearing a face covering. The DHHS website now provides updated advice about wearing face masks.

All TAFE Gippsland students are expected to supply their own face coverings and your personal health and safety while on campus is TAFE Gippsland’s foremost priority. We ask that you work with us to ensure that all rules are complied with as we support you during your time at TAFE Gippsland.

The updated information on the wearing of masks in Victoria can be found on the DHHS website link here.

Travel Restrictions

TAFE Gippsland has been working very closely with the Victorian Government to the implications of Stage 3 restrictions on our operations. There is also complexity regarding staff/student travel arrangements between metropolitan (Stage 4 regions) and regional areas (under Stage 3).

Stage Three Requirements (for staff and students residing in Gippsland):

  1. TAFE Gippsland courses will be still be running under the same basic arrangements as we have been; that is a combination of remote and on-campus learning for all Gippsland-based students. This is exactly in line with Government guidelines.
  2. We will continue to adhere to social distancing requirements. In some courses requiring practical/hands-on training, where social distancing may not be practicable, our best efforts to maintain physical distancing will be made and all hygiene measures taken including face coverings.
  3. All staff and students must wear face coverings on campus. It is not compulsory for teachers to wear face coverings, while they are teaching if it interferes with their ability to clearly communicate with students, however it is compulsory for teachers to wear a face covering if they are not teaching.
  4. Thermal temperature testing will remain in place for a number of student cohorts and students should also avoid spending too much time in shared facilities such as libraries and campus study areas.

However, as of midnight Wednesday 5 August 2020, the rules for any of our staff and students travelling out of any ‘Stage 4 lockdown area’ into Gippsland for work and study changes.

Stage Four Requirements (for staff and students residing in Melbourne metropolitan areas):

  1. Travel for these staff and students will only be permitted if they are teaching or attending approved courses in qualifications or credentials servicing key occupations and activities. We are identifying our courses that can be considered approved in this context.
  2. We are also identifying staff and students travelling into Gippsland from a ‘Stage 4 lockdown area’, and providing the appropriate advice in regards to travel.
  3. Some staff and students are, under certain circumstances, allowed to travel between these designated areas.

The official DHHS link on study in regional Victoria is a comprehensive resource for further information.


Update July 2020

As at July 2020, all 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 and expert health advice. We are introducing all recommended safety measures, with the health and wellbeing of our students and staff being our first and foremost consideration.

Importantly, TAFE Gippsland has had 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 possible. Where training activities need to continue to occur on a campus, strict social distancing guidelines and hygiene rules are being followed and updated in line with latest health advice.

We have actively moved the majority of our programs to online and other flexible modes of delivery, and all changes to course delivery are communicated with students and employers on a regular basis.

Please note that if anything changes in relation to TAFE Gippsland’s training operations, we will provide the necessary advice to all staff, students and stakeholders 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.

If you are located in a designated lockdown local government area, and you need to travel for study to a TAFE Gippsland campus, you will be issued a Travel Exemption letter.

Importantly, you must notify TAFE Gippsland immediately if you are getting tested for COVID-19 and if you do 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 are  still  open to students to access our 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 have concierge staff in place to assist you and 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 with regular cleaning regimes now in place.

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.

How have Stage 3 restrictions for Regional Areas affected TAFE Gippsland?
Following the announcement by the Premier, Daniel Andrews on Sunday 2 August 2020 that Victoria’s Regional Areas would move to Stage 3 restrictions, TAFE Gippsland will continue to deliver the majority of its courses via online and remote methods. There still remains a small handful of courses that will continue to have practical on-campus delivery and will continue to be done so in accordance with strict social distancing and hygiene practices to ensure the safety of students and staff.

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 or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

I have had advice that I have been in contact with people who may be 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 the Institute’s COVID-19 Response Team by emailing: covid-19@tafegipplsand.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 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 our COVID-19 Response Team email: covid-19@tafegippsland.edu.au prior to returning to class.

If I miss classes can arrangements be made for alternative assessments, extensions on assessments?
We will work with students to negotiate reasonable academic accommodations.  Please contact your teacher or Course Manager. Alternatively, please email your questions to: covid-19@tafegippsland.edu.au

Do I need to wear a mask when attending a TAFE Gippsland Campus?
In line with new advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced updated advice on the wearing of masks and face coverings for all Victorians.

All Victorians including those in regional areas will be required to wear a mask or face covering as of midnight Sunday 2 August 2020.

As a result ALL students attending TAFE campuses from Monday 3 August 2020, will need to wear a mask or face covering. This includes while in class and while travelling to and from campus in line with Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advice. All students who live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, and attend a TAFE Gippsland campus, have been required to wear a mask since 22 July 2020.

If I am unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, do I need a medical certificate for the exemption?
If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, this also applies to on-campus. In line with the information from the Department of Health and Human Services, anyone who cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons, do not need to carry a letter from their doctor or medical exemption document. Please note that police are entitled to ask questions of people not wearing masks. Further information can be found here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-coverings-covid-19#exceptions-for-not-wearing-a-face-covering

I am a student who is feeling concerned about studies. What kind of support is available?
Our Student Support Services team are here to support you during this time. We aim to support you during this difficult time and have a range of support services including counselling and learning support, financial support, disability assistance and Koorie engagement. Please email: StudentServices@tafegippsland.edu.au

I am thinking about withdrawing from my course, what should I do?
Prior to withdrawing we strongly encourage students to speak about options with their teacher or Course Coordinator. Alternatively, our Student Services Team can support you to identify suitable options which may involve deferment for a period of time. Please email: 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 have limited the types of placements that can occur. Please speak with your Placement Coordinator about your individual placement.

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’m an employer of an apprentice who needs to be on campus. Is it safe?
TAFE Gippsland has extensive safety protocols in place to ensure the safety of students and staff, which remains our number one priority. These protocols have been in place throughout the entire COVID-19 situations and we work under the strict guidelines set down by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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.