Update on the novel coronavirus

28 January 2020

Dear Student,

We understand many in the Monash community will be concerned about the novel coronavirus from China.

We are continuing to monitor the active outbreak of the new coronavirus, originating in Wuhan City, China, including the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO), US Center for Disease Control and the Australian Government’s Health Department, including states and territories.

While the cases in Australia are of concern, our Federal and State governments have reiterated that the continued spread of this virus is still categorised as low risk in Australia. The Monash Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is in ongoing communication with State and Federal medical authorities. The current advice to the CMO is that there has been no human to human spread of the novel coronavirus (outside of China) at this point in time.

Travel

The University has ceased all student, staff and official University travel to Hubei province of China at this time, in line with Australian Government travel recommendations. We have also instituted the following additional measures:

  • You are not required to travel internationally (including China) as part of your studies if you do not wish to.
  • You may still travel to China if planned (including cities such as Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai), but recommend that you consider if your trip to China is necessary at the present time and exercise caution in line with the advice of Smartraveller.
  • No group (where a group is defined as greater than five staff or students) should travel to China until at least after 17 February. We will communicate any changes to this advice after this date.
  • We understand students may be travelling to and from Australia and transiting through Hong Kong. If you do this we recommend you remain within the airport terminal for the duration of your transit.

Health advice

For the safety and wellbeing of the Monash community, we’re suggesting some precautionary measures for those who have returned from travel to China or have been in contact with someone who has.

  • If you're currently overseas and unable to commence your travel back to Australia, you may be eligible to defer your studies. If you wish to do this please contact Monash Connect for advice on how to make an application to do this.
  • If you have recently returned to Australia and are concerned or feeling ill please remain in your home for 14 days and follow the health advice from the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • If you're experiencing symptoms, call the Department of Health and Human Services’ dedicated novel coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

Students unable to return in time for the start of semester one

Students will need to commence their studies by Monday 9 March 2020 to be eligible to complete semester one. If you are unable to make this date, you will need to defer your offer or apply for intermission until semester two.

Monash Residential Services residents

We request that those returning from China follow the advice above and from the Department of Health and Human Services. Students arriving from China are also being asked to limit the use of public areas and engagement in large MRS group activities for the next three weeks and use recommended hygiene practices.

February exams

Monash University has made the decision to postpone supplementary and deferred face-to-face exams scheduled to commence 3 February 2020. The University is exploring alternative assessment options and will be writing to students scheduled to take these exams. A decision about Summer A & B term exams will be made shortly. Students will be provided further information as soon as possible.

This excludes exams at the Malaysia campus, which are still under review and those supplementary and deferred exams scheduled to occur in South Africa.

Student attendance

At this stage, regular classes and university activities are planned to continue as normal. Staff will be undertaking regular teaching activity unless they have symptoms or had contact with someone with signs of the virus.

Students and staff attending university activities and classes are asked to self-exclude if they feel unwell or are experiencing symptoms. Students who self-exclude for these reasons will not be penalised.

Health centre

Monash University’s health centres continue to take direction from the local medical authorities and will follow the established coronavirus reporting framework, which includes isolating and transporting any patients with symptoms to a prepared medical facility.  

We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our University communities and will continue to communicate advice through our official University channels.

Monash provides free confidential counselling support for any Monash student. If you need support at any time, please call 1300 360 364.

More information

Regards,
Monash University