We will always be guided by the advice of NSW Health. This means that we will adapt quickly to any change in circumstance or advice, including a full return to remote teaching and learning if required. You should always follow the most up to date health rules.
Students – students returning to our Kensington and Paddington campuses must acknowledge and agree to comply with the 'COVID-19 Student Health and Safety Agreement' as a condition of coming back to campus. This agreement outlines a set of expected behaviours while on campus. Failure to comply may be considered a breach of the Student Code of Conduct and subject to disciplinary action. Students are also required to read our Safe Return to Campus guidance prior to returning.
External workers and contractors - can access our Safe Return to Campus training here.
What plans are in place to ensure all face-to-face classes can accommodate physical distancing and health measures?
- Face-to-face classes have been timetabled to allow for 2sqm per person. In some classes where movement is frequent or 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot always be maintained, masks should be worn as per NSW Health guidance.
- Signage with information on expected behaviours in the classroom is in place.
- Cleaning materials will be made available.
You should always be empathetic. There are many factors that may lead a student to come to class even if they are unwell, and a cough or sneeze does not necessarily mean someone is sick. You should express concern about their health and remind them that there are no penalties for missing classes or assessments if they are unwell and that arrangements will be made to help them catch-up. If you feel someone is genuinely unwell and you are unable to convince them to leave class/campus, you can call our UNSW COVID-19 hotline on 02 9385 8500 for advice or security to attend for support. If you are worried about the safety of the teaching space as a consequence, the hotline may be able to find you an alternative venue or you may be required to cancel the class or move the class online.
Students can contact the Nucleus: Student Hub.
Students and staff should bring a mask to campus every day and use it when the situation requires it.
For the current rules on wearing a face mask visit the NSW Health website.
Students are also required to wear a mask in the classroom if asked to do so by teaching staff, such as, in situations where the 1.5 metres physical distance is difficult to maintain.
If you forget to bring a face mask to campus, they can be purchased from the IGA, Pharmacy or the Post Office.
Students - are required to bring/use their own face mask. This includes for classroom and laboratory situations where a formal risk assessment has determined that physical distancing cannot be maintained and made masks a mandatory item of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Staff - The University will provide staff with the appropriate class of masks for classroom, laboratory and other professional situations where a formal risk assessment has determined that physical distancing cannot be maintained and made masks a required item of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
For all other situations, staff are required to bring/use their own face mask.
Masks are available to purchase from the IGA, Pharmacy or Post Office on campus if you forget to bring one.
Further information on the use of face masks is in our Safe Return to Campus Guidance.
What else is the University doing to keep the UNSW community safe and ensure everyone adheres to physical distancing and health guidance?
The University has put in place a range of measures to ensure our campuses are safe for students and staff including:
- Additional measures to facilitate contact tracing including the introduction of Service NSW QR codes in all classrooms and student led spaces, swipe entry to workspaces and labs
- Classrooms have been timetabled to allow 1 person per 2 square metres. Given the continued risk posed by COVID-19, we have kept capacity signage outside other rooms around campus as a guide – capacity in these spaces has been calculated at 1 person per 4 square metres.
- Students and staff are required to maintain 1.5 metres distance at all times, otherwise a mask should be worn.
- Hand sanitiser stations at high contact points around campus
- Directional signage and removal of some fixed furniture to manage flow of people, queues and distancing
- Signage with key health messages around campus and in classrooms
- Student ambassadors on campus providing information on and championing COVIDsafe practices
- Cleaning materials provided in rooms to wipe down work / study spaces and equipment
- Upgrading of campus cleaning standards to include using bleach-based hospital-grade disinfectant and additional training and education by cleaning contractors on cleaning processes, personal hygiene and personal protective equipment while cleaning throughout the University.
What are the hygiene procedures for teaching/classroom spaces? How often will teaching spaces be professionally cleaned?
Staff and Students will be responsible for wiping down their desks/chairs/workspaces before and after use with cleaning materials provided. Please use bins provided to dispose of wipes and face masks. Scheduled teaching spaces are professionally cleaned daily including tables, benchtops and chairs and touchpoint cleaning is conducted throughout the week.
Classrooms and teaching spaces have been timetabled to allow 1 person per 2 square metres.
The main rule to remember when determining capacity for all other rooms on campus is to ensure that 1.5 metres physical distance between people can be maintained.
Many rooms have capacity signage in place - these are a guide only and based on 1 person per 4 square metres. You are permitted greater capacity if 1.5 metres physical distance can be maintained. You should apply common sense when using rooms on campus and be very conscious of others who may not feel comfortable in a crowded space given the ongoing COVID-19 risk.
You should wear a face mask if you cannot maintain 1.5 metres physical distance.
Cleaning materials are provided in all computer labs and library spaces. You are expected to wipe down your own work/study space and equipment before and after use. Please use bins provided to dispose of wipes and face masks.
What on-call assistance is available if specific cleaning issues arise that can’t be safely dealt with by students and/or staff with available resources?
The University has a proven process to support all students and staff and NSW Health in the event of a positive COVID case. This includes ensuring that students and staff who have a positive diagnosis are supported and their privacy maintained throughout the testing, isolation, return to campus phases. It also includes a range of responses to support the quarantining and cleaning of facilities, liaison with NSW Health and communication with our USW community, as required.
If you are unwell and need to have a COVID-19 test, you should remain at home and in self-isolation until you receive the results of your test and you no longer have any symptoms. You should not come to campus if you have any remaining symptoms, even if your test result is negative. More information can be found in our Safe Return to Campus guidance.
Students and staff should use the UNSW COVID-19 Case Notification Form to report a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a close contact of a positive case. You can use this form to report your own circumstances or those of a student or staff member who has officially reported to you. This will help to ensure that everyone in the UNSW community is kept as safe as possible.
Further information on what to do if you test positive or come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 is in our Safe Return to Campus guide.
What evidence do students need to provide if they miss a face-to face class because they are self-isolating or unwell?
Students must not come to class if they have been told to self-isolate or are unwell. Documentation to justify an absence for these reasons is not required unless it involves missing an assessment. In this instance, Special Consideration processes apply.
All student spaces including CATS rooms and student led spaces as well as some meeting rooms now have Service NSW QR codes in place. Please check in using the QR code displayed every time you enter a coded room or space. For quicker and easier check-in across campus, download the Service NSW app and create an account if you do not already have one.
Unless there is a stay-at-home order in place, buildings with teaching spaces with scheduled classes will have perimeter doors in free access. All other doors will remain in ‘secure mode’ and you will need to use your student or staff card to access the building or internal area. Swipe card records will also be used for contact tracing purposes if necessary, so please swipe wherever you go during your time on campus.
If students, staff or visitors in your area are not captured by a QR code, swipe data or an existing visitor registration system, then Managers should establish a way of recording attendance for contact tracing purposes. For support in establishing an electronic registration process, please contact your Local Recovery Team member.
In line with NSW Health advice, we strongly encourage you to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is made available to you to help keep our UNSW community safe.
FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccination and UNSW here . These will be updated as further information becomes available.
I live in campus accommodation – is there any additional guidance for being on/returning to campus?
Yes. If you live in or are returning to campus accommodation, in addition to the advice in this guide, you must adhere to any additional guidance provided to you by your campus accommodation provider.
Due to the increase in staff working from home at this time, many buildings across our campuses will have reduced Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) members on site. This includes reduced coverage of wardens and first aid officers.
Chief wardens are being trained to respond to alarms for their building and neighbouring buildings. This will assist in managing evacuations across campus.
In the event of a fire emergency, the building alarms will operate as usual, and UNSW Security will arrive.
However, staff will need to monitor the alarms and self-evacuate accordingly.
- Alert alarm is Beep, Beep, Beep
- Evacuate alarm is Whoop, Whoop, Whoop
Go to your nearest exit immediately and leave personal belongings behind.
Estate Management will review parking fee arrangements for any periods where NSW Health has a stay-at-home order in place. Any temporary changes will be communicated via email. For details on usual parking arrangements visit the Estate Management website.
The expectation is that unless a NSW Health 'stay-at-home' order is in place or capacity restrictions limit how many people can be in your work area, most staff should be back working on campus - you should speak to your manager to agree a new work routine and any flexibility arrangements.
Currently, there is no longer a formal approval requirement for staff to be on campus. However, all staff must complete the UNSW Safe Return to Campus Training module. Information in this module has recently been updated and details of the health and safety measures in the new COVID-normal work environment are described.
The main rule to remember when determining capacity for work spaces and meeting rooms on campus is to ensure that 1.5 metres physical distance between people can be maintained.
You should apply common sense when using rooms on campus and be very conscious of others who may not feel comfortable in a crowded space given the ongoing COVID-19 risk.
You should wear a mask indoors, including meeting rooms if you are required under NSW Health rules or if you cannot maintain 1.5 metres physical distance.
What should I do if appropriate physical distancing is difficult to maintain in my class or if students refuse to sit apart?
You should ask students to wear a mask if it is hard for physical distancing to be maintained in your classroom.
Even if students are wearing a mask, they should still aim to keep 1.5 metres from each other.
The student code of conduct states that a student must ‘Act responsibly, ethically, safely and with integrity’ and that includes complying with NSW Health and Safety guidelines. Most students have explicitly agreed to stay 1.5 metres apart as part of the Safe Return to Campus – COVID-19 health and safety compliance agreement.
COVIDsafe practices in the classroom are the same as anywhere else. When planning classroom activities, please consider the physical distancing, hand hygiene, not coming to campus if you feel unwell and other safety measures outlined in our Safe Return to Campus guidance. All staff should also complete the Safe Return to Campus training prior to their return.
If you are teaching or running an in-person class, tutorial or practical, do not come to campus if you are sick, even with mild symptoms. You should contact your Convenor/Head of School if you are sick or uncertain about mild symptoms. If you and your Convenor/Head of School have no other option for teaching that class you should cancel it. It is essential that you do not come to campus with symptoms of illness.
You should also cancel or defer an in-person class if instructed to do so
By NSW Health
By a member of your School or Faculty Local Recovery Team as part of an investigation into a positive case on campus
If a student in your face-to-face class is visibly displaying symptoms of COVID-19 while you are teaching and will not leave when politely asked to do so.
You should advise any student who reports symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate and get tested immediately. If they are likely to miss an assessment, direct them to the Special Consideration portal and advise them that they will not need to provide any documentary evidence. Once their application is processed an alternative assessment will be provided. Reassure them they have made the right choice to miss class and thank them for putting the safety of others first. Ask them to inform us via the UNSW Case Notification Form if they test positive to COVID-19.
You should always be empathetic. There are many factors that may lead a student to come to class even if they are unwell, and a cough or sneeze does not necessarily mean someone is sick. You should express concern about their health and remind them that there are no penalties for missing classes or assessments if they are unwell and that arrangements will be made to help them catch-up. If you feel someone is genuinely unwell and you are unable to convince them to leave class, you can call our UNSW COVID-19 hotline on 02 9385 8500 for advice or security to attend for support. If you are worried about the safety of the teaching space as a consequence, the hotline may be able to find you an alternative venue or you may be required to cancel the class or move the class online.
There are over 5000 individual HVAC systems across the University and all of our systems comply with the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer, all relevant Standards, industry best practice and the specific requirements of the area.
If you are concerned about airflow, where it is reasonably practicable, UNSW staff are allowed to open windows in buildings to increase fresh airflow in their workspace. However, this action may adversely impact the internal temperature and humidity conditions in all of the areas that are serviced by the air-conditioning system for that space.
Staff must remember to close all windows at the end of each session to prevent possible damage to buildings, furniture and personal effects.
Requests for quiet spaces should be made through your Faculty/School. If your Faculty/School is unable to accommodate, the HoS or Ops Manager will contact their Estate Management Business Partner to assist in identifying additional spaces.
I'm a teacher, who do I contact if I am concerned about the lack of COVIDsafe behaviour in a classroom?
The student code of conduct states that a student must ‘Act responsibly, ethically, safely and with integrity’ and that includes complying with NSW Health and Safety guidelines. Most students have explicitly agreed to both physical distancing and health measures as part of the Safe Return to Campus – COVID-19 health and safety compliance agreement.
If you are concerned about COVIDsafe behaviour in your classroom, you should first ask your students to comply with physical distancing and health measures - including using QR codes to check-in on entry. If you remain concerned and need additional support you can contact the UNSW COVID-19 hotline on 02 9385 8500 for further advice