Safe Return to Campus FAQs

General FAQs

All lectures in Term 3 will be online. However, many other classes such as tutorials and practicals are being offered face-to-face, with online provisions made for students unable to attend or who are apprehensive about returning to campus. In some cases, it may be necessary to direct students to alternative courses so they can continue to progress with their degrees.

We will continue to be guided by the advice of NSW Health. This means that we will need to adapt quickly to any change in circumstance or advice, including a full return to remote teaching and learning if required.

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.  

Staff -  must complete the Safe Return to Campus training module and read our Safe Return to Campus guidance prior to returning.

External workers and visitors - can access our Safe Return to Campus training here.

All timetabled classroom activity should operate in line with the University’s Safe Return to Campus plan.

  • The timetable and class size limits will enable physical distancing and student attendance for many classes is on a rotating roster. In some classes, such as labs, where movement is frequent and distancing cannot always be maintained, masks should be worn. This is in line with NSW Health advice that masks should be worn if physical distancing is not possible.
  • Signage with information on expected behaviours in the classroom is in place.
  • Cleaning materials will be made available.

No. Class sizes and schedules have been developed to facilitate physical distancing. You must follow the instructions your school gives you on when you should attend.

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.

Students can contact the Nucleus: Student Hub.

We strongly recommend that all students and staff wear a face mask if physical distancing cannot be maintained for any reason, including in the classroom or when moving around campus.

In certain classroom and laboratory situations where a formal risk assessment has determined that 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained or there is a high risk that it cannot be maintained, face masks will be mandatory personal protective equipment (PPE) for students and staff.

Face masks are also strongly recommended when using public transport. Please heed this advice to help keep the UNSW community safe.

Further information on the use of face masks is in our Safe Return to Campus Guidance.

Students - will be 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 will be required to bring/use their own face mask.

Masks will be available to purchase on campus if you forget to bring one with you.

Please use bins provided to dispose of disposable face masks.

Further information on the use of face masks is in our Safe Return to Campus Guidance.

The University has taken a range of steps to prepare our campuses for the safe return of students and staff including:

  • Additional measures to facilitate contact tracing including swipe entry to workspaces, labs and student led spaces, additional security and a process for logging visitors and their movements  
  • Reduced capacity in classrooms, study areas and library
  • 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.

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 will be professionally cleaned each morning based on usage, and as required following inspections.

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.

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.

If you test positive to COVID-19 and have been on campus whilst deemed infectious, you should advise the University immediately by completing and submitting the UNSW COVID-19 Case Notification Form.

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.

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.    

Non-essential services on all UNSW campuses have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The following retailers and services are currently open:

  • From Monday 14 September, Main, Law and Paddington Libraries (including both study spaces and print collections) will be open for UNSW students and staff, with more than 850 seats available (some bookable in advance) and COVID-safe measures in place. You will need to have your UNSW ID Card scanned by Security staff at the front doors for contact tracing and occupancy count purposes. More information on the reopening of UNSW Library spaces and services can be found here.
  • IGA is open from 8am – 6pm on weekdays and from 9am – 10pm on weekends (hours may vary). 
  • The Pharmacy@UNSW: 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • The UNSW Health Service: 8am – 6pm Monday to Thursday and 8am – 5pm on Friday. Call prior to attending on (02) 9385 5425 or book an appointment.
  • Kensington Physiotherapy: 7am – 7pm, Monday to Friday and 7.30am – 12.30pm, Saturday 7.30am - 12.30pm
  • Australia Post: 8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • A range of food outlets and other retailers and services are open - check our directory for full details

The UNSW Fitness and Aquatic centre on the Kensington campus remains closed until further notice.

During this time, you should only invite visitors onto our campuses if it is absolutely necessary. If you do receive visitors, you should log their name, contact details and the areas on campus they will visit with your Manager or Supervisor. This information will only be used if contact tracing is required.

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.

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.

Staff FAQs

We expect to grant permission to most academics, teaching and student support staff to enable them to return to campus by the start of Term 3, and then all remaining staff soon after.

Nevertheless, we recognise that some jobs can be done remotely and therefore many staff who are not required to be on campus will continue to work from home or flexibly. You should speak to your manager about your working arrangements. Information on our flexible work policy is on the HR Hub.

Yes. Staff are not permitted to return to campus without explicit approval via the Safe Return to Campus approval process. Your supervisor or manager will apply for their team to return in a single application, seeking permission for your return on your behalf. Information on how to apply is on the HR Hub.

Specific guidelines have been developed for vulnerable staff returning to campus.  You can find these guidelines on the HR Hub. Please speak to your HR Business Partner or HSE Coordinator.

You can only return to campus once you have permission to do so through the Safe Return to Campus process. Applications for return of academic staff are currently being accepted – speak with your Supervisor for more information.

Class sizes and rostering have been determined with physical distancing measures in mind so we do not anticipate this will be an issue. If teaching staff note an issue with the number of students in any class, they should consult the Course convenor or Head of School.

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.

Casual staff should read the Safe Return to Campus guidance and complete the Safe Return to Campus training module prior to coming onto campus.

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.