Arrangements for all staff

ACU has COVID safety plans for all of its campuses.  COVID safety plans are based on state and territory templates and confirm ACU’s practice to provide safe campuses for its staff, students and visitors. These plans are regularly reviewed.

ACU encourages it staff, students and visitors to carry a face mask with them at all times and be prepared to wear as appropriate and needed (see also additional information about masks).

Hand sanitiser stations have been installed across each campus.  Hand soap and paper towels are available in toilets and kitchens.  Regular cleaning regimes across the campus includes workspaces, learning environments and amenities.  A morning and afternoon sanitising shift will provide additional cleaning of touch points.

The requirements to wear face masks vary between state and territories based on current levels of community transmission and restriction levels.

ACU advises staff and students to monitor state and territory COVID information sites for the latest face mask requirements.

Staff and students should always carry face masks in case physical distancing cannot be maintained and where directed by relevant state or territory public health orders. Acquiring and carrying face masks is the responsibility of individuals.
For specific details on when masks should be worn to and from work, including public transport, refer to government and health websites.

All workspaces were reviewed in July 2020 to ensure they comply with the 1.5m spacing of workspaces. Additional screens and barriers have been installed where required.

In the case of interactions in the workplace where the 1.5m spacing and one person per four square metres cannot be maintained, staff are asked to carry and use a face mask.

ACU undertakes regular on-campus head counts of staff, students and visitors to ensure that we are operating within workplace density requirements for all jurisdictions.

It is the responsibility of all staff to take these actions to ensure work health and safety of all members of our university community.

ACU assesses the percentage on-campus workforce limit by building. The workforce limit excludes staff who were already permitted workers and have been on campus during previous restrictions.

ACU has been conducting regular head counts of staff, students and visitors on all campuses.

Based on regular head counts conducted already, ACU is confident that staff can return to campus within normal patterns of attendance and still operate within the percentage workforce limit. That means that not all staff are on campus full time, five days a week, eg. part-time work, flexible work arrangement, leave, non-teaching periods etc.

Changes in density quotients for all jurisdictions continue to be taken into account by Timetabling for each teaching space.

Therefore, it is important that students attend their timetabled classes to ensure density limits are not exceeded.

Safety on campus is a shared responsibility. Staff and students can assist by checking-in using QR codes and complying with all of ACU’s COVID Safe practices.

ACU has implemented unique QR codes for each ACU building on all campuses for the purpose of supporting COVID contact tracing by local health departments. It is also an important part of ACU’s work health safety response to COVID to ensure the safety of our university community.

In line with State and Territory health directions, staff, students and visitors must check in when entering campus buildings. When moving from building to building, please re-register using the QR codes provided for each building.

Staff, students and visitors without a smart phone can complete campus registration via a web form for the relevant campus:

Adelaide campus

Ballarat campus

Blacktown campus

Brisbane campus

Canberra campus

Melbourne campus

North Sydney campus

Strathfield campus

While continuing to observe the health and safety directions in each state and territory and being responsive to specific outbreaks as they arise, ACU is transitioning to COVID Normal onsite presence in 2021. All staff across all campuses, except Rome, should have returned to the workplace in line with COVID safety plans that are in place for all campuses unless an approved alternative arrangement is in place due to a staff member’s personal circumstances.

Alternative arrangements may include:

  • an approved temporary flexible working arrangement to continue to work remotely with an agreed date to return to work on campus
  • approved annual leave and/or long service leave, and where leave is exhausted, leave without pay.
  • Discuss your plans to return to campus with your supervisor including any flexibility requirements. If you have personal circumstances affecting your ability to work from the campus, please discuss this openly with your supervisor as alternative arrangements will need to be fully considered.
  • For staff returning to campus after extended periods of working remotely, to support the transition we encourage staff and supervisors to consider a gradual approach such as working 1-2 days per week remotely and the remaining days from campus, where your role allows for such flexibility and staff are able to work safely and effectively both remotely and on campus.
  • Where you are seeking a flexible work arrangement, including working remotely for a portion of your working hours on a regular basis, submit your request in Service Central using the Flexible Work Arrangement Request. If you are requesting a ‘change in the location of work’ you will need to attach a completed WHS Checklist. Your flexible work arrangement request will activate an approval process with final approval by your member of the executive (eg. Executive Dean or Director). More information about flexible work arrangements is available in Service Central and ACU policy library.
  • If you require assistance with transitioning back to campus, for example reconnecting computers on campus, contact Service Central or submit a general enquiry a few days before your planned return date.

If you need help moving ACU equipment and furniture or setting up your workspace, please log a Service Central request at least two days before returning to work so that the relevant services can assist you.
If you are working on campus on a partial basis, you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate equipment both on campus and working from home. You should speak with your supervisor if you have any concerns about this.

If you are a higher risk person (people aged 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions, all people with compromised immune systems, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50 with chronic medical conditions), you should speak with your supervisor about your circumstances and available options.

These include having a risk assessment before returning to work on campus, continuing to work remotely, reduced or modified hours, taking leave, or a combination of these.

The university may request that you provide supporting medical evidence and/or request to speak with your medical practitioner.

Following a discussion with your supervisor, if a flexible work arrangement is the most suitable option for you and your work area, you will be required to complete the Flexible Work Arrangement Request. You will need to outline your situation, reasons for your request and details of your proposed work arrangements as discussed with your supervisor – and attach supporting medical advice.

Living with a family member who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 is not normally a reason to submit a request to work remotely. However, the university acknowledges many staff are concerned about their families and the wider community risks.  If you have exceptional circumstances affecting your ability to return to working on campus by the required date, please discuss this with your supervisor so that alternative arrangements can be fully considered. This includes a discussion about whether you can perform some or all of your duties from home. 

Options that may be considered for staff not returning to work on campus by the required date due to exceptional circumstances include:

  • putting in place a temporary flexible working arrangement to allow you to continue to work remotely with an agreed date to return to work on campus.
  • taking annual leave and/or long service leave, and where leave is exhausted, leave without pay.

Yes, this practice is being encouraged by the university. Please discuss any proposed changes to your working arrangements with your supervisor.

Your supervisor will need to consider if your proposed arrangements will have any adverse impact on the service delivery and operations of your work area and/or the rest of your team.

Where you are seeking to alter your start and finish times, which although different from your current arrangements, remain in line with the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement span of ordinary hours and do not alter the hours you work per day, these adjustments do not require submission and approval via the Flexible Work Arrangement Request. 

At ACU the normal daily span of ordinary hours is 8am to 6pm, however, this may be extended to between 7.30am and 7pm.

In addition, the maximum number of ordinary hours a professional staff member is permitted to work on any one day is nine hours with sufficient unpaid meal break and rest pauses, as outlined in the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement.

If you have visited a location or venue with confirmed COVID-19 cases, refer to the relevant government and health update websites for specific details to determine if you are a potential COVID contact and need to self-isolate. If you are a potential contact it is important you follow government and health instructions: self-isolate, get tested, notify ACU, and do not attend campus until you receive a negative test result or are advised by the relevant health authority.

It is essential that you confirm the applicable self-isolation requirements before attending work on campus.

Health authorities are publishing regular updates. You must keep up to date with self-isolation recommendations and comply with government advice.

If you are required to self-isolate, you should speak with your supervisor to discuss your options, including working remotely or taking leave.

Any staff who are unwell, or who have cold and/or flu symptoms, must not attend work on campus. As nominated supervisor, you can and should direct your staff to leave campus, and not to attend on campus until they are well. You should ask them to obtain medical advice and consider whether they should be tested for COVID-19. Further information about self-assessment, and what to do if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, is available on ACU’s website, and public health authorities provide updated information about testing in particular locations.

You cannot require a staff member to have a COVID-19 test, however you can ask if they have had a COVID test and discuss work arrangements whilst waiting for test results. ACU can require a staff member to provide evidence of their fitness before returning to work (e.g. clearance from their doctor).

Staff who are unwell and not able to work should apply for personal (sick) leave in Staff Connect in the usual way.

If you have undertaken a COVID test and are awaiting test results, stay at home until you receive your results and until the end of your required self-isolation period which may be 14 days depending on confirmed COVID-19 case locations.

Even if you are not unwell and do not have cold and/or flu symptoms, you should not come onto campus until you receive your test results and/or any requirement to self-isolate. Discuss your arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave with your supervisor.

Health authorities are publishing regular updates. You must keep up to date with self-isolation recommendations and comply with government advice.

If you are required to self-isolate, you should speak with your supervisor to discuss your options, including working remotely or taking leave.

Any staff member or student who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection must follow health guidelines and directions from health professionals. ACU will require evidence that you have been assessed by your treating health professionals as no longer infectious.

Health authorities advise that people with confirmed COVID-19 infection are required to stay in isolation under the care of medical specialists until they are no longer experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Before being released from isolation, a person who had a confirmed COVID-19 infection must have tests to determine whether they have recovered and are no longer infectious.

Interstate travel can only occur in line with current border restrictions. As border closures are subject to change, please refer to daily updates for each state and territory for the most relevant advice.

ACU domestic business travel bookings should be completed via the online travel-booker (SERKO). All requests will be escalated to the relevant member of the senior executive (SEG) for approval.

ACU international travel remains suspended.

Staff leave arrangements

If you need to self-isolate and you are not unwell, you should work remotely if it is possible to do so. You need to discuss arrangements with your supervisor. You can be directed to work, and this may also include modified duties and you will not be on leave in this situation.

If you are required to self-isolate and you are not unwell, and you can work remotely but opt not to work, you will need to take annual leave or long service leave until the date you are no longer required to self-isolate. 

If you are required to self-isolate and your work cannot be done remotely, you will need to take Personal Sick Leave until the date you are required to self-isolate.

If school or day care closures affect your ability to attend work on campus or undertake all or some of your work, speak with your supervisor to discuss your options.

If you are required to provide short term, emergency care to children because of school or day care closures due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 you can apply for personal/carer’s leave and must provide evidence of the school’s closure with your leave application. Personal/carer’s leave is applicable for the immediate emergency only (no more than 3 days).

Working remotely

The VPN is only required for staff to access resources on the ACU network, for instance your network drives.  

All online tools used to support learning and teaching do not require the VPN to run. These include Zoom, Echo360, Adobe Connect and Teams. Further information can be found in this Service Central article and if you need support, please contact Service Central

  • Find technical instructions on setting up to work remotely in the Work From Home pack
  • The recommended video conferencing tool at ACU is Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom is reserved for Teaching and Learning staff conducting lectures and tutorials only (special use cases already using Zoom can continue to use it).
    If Zoom is being used for teaching purposes, refer to these important security recommendations that should be applied to all Zoom meetings.
  • Follow IT Updates Workplace group for tips and tricks on using the available tools to work remotely
  • You can always find technical help through Service Central via chat, phone, or ticket
  • For most staff, ACU VPN should only be used for accessing files on the ACU network (e.g. Network drives). Find out more here.

If you have ACU equipment to work from home, this can continue until you recommence work on campus at which time you will need to make arrangements to return items to your office. If your security card does not allow after-hours access you will need to make sure you do so during business hours.

When returning ACU equipment you need to make sure that you update your unit’s register of assets.

ACU acknowledges that some staff may require additional equipment to work remotely. 

Staff may also incur costs associated with additional internet access requirements, office supplies and telephone use.

No, but you may be able to claim expenses in your annual tax return. Please keep appropriate records and seek professional advice about your circumstances.

More information from the Australian Taxation Office is available here.

The exception is where there is a need for student facing critical expenditure. This decision would need to be made by the relevant Senior Manager/Member of the Executive.

While you are working remotely, IT will continue to provide support for ACU equipment and systems. You can lodge a Service Central request for IT support here.

The Work Health & Safety team can assist with information about how to set up your workspace correctly and generally to assess the safety of your remote working arrangement. Information about setting up your workspace can be accessed here (PDF).

Any incidents while working remotely should be lodged in riskware.

Staff support

No, ACU is exempt from this stimulus measure and therefore employees at ACU are not eligible for JobKeeper payments. You or your household may be eligible for other support. Government information can be found here.

ACU medical centres on the Brisbane and Melbourne campuses remain open. Please check the website (BrisbaneMelbourne) for information about services and opening hours. All services will be bulk billed at this time.

Medicare has approved new item numbers so a lot of the medical centres’ services are available via telephone consults. Doctors can fax scripts and blood test results. To make an appointment please call the ACU medical centres and the team will take you through the process.

Please note that the telehealth service is only available to existing patients.

If you think you might have COVID-19, please do NOT attend a medical centre without calling ahead and speaking to one of our nurses first, to avoid the risk of spreading it further.

If you can’t access an ACU medical centre, please contact your regular GP or your local medical centre for advice.

Campus Ministry continues to provide pastoral and spiritual wellbeing support to the ACU community, whether it be on campus or online. To contact Campus Ministry staff or an ACU Chaplain please visit the ACU Campus Ministry website.

Home isolation, quarantine periods and/or the spread of COVID-19 can be stressful and may leave you feeling concerned. Support services are available for staff who may feel anxious or distressed. Information regarding these services is available here.

Staff travel and travel insurance

From 1 December 2020, university-related domestic travel for staff is permitted. You will need to obtain approval from the relevant member of the Senior Executive Group before booking travel for university business. 

The Australian Government has an overseas travel ban in place, and DFAT has told Australians travelling overseas to return home as soon as possible. ACU will continue to follow Australian Government recommendations.

Travel exemptions may be granted in certain circumstances. Where international travel for staff is deemed essential, these exceptions will require approval by Chief Operating Officer Dr Stephen Weller.

ACU staff and students travelling on university business, or for a university-approved activity.

Trip booked from 31 January 2020 (excluding DFAT level 4 regions/countries)

If you book a trip to a region/country including countries you need to transit through to, listed as levels 1–3 on the Smart Traveller website at the time of booking, and these regions/countries including countries you need to transit through to, are later upgraded to a level 4 due to COVID-19, you can’t claim for deposits or cancellation costs under the ACU policy due to COVID-19 being considered a ‘Foreseeable Event’. These costs will not be covered by a central university budget. You will still be covered for medical by the travel insurance whilst travelling.

No, you can’t claim for medical, deposits or cancellation costs under the ACU policy. There is no insurance cover for this destination.

No

If you contract the virus while travelling or transiting through a level 1 to 3 country, the usual medical cover applies.

If you contract the virus while travelling or transiting through a level 4 country, medical cover does not apply.

If you contract the virus while travelling or transiting through a country which was upgraded to level 4 after you left Australia, medical cover will apply. In this instance you should take immediate and reasonable steps to leave the region/country.

Should you and/or your travel plans be impacted by COVID-19, a claim should still be made, and the university’s insurer will review these on a case-by-case basis.

Where can I get more information or make a claim?

Staff members with queries or claims, please email insurance.finance@acu.edu.au

Medical advice and reporting

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can make humans and animals sick. They cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases. Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.

Practising good hygiene measures and physical distancing is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • wash your hands regularly for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • use a hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol, if soap and water is not available. Hand sanitiser does not replace washing your hands after using the bathroom.
  • always use soap and water if your hands are visibly soiled.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing or cough into your elbow.
  • dispose of used tissues into a bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
  • keep a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and other people.
  • avoid crowds and large public gatherings.
  • avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people; and
  • keep connected with others, including colleagues, friends and family, through phone, email, social media, and online work platforms when possible.
  • Wear a face mask in setting that are difficult to maintain physical distancing.

There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person. The virus is most likely spread through:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.

You may be asked to isolate in your home if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you have come into close contact with a confirmed case (as defined above).

People who must be isolated should stay in their home and avoid public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in your home or other place of residence should be permitted on the premises. Do not allow visitors into the home or residence.

If you have contracted COVID-19 and you are sharing your home with others, you should stay in a different room from other people or be separated as much as possible. Wear a surgical mask when you are in the same room as another person, and when seeking medical care. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

If you are self-isolating for either reason, make sure that you do not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as elderly people and those who have heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated, to get food or other necessities for you.

If the university semester has started, you should notify your lecturer or supervisor of your circumstance to determine whether alternate arrangements for remote learning or working can be temporarily put in place.

If you must leave the home or residence, for example to seek medical care, you should wear a surgical mask if you have one.

If a member of your household is in isolation, you do not need to do the same unless they or you have developed symptoms.

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath), you should arrange to see a doctor for an urgent assessment and avoid coming to campus. Testing can be ordered by your GP, or at a hospital emergency department.

You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and advise of your travel history or whether you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Your doctor will liaise with Public Health authorities to manage your care. You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until Public Health authorities inform you it is safe to return to your usual activities.

The Department of Health recommends people who have been in close contact with any confirmed COVID-19 cases be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure. Close contact is defined as requiring:

  • greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
  • sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than two hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.

Please formally notify ACU that you are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once your form is submitted, the university will contact you to discuss arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

Please formally notify ACU that you are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once your form is submitted, the university will contact you to discuss arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

I am a supervisor and a staff member or student has contacted me about self-isolation or diagnosis, what do I tell them?

Please ask them to formally notify ACU that they are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once their form is submitted, the university will contact them to discuss arrangements including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

Page last updated on 04/06/2021

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