Arrangements for all staff

ACU has COVID safety plans for all of its campuses to help maintain a safe environment for our staff, students and visitors. These plans are regularly reviewed.

ACU staff, students and visitors on campus are required to wear a facemask in settings where this is mandated by state or territory public health orders, and/or where specified by ACU.

You should always carry a face mask and be prepared to wear it 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. There is a twice daily routine 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 staff, students and visitors on campus are required to wear a facemask in settings where this is mandated by state or territory public health orders and should always carry face masks in case physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

In addition to any applicable state or territory requirements for wearing masks, ACU requires that, from Term 1 2022, N95 masks are to be worn by staff and students in practical classes where physical distancing cannot be maintained. In week 1, ACU distributed more than 17,500 N95 masks for practical classes to staff. ACU will continue to supply N95 masks for practical classes, where they are mandated with a few exceptions based on a risk assessment. Some Schools have conducted risk assessments in consultation with staff and determined that other controls are appropriate for particular classes. Where these alternate arrangements are approved, Schools and Lecturers-In-Charge will communicate these alternate arrangements to their students and staff. 

Some students and staff have medical reasons why they cannot wear face masks or particular types of face masks. Where they have a medical certificate supporting this, they are allowed wear alternate types of face masks or not wear face masks. These students and staff will be required to provide medical evidence of this exemption on request.

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

As a general rule, acquiring and carrying face masks is the responsibility of individuals in circumstances where these are required by public health orders such as wearing masks on public transport, in retail venues etc. ACU however will provide N95 masks to staff and students for use in practical classes where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

For specific details on when masks should be worn to and from work, including public transport, refer to state government and health websites.

This is the proposed approach for speaking to students not wearing masks in practical classes:

  1. Approach the student and be aware to maintain physical distancing during the conversation.
  2. Consider the privacy of the student in relation to the conversation.
  3. Inform student of requirement to wear a face mask.
  4. Ask if the student has a legitimate reason not to wear a face mask.
  5. Ask the student to provide their medical evidence not to wear a mask.
  6. Ask the student can they wear an alternate type of face mask.
  7. Inform student of requirement to wear a face mask.
  8. If the students continue to refuse to wear mask, they will be asked to leave the practical class and move outdoors.
  9. If the student refuses to wear a mask or leave, staff can request that a security officer deal with the matter.
  10. Student discipline could be applied.

The same process can be applied where staff are not wearing masks when required.

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

In the case of interactions in the workplace (indoors and outdoors) where the 1.5m spacing cannot be maintained, staff and students are asked to carry and use a face mask.

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

Density quotients where required 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 complying with all of ACU’s COVID Safe practices.

While continuing to observe the health and safety directions in each state and territory and being responsive to specific outbreaks as they arise, staff have returned to working on campus. You are encouraged to talk with your supervisor and colleagues about practical steps you can take to support each other and stay safe.

If you are thinking about applying for a new flexible arrangement or modifying your existing arrangement for the short term due to the current COVID-19 situation, discuss your flexible work proposal with your supervisor before submitting your request for flexibility through Service Central. Everyone can request flexibility – it’s important to consider your needs in balance with the requirements of your role and in consideration of your team.

ACU encourages and supports flexible working arrangements to assist you to balance your work and life responsibilities.

  • 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. More information about flexible work arrangements is available in Service Centraland 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.

The university acknowledges many staff are concerned about their families and the wider community risks.  If you have circumstances affecting your ability to return to working on campus, 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 in such 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 are advised that you have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 you need to refer to the public health orders or equivalent provided by health authorities in each state/territory in Australia. They have recently changed in most states/territories so that close contacts are no longer required to isolate for 7 days. Restrictions published by each state/territory vary depending on your level of exposure and whether you have symptoms or not. Even where you are not required to self-isolate as a close contact you will generally not be permitted to attend high-risk facilities including hospitals and aged care facilities, which may be relevant if you need to attend these for work purposes or to visit students. You can check the restrictions for people exposed to COVID-19 which apply in your state/territory here:

Download summary table of these requirements by state (Word, 29KB)

If you test positive (using Rapid Antigen Test or PCR Test) notify ACU and do not attend campus until you have completed the required isolation period and have followed the public health orders or equivalent in each state/territory..

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

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

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

Download summary table of the government requirements by state (Word, 29KB)

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 do a rapid antigen test 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 and isolation requirements in different scenarios.

You cannot require a staff member to have a COVID-19 test, however you can ask if they have had a COVID-19 test and discuss work arrangements whilst waiting for COVID-19 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-19 test and are awaiting test results, stay at home until you receive your results.

Health authorities are publishing regular updates. You must keep up to date with self-isolation restrictions and comply with government orders or equivalent.

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 including requirements for isolation and release from isolation.

There are currently no COVID travel restrictions on staff and students travelling domestically or internationally.

ACU domestic business travel bookings should be completed with FCM Hub and Savi – FCM’s online booking tool. All requests will be escalated to the relevant member of the Executive for approval.

International travel can be undertaken with approval of the relevant member of the Senior Executive. Staff should follow local public health orders and ensure vaccination status.

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

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

Medicare has approved new item numbers which means many of the medical centres’ services are available via telephone consults. Doctors can email or text 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

Staff, Students and non-University staff who need to travel for University related business, course-work or other University related activities, must obtain appropriate approval. Bookings must be made by a designated staff member.

Staff and students travelling domestically require Executive member approval. Senior Executive staff and the Vice-Chancellor & President don’t require approval for domestic travel. This will be reviewed during the first half of 2022 at the next scheduled policy review.

Please refer to section 6 of the Travel Policy for further information regarding domestic travel for staff and students.

Staff, Students and non-University staff who need to travel for University related business, course-work or other University related activities, must obtain appropriate approval. Bookings must be made by a designated staff member.

The Chancellor approves international travel for the Vice-Chancellor as well as the Pro-Chancellor and Senate members; the Vice-Chancellor & President approves international travel for Direct Reports. All other international travel must obtain final approval from the Senior Executive member following preliminary approval outlined below. An international travel approval form and diary must be completed to obtain approval.

Faculty and Institute International travel approval:

  • Inform the Head of School or Research Institute Director. For non-research funded travel, obtain Executive Dean endorsement.
  • Relevant Senior Executive member for approval.

Directorate/Portfolio International travel approval:

  • Member of the Executive for endorsement.
  • Relevant Senior Executive member for approval.

Executive staff may delegate authority to book international travel or accommodation on their behalf to their respective assistants once travel is approved.

Please refer to section 6 of the Travel Policy for further information regarding international travel for staff and students.

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 are a close contact of a confirmed case as defined in or local state and territory guidelines for isolation.

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 N95/P2 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 you must leave the home or residence, for example to seek medical care, you should wear a N95/P2 mask if you have one.

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 take a Rapid Antigen Test or PCR Test and stay at home while waiting for the test results.

If you are advised that you have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 you need to refer to the public health orders or equivalent provided by health authorities in each state/territory in Australia. They have recently changed in most states/territories so that close contacts are no longer required to isolate for 7 days. Restrictions in each state/territory vary depending on your level of exposure and whether you have symptoms or not. Even where you are not required to self-isolate as a close contact you will generally not be permitted to attend high-risk facilities including hospitals and aged care facilities, which may be relevant if you need to attend these for work purposes or to visit students. You can check the directions/restrictions for people exposed to Covid-19 which apply in your state/territory here:

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

Please formally notify ACU that you have tested positive and are in isolation by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once your form is submitted, the university will advise next steps and may contact you regarding the necessary arrangements for work including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

You are only required to formally notify ACU if you have tested positive for COVID-19 via the ACU reporting form for staff. If you are a close contact, please advise your supervisor of this to discuss your working arrangements.

Please follow the current health advice in line with the your or local state and territory guidelines and which provide guidance on the definition of close and other contacts for COVID-19 and a step-by-step process for managing test and isolation requirements in different scenarios.

Keep your supervisor informed of your circumstances. Discuss with them the most suitable work arrangements or the appropriate leave if you are unwell. You can submit leave as usual in Staff Connect.

If the staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, please ask them to formally notify ACU by filling in the ACU reporting form for staff. Once their form is submitted, the university will advise next steps and may contact them regarding the necessary arrangements for work including working remotely and/or relevant leave.

If the staff member has not tested positive but is identified as a close contact or other contact as defined in local state and territory guidelines, they need to follow the protocols for managing test and isolation requirements in different states/territories.

You will need to discuss with them the most suitable work arrangements or the appropriate leave if they are unwell. Leave should be submitted as usual in Staff Connect.

If a student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is on-campus when they are advised of this, please advise them to leave campus immediately and return home to self-isolate in line with local state and territory requirements. If a student contacts you and advises that they have tested positive for COVID-19 but are not currently on campus, ask them not to return to campus and to self-isolate in line with local state and territory requirements. Advise students in either case that further information and support is provided in the Student COVID-19 FAQs.

Page last updated on 02/06/2022

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