COVID-19 Updates

Overview

Semester 3, 2020 and Semester 1, 2021
Australia has recommenced granting student visas, so when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel. See more info at

Most of our university campuses are currently open, but in-person teaching is suspended. All universities have been transitioned to online learning. Many teaching blocks have been adjusted to move labs to later in the year; however, some small labs are still being held.

University Resources
Please find below the links to our universities’ COVID-19 communications sites, which are regularly updated and have contact information:

You can find another summary of the response evolution in Australia here.

In the News

In among the updates of how the universities are changing up their teaching delivery, we wanted to highlight some of the positive projects that our universities have on the go.

Our University Partners

The University of Queensland has been tasked by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a vaccine. Funding has been provided by both the Queensland Government and the Australian Government ($17 million AUD).

Melbourne researchers are looking to start an Australian preventative trial which will test an existing vaccine to see if can assist in preventing healthcare workers from falling ill with COVID-19. This will be led by the MCRI Infectious Diseased Research Group, whose leader is also a professor at the University of Melbourne. Find out more about the trial.

The University of Sydney’s Professor Edward Holmes is leading a scientific race to better understand SARS-CoV-2 and is working with scientists both in China and around the world to unlock the genetic code of the virus. This in attempt to better understand the origins of the illness and aid in the creation of an effective vaccine.

Interested in Lending a Hand?

Individuals looking to help out during this time can register their interest in volunteering with the Australian Red Cross. You will be matched based on your interest with locations where help is required.
If you’re able, blood donations are still required at this time, so feel free to sign up to donate!

Sign up to a local area Facebook group, like this one, Adopt a Healthcare Worker, to connect with healthcare workers in your area and offer to assist them in a variety of ways. (Think, providing baked goods, dropping off rescue packages, etc.).

Buy a medical professional a coffee!

Get yourself a lunch and pay it forward to someone else, Two Good has got you covered, if you’re interested! (Melbourne and Sydney both offer this service, delivery is $15).

What is the Australian Government doing?

The Australian government is also making many efforts to ease the impact that this is having on its population, as are businesses and the general public.

The Australian federal government has committed to providing $74 million AUD to aid in providing essential mental health services and support for all Australians. The National Mental Health Commission details what this commitment looks like!

Popular grocer, Woolworths, has launched the “Woolworths Basics Box” (it’s $80 AUD) and will contain meals, snacks, and a few essential items and will be delivered to the in-need individual. Ideal for individuals currently in self-isolation.

Three major Australian alcohol producers are helping to ensure the demand for hand sanitizer is met by changing what they produce. In Queensland, both the Beenleigh Rum Distillery and the Bundaberg Rum Distillery will be focusing their production on hand sanitizers with an aim to supply schools and frontline workers. In Sydney, Archie Rose Distillery has produced its own brand that has already sold out in pre-sale.

Questions?

Be sure to reach out!

We are all working through this for the first time together. If you have any questions or want to discuss anything, please feel free to reach out to our team. While we are practicing “social distancing” by working from home, we may be operating a little more slowly than usual, but we’ll respond as quickly as we can.

Thank you in advance for your patience!  

FAQs

Of course everyone has questions, and our goal is to answer as many as we can here. Please check regularly as we update often.

If you don’t see your question, please email info@oztrekk.com.

I’m in Australia. What if I choose to return home for the holidays?

If you are a current student who is studying in Australia, or a commencing student who happens to already be in Australia, we recommend that you remain in Australia if you are serious about completing your studies on time.

There are a few scenarios that you may find yourself in when deciding to return home to Canada, and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and your family.

1. You wish to fully withdraw from studies

  • If done on time (please confirm with your uni as to what this date is) your fees will be refunded. Should you choose to attend studies in Australia later, you would need to reapply to the program.

2. You wish to complete studies online

  • Before making the decision to return home, please check in with your program coordinator/faculty to ensure that this is an option, and that if so, there are no components you might miss (this semester and next) by returning home.
  • If you return home, please be aware that you will need to be quarantined in Canada. You will not be able to return to Australia until the current Australian-entry travel restriction has been removed.

3. You wish to defer studies to a later intake

  • Some programs will allow students to defer their studies to the next available intake. We are currently not sure of the possibility of deferring a professional program (medicine, dentistry, health sciences, etc.) but will update this page as we learn more info. We strongly recommend that you check with your university to see if you are able to defer your program.

Further items to consider

Leaving Australia

  • Outgoing restrictions: Non-Australian citizens and temporary visa holders are permitted to leave Australia, but Australian citizens and permanent residents require an exemption to leave. For further information, see the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs “Leaving Australia” webpage.
  • Restrictions in destination country: Students should check any entry restrictions in their destination country, including quarantine periods and costs. They may wish to contact their local Embassy or Consular Office to see if help is available.
  • Personal travel: travel to a students’ home country is not “University travel” and therefore will not be covered by University travel insurance.

Returning to Australia

  • Border restrictions: the Australian government has imposed strict border restrictions – entry is not permitted unless the traveller is in an exempt category or has been granted an individual exemption. Only a limited number of people are permitted to enter Australia each day.
  • Limited availability of flights: commercial flight availability to and from Australia is currently very limited and this is likely to continue into 2021. Even passengers with tickets are not guaranteed to travel and delays and cancellations have been reported.
  • Quarantine: if students are able to enter Australia, they are currently required to quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel, at their port of arrival at their own cost. The current cost to quarantine in NSW is $3,000 per adult, unless the traveller is granted a fee waiver or exemption. See NSW Government “Quarantine Rules” website.
  • International student corridor: At this stage, there is not enough information to offer any certainty for any form of corridor for international students and students should take care not to use the concept of a corridor on which to base their decisions.

Visa, student loans, scholarships or other entitlements

  • Students should make inquiries to ensure they understand what effects their decision to return home may have on their Australian visa and eligibility for student loans or other entitlements (such as scholarships), particularly if they are unable to return to Australia in 2021.

Updated: November 24, 2020

If my program is on hiatus, can I take classes at other universities?

If you have to take a leave of absence from your program because you can’t return to Australia, OzTREKK recommends that you do not undertake additional studies from other universities. Your Australian university may request to assess those courses before you recommence.

We’ve reached out to our university partners regarding this, and we’ll post more information once we receive it.

Updated: November 24, 2020

Why isn’t my university offering any/all components online?

All universities are doing their best right now to structure everything in a way that meets requirements. Professors and all supporting staff are working beyond their normal working hours to make online studies as suitable for students as they can be. In instances where a high level of instruction is not possible online, universities have made the difficult decision to forego online studies even though this means that numerous high-quality and competitive international students will be unable to enroll at this time.

Updated: November 24, 2020

Will my studies be blended, or is everyone online?

It will differ by university and by program. We recommend that you enroll in your courses as early as possible, so that you may secure course times that work well with your North American time zone.

Please keep in mind that there will be some tutorials and sessions that require group work, and these could be in the middle of the night. You’ll need to go into this prepared to study at odd hours, and to adjust your schedule and sleep patterns accordingly.

Updated: November 24, 2020

Will online studies be continued during mandatory quarantine?

Your university will be supportive during your quarantine period, and should provide you with a faculty-level contact who can support your transition from online studies to in person.

Updated: November 24, 2020

Do I have to apply for my visa right now?

Yes, if you are currently studying online, or have a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for a program starting in early 2021 and have 100% decided that you will attend that program, it is crucial that you start your student visa application. You must have a student visa so that you can promptly get to Australia when borders reopen.

If you are a student who has commenced online studies and have not applied for your visa, please be aware that you may receive an “invalid CoE” error message during the application, which may prevent you from proceeding with the application. Because the program start date will have already passed, The Department of Home Affairs’ visa application system considers these CoEs to be invalid.

Please let us know if you have started online studies and do not yet have a visa, so that we can contact the university and request an updated CoE.

Updated: November 24, 2020

If I start online, will I complete my clinical components on time to graduate?

In order to meet Australian and Canadian accreditation standards, you may have a designated amount of clinical hours to complete. If you commence your studies online online and are unable to get to Australia for the foreseeable future, it is possible that you may not finish your clinical components on time to graduate.

Extended Studies
If you are unable to get into the country to complete these hours, you may need to pause your studies until you are able to continue in person, or, where some clinical hours have been obtained, you may need to extend your course.

Cost and structure will vary by university and program; however, it is likely that you will be charged per additional course block, and of course any additional living expenses and OSHC for the duration of your remaining studies.

Updated: November 24, 2020

If I start my studies online, will I need to pause studies to meet accreditation requirements?

This will differ by program and by university, and dependent on the time at which borders open and you’re able to get into the country.

It is your responsibility to be aware of the hours that you need to meet accreditation standards, and we encourage you to stay in close communication with your university as your studies progress. If you’re having trouble finding the appropriate contact within the university to discuss the accreditation requirement timelines, please reach out to your OzTREKK Admissions Officer so that we follow up with the university on your behalf.

Updated: November 24, 2020

What can I expect the quarantine period to be like?

Many people are sharing their Australian quarantine experience on social media! Check out this guy’s TikTok posts about his recent quarantine experience.

Updated: November 24, 2020

What do I do when the borders open? Will accommodations be full when I get there?

You should prepare to get to Australia promptly as soon as borders reopen. It will be your responsibility to book your flights, so please make yourself familiar with the flights available from week to week moving forward. Commercial flight availability to and from Australia is currently very limited, and this is likely to continue into 2021. Even passengers with tickets are not guaranteed to travel and delays and cancellations have been reported.

Upon arrival, you will be expected to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel. This is a government-mandated quarantine. To learn more, please review the Australian Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for international travellers.

Once your quarantine is over, you can look at the real estate market (much the same as you would in a normal year). Most students book temporary accommodation when they arrive (hotel/air bnb/hostel, etc.) while they set up appointments to look at apartments/shared private housing.

If you’re considering on-campus or managed accommodation, you can apply before you get to Australia. Please make sure that you are familiar with the refund policy and have read all of the fine print before booking and paying, as it’s highly likely that you will not be able to arrive on the agreed upon move-in date.

Updated: November 24, 2020

Will my tuition be lowered if I’m starting online? What financial assistance is available?

Despite many universities choosing to support students with online learning options, this does not mean that the cost of your program will be lowered. Any decisions about lowering tuition are being made individually by each university. Based on what we know at this time, here are some ways that universities are providing financial relief to students:

 

Bond University Bond University will provide fee relief by delaying the scheduled annual increases for 2021 until the May semester. This reduction is for the January semester only but applies to all international programs, including undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Offers that have already been issued will not be revised; however, students will be charged the lower fee when their enrolment is confirmed.

International Student Scholarships for January: Second round closing date November 21, 2020

Students commencing in January 2021 can apply now for an international student scholarship which awards up to the value of 50% off every semester to high achievers in the areas of academia, leadership and community endeavours:

International Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

Charles Sturt University International students who are commencing studies online due to COVID-19 border closures will be eligible to receive a 30% off tuition scholarship, applicable for the first two sessions of study: March 2021 & July 2021. For more details, please check their website.

Please note, Bachelor of Dental Science students are not eligible for this scholarship. See the full list of exclusions.

Deakin University TBA
Flinders University Go Beyond Scholarships allow students a chance to receive anywhere from 20% – 50% off of their tuition, depending on their academic standing and program. You can check out full details on their scholarship page.
Griffith University Griffith Excellence Scholarships rewards students with 25% off tuition for the duration of their program, for anyone who has a minimum 5.5/7.0 cGPA.
James Cook University TBA
Macquarie University The university offers several scholarship opportunities for Canadians totalling up to $10 000 off tuition. For a full list of available scholarships, please check out their scholarship site.
University of Melbourne TBA
Monash University Monash offers an array of scholarships for internationals, which you can find on their International Scholarship site.
University of Newcastle Newcastle is offering a Study From Home Fee Waiver, outlined on their International Scholarships site.  This means that students who will need to commence their studies online and offshore are eligible for a discount of up to 20%.
University of Otago TBA
University of Queensland Full-fee paying international students will be eligible for a 12.5% reduction of tuition fees based on your actual course enrolments in Semester 1, 2021. Please review UQ’s Frequently Asked Questions for further information on the rebate.
University of Sydney TBA
University of Western Australia TBA

Updated October 27, 2020

I am supposed to start my program in semester 1, 2021. What should I do if borders do not open?

As the situation is everchanging, we are unsure of what it will look like for your 2021 study plans. There is currently a travel ban prohibiting non-residents (including students with Visas) from entering Australia.

Several adjustments have been made across our Universities in order to best support students in their study planning. Some programs are allowing students to commence their studies online, while other programs will not be able to support online studies, meaning students may need to defer studies should borders not open in time for program commencement. Here is what we know so far:

Medicine

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
Deakin University Online studies for first semester; second semester under review
Flinders University Yes
Griffith University BSc: Online with transition to Australia ASAP. Must be in Australia for MD portion
MD: First year online, will need to complete components in person once onshore; second year must be onshore
James Cook University Unable to start online; must arrive by March 31, 2021. Students can defer to 2022.
Macquarie University Unable to start online. Students can defer to 2022.
Monash University First year online
University of Melbourne Yes, as long as travel is not permitted. Students should make a decision about deferral by offer lapse date. The university cannot guarantee that late applications for deferral will be considered unless there are extraordinary circumstances outside of COVID.
University of Queensland Online studies for first semester. Deferrals not allowed
University of Sydney Unable to start online
University of Western Australia Unable to start online. Students may defer to 2022.

Updated: November 27, 2020

 

Dentistry

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
Charles Sturt University Yes
Griffith University Yes. Some components cannot be completed online and will need to be completed once students arrive in Australia to study on campus. Students must be in Australia at the commencement of second year.
James Cook University Yes, semester 1 can be completed online
University of Melbourne Online studies not available; must be in person. Anyone impacted by the travel restrictions is eligible for an automatic deferral.
University of Otago Unable to start online. Students may defer to 2022.
University of Queensland Yes
University of Sydney Unable to start online
University of Western Australia Yes

Updated: November 27, 2020

 

Rehabilitation Sciences

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
  Physiotherapy Occupational Therapy Chiropractic Science Speech Pathology Audiology
Flinders University Yes Yes Yes Yes
Griffith University       Unable to start online; accepting deferrals for 1 year
Macquarie University     Yes Unable to start online University has not made a decision
University of Melbourne Online studies not available; students have until Dec. 4 to request a deferral. If borders open after that,  students can request for a start in 2021 pending available places available.        
University of Queensland Yes. (November 2020 commencement)       Yes
University of Sydney Yes Yes   Yes  

Updated: December 2, 2020

 

Law

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
Bond University Program available for online delivery. Deferrals also accepted.
Flinders University Students commencing in 2021 who are unable to come to Australia due to the current travel restrictions will be able to commence their course online.
Griffith University Program available for online delivery. Deferrals also accepted.
Monash University Program is available online should restrictions remain in place. Faculty will contact offer students directly to confirm arrangements. Deferrals available.
University of  Melbourne Program available online. Further information will be noted in mid-December as to what this will look like. No deferrals available.
University of Newcastle Program available for online delivery until travel to Australia is permitted. Deferrals also accepted.
University of Sydney Program available online. Some non-essential units may not be available to be studied remotely. Deferral requests can be made.
University of Western Australia Studies will not be online. Students should consider deferral to 2022.

Updated: December 2, 2020

 

Veterinary Medicine

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
University of Melbourne Yes, for semester 1. Deferrals not approved.
University of Sydney DVM – Yes, for sem 1. Sem 2 must be in country

BVB/DVM – University has not made a decision

University of Queensland Yes

Updated: November 27, 2020

 

Pharmacy/Public Health/Nursing/Optometry/Teacher’s Education

 

University Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
  Pharmacy Public Health Nursing Optometry Teacher Education
Charles Sturt University University has not made a decision University has not made a decision
Deakin University Yes University has not made a decision Not available online
Flinders University Yes University has not made a decision Available for online delivery
Griffith University Program available for online delivery Yes Yes   Not available online; accepting deferrals for one year
James Cook University Not available online; deferrals accepted Yes University has not made a decision Not available online; accepting deferrals for one year
Macquarie University   Yes   University has not made a decision
Monash University Available online. Students in the undergraduate stream may consider starting the program at Monash Malaysia campus. Yes  
University of Melbourne Yes   University has not made a decision
First semester to be delivered online; details regarding July semester not yet determined
University of Newcastle University has not made a decision Yes      
University of Queensland Program available for online delivery Yes University has not made a decision.   Not available online; accepting deferrals for one year
University of Sydney University has noted that students will be required to attend in-person for 1-2022. In the interim online studies will be available. Yes No, studies must be in person. Students may defer to 2022.   Some units of study not available online; students will be required to be on campus for semester 2
University of Western Australia Yes   University has not made a decision

Updated: January 6, 2021

 

Don’t see commencement plans for your program? Contact meghan@oztrekk.com for more information on whether or not your program will be offered online should borders remain closed.

 

 

I am struggling and am stressed. I don’t know what to do. What should I do?

We understand that this is a stressful time for you. If you have specific questions, or just want to chat, please reach out to our team. We’re working remotely, but we can email and hop on a Skype / call quite easily.

The following resources are from current OzTREKK students who have been juggling the “new norm” over the past couple of months:

If You’re in Australia, here are some great resources:

Australian Psychological Society offers tips to maintain positive mental health.

Discuss any questions you have with your state or territory Public Health Agency:

Mental health resources by university

Updated: October 16, 2020

I’m in Australia. What if I choose to return home for the holidays?

If you are a current student studying in Australia, or a commencing student who happens to already be in Australia, we recommend that you remain in Australia if you are serious about completing your studies on time.

There are a few scenarios that you may find yourself in when deciding to return home to Canada, and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and your family.

1. You wish to fully withdraw from studies

If done on time (please confirm with your uni as to what this date is), your fees will be refunded. Should you choose to attend studies in Australia later, you would need to reapply to the program.

2. You wish to complete studies online

Before making the decision to return home, please check in with your program coordinator/faculty to ensure this is an option, and if so, there are no components you might miss (this semester and next) by returning home.

If you return home, please be aware that you will need to be quarantined in Canada. You will not be able to return to Australia until the current Australian-entry travel restriction has been removed.

3. You wish to defer studies to a later intake

Some programs will allow students to defer their studies to the next available intake. We are not sure of the possibility of deferring a professional program (medicine, dentistry, health sciences, etc.), but will update this page as we learn more info. We strongly recommend that you check with your university to see if you are able to defer your program.

Updated: October 16, 2020

What is going to happen with my clinical placements during COVID-19?

Once your studies commence in 2021, you must contact you program coordinator directly to discuss clinical placement details. If you’re having difficulty, please let your OzTREKK Admissions Officer know and we can follow up with your university.

Updated: October 16, 2020

Is the Australian border closed to non-Australians?

The Australian Government has closed the border indefinitely, meaning that non-Australians will not be able to enter the country for the foreseeable future. If you hold an offer or CoE and to a program that commences in early 2021, this will mean one of a few things:

  • You’ll be able to commence studies online, and start studies in-person once borders open.
  • Your program may not be offered online if borders do not open, and you’ll need to defer to 2022.
  • Your program may not be offered online, and you will need to reapply to a later intake.

Once borders open, you will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon re-entering Australia; should your studies resume as normal (i.e., face to face lectures), you may be unable to attend for 14 days upon re-entering.

Updated: October 16, 2020