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Staying COVID safe on campus

Help us stop the spread of COVID-19
The University is committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, staff and the broader community, and our campus activities are informed by NSW Government and health guidelines.

Keeping our campus safe

In Semester 1, 2021 some classes have returned to in-person delivery for students who are able to come to our campuses. In addition, a small number of Orientation activities will take place in person as well as online.

If you are coming to campus to attend classes, events, or to use University services and spaces, there are simple and important guidelines you need to follow to help keep our community safe.

If you are visiting the University, you must:

  • Stay at home if you feel unwell or display cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Follow our physical distancing guidelines 
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing or use your elbow, not your hands
  • If you feel any symptoms, stay home and get a COVID test at a nearby clinic (link to symptoms)
  • You have not have returned from overseas, or any other location that is the subject of a current NSW Public Health Order in the past 14 days
  • You have not been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results and are not currently required by relevant authorities to quarantine or self-isolate
  • Always bring your student ID card to access buildings
  • Follow our COVID-safe classroom protocols, including wiping down your desk before use, maintaining distance in the classroom where possible, and not crowding entrances and exits. 

Physical distancing

All staff and students must adhere to the latest NSW Government direction regarding physical distancing and rules for gatherings.

Physical distancing is about minimising close physical contact with one another. When physical distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed. 

There are several things to remember and observe if you come to campus for class.

On-campus physical distancing measures

  • Keep 1.5m distance between yourself and others
  • Avoid physical greetings such and handshakes or hugs
  • Allow others to pass before entering hallways and lifts
  • Avoid crowding entrances and exits and when lining up for class
  • Avoid large or long face‑to-face meetings
  • Use hand sanitiser on arrival and departure to class
  • Arrive at the scheduled start time and leave as soon as class finishes
  • Use the sanitising wipes (provided in wall mounts outside classrooms) to wipe your desk before use
  • Avoid moving furniture closer together in the classroom
  • Speak to staff if you have any concerns or questions
  • Do not gather outside in groups larger than 20

For more information download our posters on physical distancing on campus (pdf, 260KB)

Events and gatherings

Avoid large crowds and gatherings outdoors on our campuses, and keep 1.5m between yourself and others where possible.

Cleaning services

In addition to our standard cleaning, the University has implemented enhanced cleaning across campuses, focusing on high-traffic areas, high-use amenities and key buildings. Specific focus is given to touch points such as door handles, handrails, lift doors and buttons, kitchen benches and toilets. 

What can I access on campus?

If you're attending classes on campus this semester, you'll need to bring your student card with you to tap in to buildings. If you don't have one yet, find out how to collect your student card

A number of buildings across campus will be unlocked to allow easier access to teaching rooms and study space in the first few weeks of Semester 1, 2021. This mean you will not require a student card to access the following building between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday:

  • Abercrombie Business School (H70) and Codrington Building (H69)
  • Law School Annexe (F10A)
  • Education Building (A35) 
  • Carslaw Building (F07)
  • Charles Perkins Building (D17) 

The front perimeter door will be opened for:

  • Social Sciences Building (A02)
  • John Woolley (A20)
  • R C Mills (A26)
  • Edward Ford (A27)
  • Anderson Stuart (F13)
  • Susan Wakil Health Building (D18)
  • Engineering (J05, J07)

Please note some areas within these buildings may still require swipe access.

Tthe Student Centre is currently closed for in-person enquiries, and is instead providing expanded online support. You can get in touch by phone or by making an online enquiry. Find out how to reach us.

If you’ve submitted a photo for your student card and have been advised to pick it up, we’ll send your card out to your postal address instead. Make sure your address is up to date in Sydney Student.

A number of spaces are available for students who need to study or participate in online classes while on campus. Visitors to these spaces must follow government regulations in relation to COVID-19, with physical distancing and enhanced cleaning measures in place to ensure community safety. You will need to use your student card to access buildings and study spaces.

Information about opening hours for learning hubs can be found on the study spaces page. You can use the booking form to book a desk or room in a learning hub or library space in advance.

Please note that due to the current COVID-19 situation, the ICT Learning Hubs are unstaffed until further notice, however we are able to provide support remotely. Complete the form to request remote support for your University IT.

The Library has reopened to currently enrolled University of Sydney students and staff. See the full list of Library locations and opening hours.

  • Some of our libraries are open 24/7, including Fisher, Law, the Quarter  and Camden Commons.
  • Hours for information desks vary (check current hours).  

Other Library services are available:

Requests and recall processes have returned to normal. Use My account to see the items you have on loan, when they’re due or to renew.

To access Library spaces, University students and staff need to swipe in using their student or staff ID card. Please follow hygiene and physical distancing guidelines at all times. Be considerate of the people around you and the spaces you occupy. 

The University Health Service is currently offering face-to-face and telephone consultations. Make sure you have your student card, as the University Health Service can only take on new patients that are current students or staff of the University. If you are attending the University Health Service in person, please bring and wear your own face mask for your appointment, as per NSW Government guidelines.

Many campus outlets have reopened with physical distancing measures in place, including Footbridge Station, Laneway, Manning Milkbar, Abercrombie Terrace, Coffee @ Fisher and Courtyard Restaurant and Bar. Check the USU website for the latest updates on outlets and opening hours.

Sydney University Sports & Aquatic Centre, Arena Sports Centre and The Ledge Climbing Centre have reopened for members, with physical distancing measures in place. Visit their website for further updates. 

The Sydney University LPO, in the Bank Building on Science Road, is currently open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

General FAQS 

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat and shortness of breath.

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

Government advice is that it's likely general prevention measures used for other respiratory infections will also prevent infection with COVID-19. The University has implemented several measures to help minimise risk, including enhanced levels of cleaning at the campus and provision of hand sanitisers.

Students and staff should always follow these basic hygiene rules:

  • use soap or alcohol-based hand wash frequently; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • avoid areas where there are people sneezing; if you need to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth or nose with a flexed elbow and dispose of tissues immediately.
  • avoid contact with anyone who is unwell
  • do not attend study or work if you feel unwell; instead talk with your lecturer or manager and make alternative arrangements.

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath:

  • isolate yourself from others immediately
  • phone (do not visit) a local general practitioner (GP) or your local COVID-19 clinic for instructions on what to do next:
    • call the University Health Service on 02 9351 3484
      or
    • call the Royal Prince Alfred emergency department (closest to our main campus in Camperdown) on 02 9515 6111.

If symptoms appear while at the University, please excuse yourself from the class or work area and seek medical attention.

If you share a house or apartment with a person confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, you will be provided with guidance from NSW Health about self-isolation. You will not be permitted on campus.

If you are identified as a close contact of the infected person you will be contacted directly by NSW Health (or the equivalent in other states and territories) and provided with specific instructions. If you have not been contacted by the public health unit, please monitor your health closely and if you develop symptoms isolate yourself immediately and seek medical attention. You can also visit the NSW Health website for public health alerts and updates. 

If the event was a University of Sydney event or an event hosted on our campuses, you may be contacted by the University and/or NSW Health.

Close contact is typically someone who has been face-to-face for at least 15 minutes or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person who was infectious.

You will be contacted directly by the University and/or NSW Health and you may be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days. If you show any symptoms of COVID-19 you should contact your nearest COVID-19 clinic to arrange testing.

A casual contact is typically someone who has been face-to-face for less than 15 minutes or been in the same closed space for less than 2 hours, with a person who was infectious.

NSW Health’s current advice is that you will not need to self-isolate, but you should not come to campus for 14 days from the last date you came into contact with the infected person.

You should monitor your health and if you show any symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and call your doctor or Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. When you call, tell them you have been in contact with a confirmed case.

If your symptoms are severe, phone your local Emergency Department or 000. Inform them that you have been in contact with a confirmed case.

You are welcome to wear a mask on campus as an additional measure if you wish. You will not be asked to remove a mask unless it is necessary to meet a safety or compliance requirement of a specialty facility.

Advice on the wearing of masks: 

Under the Public Health Order masks are mandatory for:

  • Entertainment facilities, such as the Seymour Centre.
  • Customer facing hospitality workers “whose functions require the person to deal directly with members of the public”
  • Public transport and waiting areas
  • Places of worship
  • Any premises used for gaming
  • Hairdressing, nail, beauty, tanning, and waxing salons, spas, tattoo and massage parlours.

The wearing of masks in general teaching spaces on our campuses is not currently mandatory. Students and staff are welcome to wear a mask indoors on campus if they wish.

Supply of surgical masks

The University has a limited supply of disposable surgical masks. These will be supplied for use in the following settings:

  • Essential onsite face-to-face services such as teaching and laboratory work
  • For staff and students in clinical and medical settings (as masks are compulsory in accordance with NSW Health requirements for health care workers)
  • For staff and students in practical teaching settings where physical distance cannot be maintained
  • To give to students in University accommodation who are unwell or required to self-isolate

Wearing a mask

It is important to ensure your mask is fitted correctly and to follow safe procedures for putting on and taking off masks. Used masks can be disposed of in normal bins around campus.

NSW Health have provided detailed guidance on how to wear a mask.

You can also watch the video demonstration by the Australian Department of Health.

Self-isolation

The Australian Government requires individuals to self-isolate if they have:

  • Been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Been in a location that is subject to a current NSW Public Health Order in the past 14 days
  • Been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for results
  • Arrived in Australia less than 14 days ago.

Self-isolation means that you don’t leave your home or accommodation, you separate yourself from others in the household, and you don’t have visitors. Please refer to the specific NSW Health guidance about home isolation for:

Responding to Australian Government decisions, we have made arrangements for any student who is staying in our accommodation to self-isolate if required.

The University will not charge for isolation costs if you are paying rent for your booked accommodation, and they have arranged temporary isolation accommodation.

If you do not wish to stay in the temporary isolation accommodation, the University can also assist in sourcing external accommodation. As this your choice, you are expected to pay your own costs for the period of self-isolation. In this instance, the University will not charge rent on your booked University accommodation for the period of your isolation.

Should you wish to speak to someone regarding the temporary relocation, please contact our student accommodation services team at accommodation.info@sydney.edu.au.

Please pack all personal belongings you would like to take with you for the next 14 days.

The University will provide transportation to your temporary accommodation and you will be advised of details once arrangements have been confirmed.

During your stay in isolation the University will provide support to ensure you are comfortable and can access things you need. The University will be providing you with:

  • Bed linen
  • Towels
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Face mask

Once you are in your University accommodation for self-isolation, follow the advice listed under How do I self-isolate?

If your facility does not include wi-fi, a wi-fi dongle will be provided to you at no cost.

Arrangements are also being made to provide you with a streaming service so that you can enjoy movies and television programs during the period of isolation.

After 14 days, the University will provide transportation to your regular accommodation and you will be advised of details once arrangements have been confirmed.

Should you wish to speak to someone regarding the temporary relocation, please contact our student accommodation services team at accommodation.info@sydney.edu.au.

In the event of a confirmed case on campus

The response to the detection of COVID-19 within the University community will be managed by the University in cooperation with the NSW Public Health Authority.

Any contacts of a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection will be communicated with and supported in line with the NSW Public Health Authority protocols. 

NSW Health has developed and exercised a range of procedures for case finding, diagnosis, and contact tracing for high consequence infectious diseases (such as pandemic influenza, SARS, MERS, and emerging infections) should they occur in NSW. These procedures are being used to identify contacts of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW.

See University updates on COVID-19, including details of any confirmed cases on campus.

Keeping up-to-date

It is important to keep yourself updated with advice from NSW Health on any given day to ensure you remain informed of any changing situation near you. Be sure to check these sites regularly:


Last updated 15 February 2021

Contact us

Students can submit a query via the Coronavirus Enquiry form.
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