Q. Why are things changing?
A. The health, safety and wellbeing of students and everyone in our community is of paramount importance to us .The University of Melbourne (the University), FVAS and Kendall Hall are currently operating within the guidelines of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the University’s Student Accommodation Emergency Response Plan with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This means we have had to make changes to the way we operate Kendall Hall and the number of residents that can safely be accommodated.
Q. Why does this affect me as a University of Melbourne student?
A. In recognition of the higher risk of disease transmission in student accommodation, in mid-March 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) recommended actions for TAFE, colleges and universities within its Physical distancing and other transmission reduction measures -coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.
The University of Melbourne took these recommendations very seriously and developed and implemented a Student Accommodation Emergency Response Plan to minimise the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission in student accommodation.
Melbourne Veterinary School has been working extremely hard to put plans and processes in place which enable our DVM4 students to return to campus to complete their learning in a safe and considered way. This can only be achieved if the density at Kendall Hall remains sufficiently low to mitigate risks in accordance with the University’s Student Accommodation Emergency Response Plan.
Q. How is the occupancy of Kendall Hall affected?
A. The University’s Student Accommodation Emergency Response Plan has been implemented to minimise the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission in student accommodation.
Occupancy at Kendall Hall is to be kept to a minimum to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In order to provide a safe environment for our students, we need to maintain the restrictions on the number of residents.
Q. Why haven’t we been given more notice of the new arrangements at Kendall Hall?
A. During these unprecedented events, public health advice and government policy has continued to evolve and we have all had to adapt quickly to new ways of operating while maintaining your access to the learning you need to complete your program. The new arrangements at Kendall Hall have been developed based on the evolving government policy and restrictions and the DVM4 cohort’s nomination of their rotations, which were finalised this week.
Q. Why can’t all of the fourth-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM4) students stay at Kendall Hall?
A. Our utmost priority is the health and safety of our community. The University’s approach to student accommodation is informed by recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and we continue to monitor and adapt our approach as appropriate.
The limited bathroom (eight) and kitchen (two) facilities at Kendall Hall mean that not all 38 DVM4 students who have an existing agreement to stay at Kendall Hall can be accommodated there at once while still adhering to current public health advice and physical distancing requirements. FVAS will honour its agreement to provide accommodation for the 38 DVM4 students who have an existing agreement to stay at Kendall Hall by providing alternative accommodation as necessary. The layout of Kendall Hall also limits the ability to self-isolate if anyone develops COVID-19 symptoms.
Q. Why can’t I stay at Kendall Hall and use the other bathrooms at the Werribee Campus?
A. Kendall Hall is the only building on the Werribee Campus certified for residential use and its layout with narrow corridors limits the occupancy under the current physical distancing restrictions. Whilst there are other bathrooms on the campus, they are in buildings that have not been designed or certified for “residential” use.
Q. Who will be allowed to stay at Kendall Hall under the current COVID-19 restrictions?
A. In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students undertaking late-night rotations or who are on call at the Werribee campus, priority will be given to those DVM4 students with an existing agreement to stay at Kendall Hall during the periods when they are involved in those activities. The late-night rotations include: Equine referral (OOH), SA emergency care (OOH), SA intensive care, SA patient care (OOH), Anaesthesia and surgery (OOH ).
Q. Does this mean I will be forced to find alternative accommodation myself?
A. The University has made arrangements for alternative accommodation for students. Where we are unable to both act in line with public health and physical distancing requirements and provide accommodation at Kendall Hall to the 38 DVM4 students with an existing agreement to stay there, we have taken responsibility for providing you with safe and comfortable alternative accommodation.
Q. Where is the alternative University accommodation and how does it compare with Kendall Hall?
A. The alternative University accommodation is at Lincoln House, Bouverie Street, Carlton. Residents with an existing agreement to stay at Kendall Hall are being offered a single bedroom at Lincoln House with an ensuite bathroom, subject to availability.
Q. What would happen if someone who has been sharing kitchen facilities at Lincoln House got sick?
A. If a student gets sick at Lincoln House, they would need to self-isolate and get tested. Other residents would only need to isolate and be tested if they had contact closer than 1.5 metres for over 15 minutes. We encourage you to download the COVIDSafe app so you can be quickly alerted of any risks.
The advantage of Lincoln House is that, it not only has larger industrial kitchen facilities for safety, but it also has a greater capacity to accommodate residents who need to self-isolate by providing en suite facilities and so will lessen the impact on other residents.
Q. According to the ABC, there are current active COVID-19 cases at the Rydges hotel on Swanston St, nearby Lincoln House. Is the University concerned about students’ safety?
A. This is not a safety concern if students adhere to the recommended COVID-safe practices.
Q. As the cost of a room at Lincoln House is almost double the cost of a room at Kendall Hall, do I have to pay the extra costs?
A. We recognise that the accommodation arrangements under the current COVID-19 restrictions are outside the control of the residents and that you should not be financially disadvantaged. Therefore, FVAS have undertaken to pay the additional accommodation costs to ensure that you are not adversely impacted.
Q. Why can’t the University find us other accommodation near Werribee Campus?
A. The University does not have other accommodations available in Werribee and we want to ensure students are provided appropriate space in a safe environment You can choose to cancel your existing Kendall Hall accommodation agreement without penalty and arrange your own private accommodation. FVAS will provide assistance to you in your discussions with letting agents, if required. You may also continue your agreement and take advantage of accommodation at Lincoln House which the University is providing, until such time that you find private accommodation near Werribee Campus, at which point you may cancel your existing Kendall Hall accommodation agreement without penalty.
The University is unable to pay for private accommodation in the Werribee area for all 38 residents who have an existing Kendall Hall accommodation agreement.
Q. How will I get from Lincoln House to the Werribee Campus each day, as the distance between the two is approximately 30km (30-minute drive) and I am used to a 2-minute walk?
A. Lincoln House is the closest suitable University accommodation to the Werribee Campus. FVAS will provide you with free scheduled daily transport between Lincoln House and the Werribee Campus.
Q. When is the scheduled transport between Lincoln House and the Werribee Campus?
A. The transport to the Werribee Campus will leave Lincoln House at 07:00. The transport to Lincoln House will leave the Werribee Campus at 18:00.
Q. What if my shift times don’t align with the free scheduled daily transport between Lincoln House and Werribee campus?
A. Your rotation leads are aware that students travelling to and from Lincoln House on the free scheduled daily transport will arrive and leave at these set times and will be allowed to do so.
If you find yourself with waiting time after you arrive or before you leave Werribee campus, there are safe spaces throughout the Learning and Teaching Building, including the library and the upstairs lounge at U-Vet, where you can wait, study or relax safely while maintaining social distancing.
Q. If someone gets sick on the free scheduled daily transport, would I need to self-isolate too?
A. If you are unwell, you must stay at home. There should be no one on the free scheduled daily transport who is feeling unwell. The bus provided is big enough to allow social distancing so proves no greater danger than residence and participation in classes at Werribee. If someone on the bus tests positive and you have been closer than 1.5 metres for longer than 15 minutes, you would need to self-isolate.
Q. What if I have a car and want to drive myself between Lincoln House and the Werribee Campus?
A. Residents being housed at Lincoln House by FVAS under these arrangements will be provided with a parking space at the University Square car park for their personal car without charge.
Q. Can I car pool between Lincoln House and the Werribee Campus?
A. Yes. But you must observe the DHHS recommendations for physical distancing in a car.
Q. Do I have to use my car to travel between Lincoln House and the Werribee Campus if I don’t want to?
A. The scheduled daily transport between Lincoln House and the Werribee Campus provided by FVAS will be available to all residents being housed at Lincoln House by FVAS under these arrangements.
Q. Where is Lincoln House?
A. Lincoln House is located to the south of the University’s main Parkville Campus where “STOP 1” and student support services are based.
Q. Do I still have to pay the “room hold” fees for my room at Kendall Hall when I am not staying there?
A. FVAS will waive the “room hold” fees from 1 June 2020 for the periods when you are staying at Lincoln House, if you have an existing agreement to stay at Kendall Hall.
Q. Will the “room hold” fees I’ve been paying be refunded?
A. The “room hold” fees will be refunded for the week commencing 25 May 2020 when the new arrangements were announced.
Q. How do I transport my belongings to Lincoln House?
A. FVAS will assist residents with the transfer of their belongings to Lincoln House where required.
Q. Do I have to empty my room at Kendall Hall?
A. No. Your room at Kendall Hall will remain allocated to you, although you will only be able to stay at Kendall Hall when you’re involved with late-night rotations or are on call at the Werribee Campus.
Q. Do I need to transfer my bedding between Kendall Hall and Lincoln House?
A. No. FVAS will provide fresh linen (including a pillow) when you are involved with “late night” rotations or are on call at the Werribee Campus and staying at Kendall Hall.
Q. Do I need to empty my room at Lincoln House when I am staying at Kendall Hall?
A. No. When you are involved with “late night” rotations or are on call at the Werribee Campus and staying at Kendall Hall, your room at Lincoln House will remain allocated to you.
Q. Where can I house my pet?
A. FVAS will provide accommodation at the Werribee Campus for the pet of a resident with an existing agreement to stay at Kendall Hall while they are staying at Lincoln House. Lincoln House is managed by a private party and it has its own residents’ handbook, which includes a “no pets” policy (Lincoln House Resident Handbook).
Q. If I am currently staying at Kendall Hall when do I have to leave?
A. Unless you are involved in a “late night” rotation or are on call at the Werribee Campus during the week commencing 8 June 2020, you will need to leave Kendall Hall before Saturday 6 June 2020.