Increased COVID-19 Safety Measures for Graduate Students

21 October 2021

Statement from GSA President and Education Officers

Graduate students are facing an unprecedented and risky situation as the University of Melbourne continues to expand its in-person operations and as students begin shifting to in-person placements for the first time during widespread community transmission of COVID-19.

GSA endorses the motion passed by the University of Melbourne NTEU branch on 7 October 2021 and aims to do more to support graduate students’ safety both on-campus and during placements.

The University of Melbourne NTEU motion:

The University of Melbourne NTEU branch notes the unusually risky situation of a return to campus and face-to-face teaching in the midst of a surge in case numbers. We therefore support a vaccine mandate for university staff and students. But we note major concerns with the way the announcement has been made at the University of Melbourne, in particular the lack of consultation with staff and students. We call on the University to immediately:

    • begin discussions with staff and student representative bodies about the implementation of the mandate, and a memorandum of understanding on the safety protocols supported by the NTEU University of Melbourne branch
    • ensure that the burden of enforcement is not placed on individual frontline and teaching staff
    • ensure that the mandate is used in conjunction with all other OHS measures to reduce the risk to the community as far as possible
    • ensure that the mandate is implemented alongside measures to provide access to vaccination for staff and students (especially from vulnerable groups and those without Medicare cards)

 

Our Next Step:

GSA will begin surveying and advocating for student safety on-campus and on placements. The survey will be forwarded early next week to identify main concerns about the return to campus (and, if applicable, to in-person placements) to all our graduate members. Please ensure you take the time, respond to our survey and support our campaign to ensure strategies are put in place to increase safety for graduates at University of Melbourne.

Complete the survey here:
https://melbourneuni.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dcLZFIOVL0LZtT8

To discuss the issues further please contact: