Graduate student placements after a second lockdown
Updated: Thursday 9 July 2020
Over June and July, GSA has seen a surge of issues related to student placements.
During the period of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in May and June 2020, some students were briefly able to return to placements. Even then, they encountered severe disruptions, limited placement options, and a lack of clear information from the University. We have heard from medical students who were sent home from hospital placements due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their co-workers in early July – a severe and unforeseeable disruption to their learning opportunities.
GSA released a report in May 2020 outlining 5 crucial recommendations to the University to address these student placement concerns. But as of Tuesday 7 July, the situation has changed again, with a return to stage 3 lockdown measures in Melbourne. Placements are once again likely to be cancelled, postponed, or made online-only.
In light of these sudden developments, we reiterate our call for the University to prioritise our 5 recommendations. In short, those recommendations are:
- Clear, central information on changes to placements on the University’s coronavirus webpage
- Different placement options for students to choose from, combining online and in-person experiences where possible
- Free or subsidised visa advice to international students who need leave or extensions
- Support for students who are unable to participate in online placements (e.g. technology bursaries, provision of office space)
- To prioritise placement opportunities for students who are close to completion
Our full report from May 2020 is available here:
GSA received some University responses to this report on Wednesday 17 June, particularly from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) and the Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (MDHS) faculty.
Those responses can be found here:
We are continuing to monitor this issue.
If you are still experiencing difficulties due to changes to your placements this semester, please let us know.
Fill out our survey here: Impact of COVID-19 on graduate student placements.