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COVID-19 College Precautions

Emergency Control Procedures for COVID-19 for New College and New College Postgraduate Village

This bulletin was last updated on 11/10/21. It will continue to be updated on an as needs basis.


New College Response

Responsible Officer Master
Associated Documents The New College Handbook & The New College Postgraduate Village Handbook
Review Date 11 October 2021
Version 2.0
Authorised by The Master
Responsible Officer The Master
Approval Date 11 October 2021
Effective Date 11 October 2021

Scope

There was an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in the region of Wuhan, Hubei Province China. The virus has reached Australia and has become widespread in some jurisdictions and both state and federal Australian governments have successfully managed a response to the Coronavirus. Relatively small outbreaks, by world standards, have occurred from time to time in parts of Australia. In the state of New South Wales, where New College is located, there is presently an outbreak centered on Sydney which has spread across the state.

There is no intention to close either College. Our communities have remained open throughout the pandemic with no positive cases to date. College is home to many university students who have nowhere else to go. In summary, we have transformed our College operations so that each and every resident can travel from the outside the College building to their bedroom without physical contact with any solid surface. This has been done while maintaining College security. Handwashing is now permanently available at the entry points of each College and dining areas.

This bulletin is to advise regarding the processes that we have in place to protect each and every member of our communities.

Our advice is to be understood in the context of Government physical distancing requirements being applied to all activities as well as the bulletins from:

These procedures and internal roadmap describe our precautions as New South Wales opens up in response to widespread vaccination across the state.

In summary, both residential communities are approaching full vaccination.

  1. A few people have elected to move to Level 1 at New College Postgraduate Village where they will continue to reside for the remainder of the 2021 academic year.
  2. Those who are partially vaccinated will continue to remain under restrictions until such time as they are fully vaccinated.
  3. For those who are fully vaccinated, there will be relaxation of internal College precautions, concurrently with the NSW roadmap for 70% and 80% vaccination of the population for people over the age of 16.

Conventional COVID-delta health precautions (handwashing, personal hygiene, and physical distancing) will continue to be practised. Mask wearing will be retained in settings where there is increased risk.

70% Roadmap for settings within our Colleges

Our college community, including staff and residents, are at nearly 100% full vaccination. When NSW reaches 70% vaccination the following settings will be applied within our colleges for fully vaccinated people only. There are no relaxed freedoms for present unvaccinated residents.

New College Courtyard/Bridge & NCV Courtyards 

Because the courtyards are effectively open air, larger group meetings can resume for those who are fully vaccinated. The requirement for physical distancing and mask wearing will depend on the nature of the activity.

  1. Informal activities of 30 or less people in a courtyard may occur without a Proposal & Risk Assessment and mask wearing will not be required. A Proposal & Risk Assessment will still be required for any activity involving noise and/or food.
  2. For activities of more than 30 people in a courtyard, a proposal and risk assessment must first be submitted for approval by the Dean. Mask wearing will be compulsory. If these are tutor meetings or College Suppers, a zoom participation option must be provided for the few people who have only received one vaccination. For other activities, a zoom participation option must be considered.
  3. Sports activities that are permitted in the courtyards may be conducted without masks subject to physical distancing and full vaccination of participants.
  4. Dining in the courtyard is allowed subject to a table limit of 4 people for white tables and 6 for brown top tables applied.

Main Common Rooms

  1. Activities of 20 or less people in the Main Common Rooms may occur without a Proposal & Risk Assessment.
  2. For activities of more than 20 people, a proposal and risk assessment must first be submitted for approval by the Dean. If these are tutor meetings, a zoom participation option must be provided for those who are not fully vaccinated. For other activities, a zoom participation option must be considered.
  3. Group meetings in the Main Common Rooms are subject to everyone being fully vaccinated, seated, physically distanced and wearing a mask, except if they are a presenter with at least 3 metres distance between them and the audience.
  4. Room capacities will be subject to the 4 square metre rule.
Personal living areas
  1. At New College, personal living spaces include the individual group areas sharing common bathrooms connected to an associated Resident Adviser flat. At NCV, personal living spaces are either individual studios or those apartment areas with a designated common kitchen on Levels 4 – 7 only.
  2. Fully vaccinated residents may have other fully vaccinated residents from within the same college visit their apartment, studio, bedroom, or RA/SR flat. Mask wearing will not be required in these spaces. However, mask wearing remains compulsory for any person transiting through or visiting common areas, corridors, and bathrooms adjoining these personal living spaces that are not their own.
Common facilities, stairwells, corridors and foyers
  1. Use of common facilities (e.g. games rooms, television rooms, the dining room etc.) are subject to individuals being vaccinated (at least one dose) and wearing a mask, except when eating or drinking.
  2. Mask wearing remains compulsory in stairwells, lifts, corridors, balconies, and foyers, which are outside personal living areas.
Visitors

From 11 October 2021 visitation to our Colleges remains restricted except to designated visiting areas for fully vaccinated day visitors during the hours of 9am-10pm. Residents are permitted one visitor per day. Visitors may not enter the building if they are exhibiting cold and flu-like symptoms.

Designated areas for day visitors are as follows:

  • The Main Common Room and Courtyard at New College Postgraduate Village.
  • The Meeting Room and Northern Garden at New College (Undergraduate).

Visitors may only enter the building with the pre-approval of the Dean of Residents subject to proof of vaccination. Pre-approval will only be given during business hours (9am-5pm Monday-Friday) and must be requested at least 24 hours prior by contacting enquiries@newcollege.unsw.edu.au or 93811999 for New College, and ncvreception@newcollege.unsw.edu.au or 8344 4500.

After residents have received written approval from the Dean of Residents to have a visitor, that visitor must comply with the following:

  • They must check in and out at Reception or with the After-Hours Duty Officer during the specified hours. No visitors are allowed in the building at any other times.
  • They must wear masks at all times.
  • They must wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival.
  • They will need to complete the electronic check-in form providing a contact phone number and other health information.
  • NCV residents wishing to visit friends at New College (and vice versa) may do so on any day between 9am and 10pm with access restricted to the ground floor of each College, except for approved activities. The visitor must remain with their host at all times.
  • These arrangements are separate to and do not restrict NCV residents who have separate access to New College ground floor for meal plan purposes.
  • After a visitor is checked out, the resident is to ensure they wipe down all surfaces within the designated area with hot, soapy water and/or other approved disinfectants.
  • If the visitor becomes sick or has any COVID-19 symptoms up to 48 hours after their visit to one of the Colleges, they are to contact the relevant Dean of Residents informing them of this. The resident they visited will then be placed in isolation until COVID-19 testing can be undertaken and test results come back negative.
  • Breaches of the rules will see the revocation of visitor privileges for the resident who has not complied, and the visitor involved in the breach will no longer be able to visit the building.

Any exemption where a resident wishes to request for more than a visitor (i.e their whole family), must obtain permission from the Dean of Residents.

80% Roadmap for settings within our Colleges

Our college community, including staff and residents, will have reached nearly 100% full vaccination when NSW reaches 80% vaccination, with the exception of a handful of people living in a separated section of New College Postgraduate Village. At that time the following settings will be applied within our colleges for fully vaccinated people only. There are no relaxed freedoms for present unvaccinated residents.

New College Courtyard/Bridge & NCV Courtyards 

Because the courtyards are effectively open air the requirement for mask wearing will be removed for those who are fully vaccinated.

  1. Informal activities of 50 or less people in a courtyard may occur without a Proposal & Risk Assessment and mask wearing will not be required. A Proposal & Risk Assessment will still be required for any activity involving noise, food, or visitors.
  2. For activities of more than 50 people in a courtyard, a proposal and risk assessment must first be submitted for approval by the Dean. Mask wearing will no longer be compulsory.
  1. Dining in the courtyard will no longer include table limits.
Main Common Rooms
  1. Activities of 20 or less people
    1. Activities of 20 or less people in the MCR may occur without a Proposal & Risk Assessment. A Proposal & Risk Assessment will still be required for any activity involving noise, food, or visitors.

    2. Mask wearing will only be required if deemed necessary based on the risk assessment.

  2. Activities of more than 20 people
    1. For activities of more than 20 people, a proposal and risk assessment must first be submitted for approval by the Dean.

    2. Mask wearing will be compulsory, except by residents performing a presentation.

  3. Group meetings in the Main Common Rooms are subject to everyone being fully vaccinated, seated, and physically distanced.

  4. Room capacities will be subject to the 4 square metre rule.

Personal living areas
  1. At New College, personal living spaces include the individual group areas sharing common bathrooms connected to an associated Resident Adviser flat. At NCV, personal living spaces are either individual studios or those apartment areas with a designated common kitchen
  2. Fully vaccinated residents may have other fully vaccinated residents from within the same college visit their apartment, studio, bedroom, or RA/SR flat. Mask wearing will not be required in these spaces or the adjoining common areas, corridors, and bathrooms of these personal living area.
Common facilities, stairwells, corridors and foyers
  1. Use of common facilities (e.g. games rooms, television rooms, the dining room etc.) will only be for fully vaccinated residents.
  2. Member residents will no longer be required to wear masks.
  3. Table limits in the New College dining room will be removed, given that it is relatively on par with 1 person per 2 square metre rule.
Visitors

As NSW reaches 80% vaccination for people over the age of 16, the Colleges will accept fully vaccinated visitors upstairs during the hours of 9am-10pm. Residents are permitted one visitor per day. Visitors may not enter the building if they are exhibiting cold and flu-like symptoms.

Designated areas for day visitors are as follows:

  • The Main Common Room and Courtyard at New College Postgraduate Village.
  • The Meeting Room and Northern Garden at New College (Undergraduate).
  • Personal living areas

Visitors may only enter the building with the pre-approval of the Dean of Residents subject to proof of vaccination. Pre-approval will only be given during business hours (9am-5pm Monday-Friday) and must be requested at least 24 hours prior by contacting enquiries@newcollege.unsw.edu.au or 93811999 for New College, and ncvreception@newcollege.unsw.edu.au or 8344 4500.

After residents have received written approval from the Dean of Residents to have a visitor, that visitor must comply with the following:

  • They must check in and out at Reception or with the After-Hours Duty Officer during the specified hours. No visitors are allowed in the building at any other times.
  • They must wear masks at all times.
  • They must wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival.
  • They will need to complete the electronic check-in form providing a contact phone number and other health information.
  • NCV residents wishing to visit friends at New College (and vice versa) may do so on any day between 9am and 10pm with access restricted to the ground floor of each College, except for approved activities. The visitor must remain with their host at all times.
  • These arrangements are separate to and do not restrict NCV residents who have separate access to New College ground floor for meal plan purposes.
  • After a visitor is checked out, the resident is to ensure they wipe down all surfaces within the designated area with hot, soapy water and/or other approved disinfectants.
  • If the visitor becomes sick or has any COVID-19 symptoms up to 48 hours after their visit to one of the Colleges, they are to contact the relevant Dean of Residents informing them of this. The resident they visited will then be placed in isolation until COVID-19 testing can be undertaken and test results come back negative.
  • Breaches of the rules will see the revocation of visitor privileges for the resident who has not complied, and the visitor involved in the breach will no longer be able to visit the building.

Any exemption where a resident wishes to request for more than one visitor (e.g their whole family), must obtain permission from the Dean of Residents.

General Background to Minimizing Risk

There are three aspects to minimizing risks as follows.

1. Prevention

a. NSW Health advice is that conventional personal hygiene principles apply:

  • Regular washing of hands.
  • Use of hand sanitisers or hand washing facilities maintained at the principal entry points to our Colleges and our meal facilities is mandatory.
  • Disposal of all tissues carefully. Waste bins are emptied each day in the public areas of our Colleges. Resident room bins are emptied each week.
  • Coughing or sneezing into a handkerchief or tissue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQOSh6GLa_w. Coughing or sneezing into the elbow not onto hands is recommended by some for pragmatic reasons.
  • Use of mobile devices during meals is not recommended as they can be a principal means of infection transfer.
  • Cleaning up after meals. Our catering facilities wash all dishes immediately after use. Hands should be sanitised after meals.
  • When exiting shared bathroom facilities, paper waste should be used to open the door and deposited in the bin outside.
  • Resident Advisers and Senior Residents have been asked to report any poor hygiene to the College Dean.
b. Masks
  • Mask wearing is compulsory in certain areas of the College as per the College’s easing of restrictions concurrently with the NSW roadmap for 70% and 80% full vaccination.
  • Our Colleges maintain a limited supply of masks for residents who may wish to access these.
  • Masks are mandatory for those exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Anyone experiencing such symptoms will be isolated until an isolation period of 14 days is complete or a medical practitioner has certified that the illness is not COVID-19.

  • Non-resident staff will wear masks in the workplace, whenever this is required by NSW Health. Resident staff (for whom New College is their home) will wear masks in workplace settings within the College as appropriate.

c. Visitor rules and background of incoming personnel
  • All incoming personnel (staff, visitors, contractors, incoming residents and authorised university guests) must register when entering the building using the electronic NSW Health check-in QR code. Incoming personnel who do not have a way to use the electronic check-in, must provide their details at reception.
  • All incoming personnel will be required by reception to disclose their COVID-19 history and their contact details in case of emergency.
  • All College staff will provide a full COVID vaccination certificate or medical exemption document to be safely stored on College database to remain in employment of New College
  • All contractors and casual guets prior to entry will provide a full COVID vaccination certificate or medical exemption document to be safely stored on College database to gain access to New College
  • Compliance with this procedure is mandatory. Random audits will be undertaken to monitor compliance.
  • Visitation rules for resident members will be regularly reviewed. At present, visitors are not permitted.
d. Physical Distancing and Square Meter Rule
  • At various times NSW Health has introduced person densities for all indoor and outdoor settings. It seems that some of these will be reinstated during October 2021. NSW Health also advises that the square metre rules do not apply to normal operations for the activities and premises which are considered essential gatherings including reasons 11 and 12 (see https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/square-metres-rules):
  1. Schools, universities, other educational institutions or childcare facilities, excluding events that involve members of the community in addition to staff and students
  2. Hotels, motels or other accommodation facilities

Nevertheless, the College has voluntarily applied the 2 square metre rule and the 4 square metre rule in the majority of its operations as a precaution, in line with advice from NSW Health.

2. Diagnosis

  1. Any resident who is unwell, or who has been identified as close or casual-contact of someone who has had COVID-19, is required to call our College receptions (monitored 24 hours) on 9381 1999 (New College) and 8344 4500 (NCV).
  2. The instruction of health authorities is that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should present to a medical practitioner. Our Colleges will assist any resident to access such health support.
  3. Consistent with the advice of NSW Health, incoming residents travelling from COVID-19 countries will be given isolated accommodation until a medical consultation, arranged by the College, has been completed.
  4. Resident Advisers and Senior Residents will be monitoring all residents and actively reporting resident condition to the Dean.

3. Isolation

  1. Consistent with the advice of NSW Health, any admitted incoming residents travelling from overseas or experiencing flu-like symptoms will be given isolated accommodation until medical clearance, arranged by the College, has been completed.
  2. Our Colleges have the ability and responsibility to isolate anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms for the recommended period of 14 days. This includes all residents, staff and visitors.
  3. Meals and laundering will be provided to any resident or official guest in College who has been isolated, at their cost.
  4. There is no ventilation cross connection between adjacent College bedrooms. This includes the College air conditioning systems.
  5. Isolated residents will be permitted to contact the College receptions 9am to 5pm weekdays with personal requests. College will endeavour to accommodate any reasonable request.
  6. Precautionary principles will apply. If the Deans or Master are uncertain regarding the health status of any resident, they will be isolated until medical clearance is granted. Any resident not co-operating with an instruction from the Deans or Master will be asked to leave College immediately.

Infection Stage

There are two stages for a potentially infectious virus. The strategies for avoiding infection spread differ according to the stage. These are summarised in the table below.

Stage Infection Route Health Strategy
Pre-symptomatic (the person does not know that they are infected) Contamination by contact with people, food or surfaces
  1. Minimising contact between the infected and the uninfected.
  2. Personal hygiene of both the infected and uninfected person.
  3. Immediate disclosure of the onset of any potential symptoms.
  4. Monitoring to detect people who may have become infected.
Post-symptomatic (the person shows obvious symptoms)

Contamination by contact

 

Generation of infected droplets by sneezing or coughing
  1. Isolation
  2. Personal hygiene
  3. Medical attention

Current Procedures

The normal college rules of operation, as per the relevant College handbooks, are subject to this Emergency Control Procedures, which synthesises the restrictions and advice from the NSW Government.

The procedures applicable require careful consideration of our community members. Consequently, the procedures have been broken down accordingly in the table below.

Community Member Potential Infection Route Infection Prevention Strategy Specific Actions

Resident members

and official university visitor residents
Building access Minimal physical contact
  1. Access to building only via actuated doors
    1. Exterior access doors are only to be used by waste contractors
    2. External pedestrian access to NCV will only be via the Day Street entrance. Vehicle and bicycle access is permitted via the basement roller shutter.
  2. Internal access doors to remain open except in case of fire doors.
  3. Minimal contact with lift actuators and exit buttons.
  4. Resident room door handles will be wiped at intervals by cleaning staff as part of corridor cleaning.
  5. Paper hand towels to be used to exit shared bathroom facilities and deposited in the bin outside.
  Accommodation Individual accommodation
  1. All accommodation is single occupancy only, except for limited accommodation facilities for families.
  2. Official university visitor residents may only be accommodated with their immediate family.
  3. Resident members will comply with visitor rules in relation to these procedures.
  Ablutions

Minimal sharing of facilities.

Where bathrooms are shared, provision of appropriate disinfection facilities.

Ensuite rooms will operate as normal unless the resident is suspected of infection. In the case of suspected infection, room cleaning will be suspended for the 14 day isolation period. 

At NCV, all rooms are ensuite.

To those not in ensuite at NC, the following actions apply:

  1. Soap and paper towel hand-drying will be provided in shared bathrooms.
  2. Handwashing facilities will be provided at each group area sink.
  3. Use of disposable hand towels when exiting bathroom facilities.
  4. Those exhibited COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated in their room and will be provided with separate bathroom facilities.
  Food Food contamination
  1. Minimal sharing of utensils. Shared utensils and table spaces will be replaced/cleaned every 15 minutes.
  2. Use of hats, masks and gloves by all involved in food and utensil preparation.
  3. Dining places in the New College Dining Room are now widely spaced as possible (achieving 1 person per 8 square metres).
  4. NCV residents should not take meals to the New College Courtyard without permission of the Master or the Dean of Residents.
  Study Minimal physical contact Common study areas to be cleaned after use.
  Recreation Minimal physical contact Personal hygiene.
  Interactions with others Minimal physical contact Personal hygiene. 
Staff Building access to fully vaccinated or medically exempt only. No access of post-symptomatic staff or travelling from hotspots As for residents As for residents
  Ablutions Minimal physical contact Use of disposable hand towels when exiting bathroom facilities.
  Interactions with others Minimal physical contact

All staff must wear masks.

Use of masks and gloves by all involved in cleaning and maintenance processes.

Regular hand washing by those handling shared materials.

Contractors Building access to full vaccinated or medically exempt only. No access of post-symptomatic contractors or travelling from hotspots As for residents As for residents
 

Interactions with others

As for staff

All contractors must wear masks.

Use of masks and gloves by all involved in maintenance processes.

Regular hand washing by those handling shared materials.

Casual guests

Building access to fully vaccinated or medically exempt only. No access of post-symptomatic staff or travelling from hotspots

 

Limited access to their level and ground level common area

Limited access to their level and ground level common area

   Ablutions As for staff As for staff
   Interactions with others

Minimal physical contact except when family of resident

All guests must wear masks outside of their guest room