You are here: Home / Media & Events / News / 2020 News

COVID-19 College Precautions

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

This bulletin was last updated on 2/6/20. It will continue to be updated on an as needs basis.

Download our Pathway Back From COVID-19

We have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our communities. We are not anticipating any in the immediate future.

Any emerging confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be accommodated in the New College guest flats. These are physically removed from our resident student college communities. We have arrangements to accommodate, in isolation, much larger numbers of confirmed cases, if and when these appear. The need for more extensive accommodation now appears unlikely.

There is presently no one in precautionary isolation in our colleges. Under our procedure, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms or having had direct exposure to someone with such symptoms is placed in isolation. Anyone placed in isolation under our procedure will only be released by documentary formal clearance by a GP or by a testing outcome.

Recent advice has indicated that singing in a group context can spread COVID-19 rapidly. Group singing activities within the college environment, even when spatially distant, are not permitted.

As the NSW and Australian Governments have begun loosening COVID-19 restrictions we have decided to take some small steps to ease our own restrictions on visitors and social activities in line with government guidelines.

Our last bulletin included concessions regarding the admission of visitors to our Colleges and the holding of small group gatherings.

We have now expanded these into a pathways document that describes how we will relax activities in a manner consistent with government guidelines.

A draft version of our proposed pathways is available for download here. Review comments on this document can be directed to the Master’s EA at e.hine@newcollege.unsw.edu.au.

We propose to finalise this document after community consultation over the coming week.

Guest Policy

From Monday 18 May residents can have one guest per day in designated areas. Visits are to be pre-approved by the Dean of Residents to ensure we can cap the number of people coming into the building on any day. After guests have received written approval from the Dean of Residents they will need to comply with the following:

  • Guests can only access the building between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • They must check in and out at Reception during the specified hours. No guests are allowed in the building at any other times.
  • They must wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival.
  • They will need to complete a guest access register form providing a contact phone number and other health information.
  • Designated areas:
    • At NCV, residents’ rooms are the designated area for guest visits. NCV day guests can only visit the resident in the resident's room and are not to linger in common areas of the building including shared living spaces in apartments.
    • At New College, the Ground Floor Meeting Room is the designated area for guest visits. It may be booked (via reception) for up to an hour for meeting a friend. An outdoor garden area at the northern end of the building was destroyed during construction of the Light Rail and is also being restored. Once re-opened, guests will also be permitted to book this area to meet friends.
  • After the guest 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 guest 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 guest privileges for the resident who has not complied and the guest involved in the breach will no longer be able to visit the building.

We still have significant numbers of people living in close proximity and need to ensure we are not behaving in ways that increase the risk of potential infection for the wider population.

Residents will not be allowed to have large numbers of individual visitors during the week and not more than one guest per day.

Social Events Within the Communities

Community social events (such as those organised through Deans of Residents or the NCSA) will continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

At NCV, residents wishing to arrange small private parties involving alcohol will need permission in advance from the Dean.

  • These parties will be limited to no more than 10 people and the guest list (names and room numbers) will need to be provided in advance.
  • The organisers will need to have emailed the Dean at least 5 business days in advance for the event to be approved.
  • Non-residents are not permitted to attend private parties within our Communities at this time.
  • Residents organising the party will be responsible for appropriately cleaning all surfaces with hot soapy water before and after the event occurs.
  • They will be provided with disinfectant spray to use before and after the room is used.
  • The Dean will notify the wider community that a private event has been authorised and all normal community rules relating to noise and alcohol are to be followed.
  • At the event, social distancing rules must be followed.

Breaches of these rules will see the party immediately stopped and Caution Notices will be issued to all those present.

Breaches of these rules will also immediately end the permission for small private parties taking place in the building so resident compliance is important.

At New College, which is a ‘dry’ college, having or consuming alcohol has always been prohibited within all common and private student areas. While this rule is not under review, provision is being made for the trial of an outside area where collegians may be permitted to consume alcohol.

  • The College notes that while consumption of alcohol is not allowed within the College, avenues for legally drinking alcohol outside the College are presently highly restricted.
  • The northern garden will be designated as a space where collegians can book a time to meet each other and enjoy alcohol in moderation, in the presence of a Resident Adviser, who will ensure social distancing and appropriate behaviour.
  • This arrangement remains under review in the light of government regulation.

Given the present good trajectory of Australian infections, we will be only issuing these updates when changes to the procedures are occurring.

Responsible Officer Master
Associated Documents  
Review Date 31 December 2020
Version 1.4
Authorised by The Master
Approval Date 18 March 2020
Effective Date 20 March 2020

Scope

There has been an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in the region of Wuhan, Hubei Province China. The virus has reached Australia.

The likelihood of anyone in our colleges or on campus at UNSW has significantly increased over the past week with infections now having been reported across Australia.

There is no intention to close either college. College is home to many university students who have no where 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.

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 social distancing requirements being applied to all activities as well as the bulletins from:

General Background

There are three aspects to minimising risks as follows.

1. Prevention

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

  • Regular washing of hands.
  • Use of hand sanitisers 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

c. Background of incoming personnel

  • All incoming personnel (visitors, contractors, incoming residents and university guests) will only be admitted during conventional office hours.
  • All incoming personnel will be required by reception to disclose their COVID-19 history and their contact details in case of emergency.
  • Compliance with this procedure is mandatory.

d. Maximum gathering sizes

  • Restrictions have been placed on the maximum sizes of public gatherings in Australia.
  • This is a challenge for college dining arrangements. We will accommodate these as follows:
    • Dining places in the New College Dining Room will be capped to comply with Government Requirements.
    • We will maintain overflow dining spaces in the New College Main Common Room (which can be divided into two smaller spaces), the New College Courtyard and the New College Meeting Room.
    • All of these facilities are in close proximity to the kitchen.
    • Residents can take their meals in the area of preference provided that there are sufficient available dining spaces.
    • NCV residents should not use the New College Courtyard without permission of the Master or the Dean of Residents.

2. Diagnosis

  1. Any resident who is unwell 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

Procedure

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 access to NCV will only be via the Day Street entrance and the basement roller shutter.
  2. Internal access doors to remain open except in case of fire.
  3. Minimal contact with lift actuators and exit buttons.
  4. Resident room door handles will be wiped down daily 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.
  2. Official university visitor residents may only be accommodated with their immediate family.
  3. Casual guests of residents in individual rooms will be comply with 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 suspected of infection will be have their room isolated and will be accommodated for the isolation period in an ensuite room.
  Food Food contamination
  1. No sharing of utensils.
  2. Use of hats, goggles, masks and gloves by all involved in food and utensil preparation.
  3. Dining places in the New College Dining Room will be capped to comply with government requirements.
  4. We will maintain overflow dining spaces in the New College Main Common Room (which can be divided into two smaller spaces), the New College Courtyard and the New College Meeting Room.
  5. All of these facilities are in close proximity to the kitchen.
  6. Residents can take their meals in the area of preference provided that there are sufficient available dining spaces.
  7. NCV residents should not use the New College Courtyard without permission of the Master or the Dean of Residents.
  Study Minimal physical contact Common study areas to be cleaned daily.
  Recreation Minimal physical contact Personal hygiene.
  Interactions with others Minimal physical contact Personal hygiene. 
Staff Building access 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

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

Regular hand washing by those handling shared materials.

Contractors Building access As for residents As for residents
  Ablutions As for staff As for staff
  Interactions with others As for staff As for staff
Casual visitors Building access

No access of post-symptomatic visitors

Limited access - subject to review

Casual visitors are subject to this procedure.

This procedure will remain under continual review.

    As for staff As for staff
    As for staff As for staff