The University of NSW, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney are among city institutions that will make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students to return to campus from this week, in line with public health orders.
UTS said people visiting the campus over the next few weeks, staff including contractors and students could attend campus “provided they have proof of vaccination and comply with COVID-safe requirements at all times”.
The majority of classes for the spring teaching session, which ends on October 29, would continue to be held online. But study spaces in most buildings will be open for fully vaccinated students from October 18 onwards, including during StuVac and the final assessment period. The library is already open for booked study seats and click and collect. The campus will not be open to visitors.
Students coming to campus this term for scheduled classes are not required to show proof of full vaccination, but their faculty must have a COVID-safe plan in place.
From December 1 until February 18, 2022 all fully vaccinated staff, students and visitors would be welcomed back on campus. The university said those unable to show proof of vaccination could provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test in the previous two days.
Faculties would offer a mix of teaching and learning, including face-to-face on campus. The UTS library would be open for the summer session and COVID-safe Christmas parties will be allowed.
UNSW says that from this week only students who are fully vaccinated or who have a medical exemption will be allowed on campus and they must show evidence of their vaccination status.
“In accordance with the NSW Public Health Order, staff who are not vaccinated can only come to work if it is not reasonably practicable to work from home,” the university’s road map says.
Staff who are unvaccinated will need to seek permission from their department head and undergo a safety risk assessment.
A UNSW Sydney spokeswoman said it had “embarked on a cautious and phased return to campus”.
“In our first phase, until December 1, staff and students have been asked to continue to work and study from home where they are able to do so,” she said. “We are, however, allowing staff and students who cannot work or study from home to return to campus in certain circumstances, and with permission.
“Anyone who returns to campus during this phase will be required to observe a range of health and safety measures, including a requirement to be fully vaccinated or medically exempt, and have evidence of this on hand. Unvaccinated staff seeking to return will need to undergo a safety risk assessment.”
A Macquarie University spokeswoman said its campus would open from October 18 to fully vaccinated students who were enrolled in a course that required their attendance. Other students would continue to complete their studies online.
“We will communicate further with students about session 1, 2022 once the relevant Public Health Orders and associated requirements are made available,” she said.
University of Sydney students have also been told under current health orders they must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status if asked, unless they are medically exempt if they return to campus. They will also be required to wear a mask indoors and check in using QR codes.
In a letter from vice-chancellor Mark Scott students who are not vaccinated but who need to attend face-to-face teaching on campus to fulfil degree requirements were advised they would need permission from their study co-ordinator.
“If you are given permission to come onto campus and are not vaccinated there are areas, in line with the public health orders, you won’t be able to enter,” he said.
“These will include non-essential retail outlets, gyms, museums and cafes (unless takeaway). Fisher Library remains available to all students with strict conditions of entry in place, including wearing a mask.“
Mr Scott said the university was also looking closely at how to bring more activity back to campus as safely as possible and was “looking closely at how we might host in-person graduation ceremonies in this context”.
A university spokeswoman said all students in the faculty of medicine and health students undertaking training in clinical settings were required to be vaccinated.
A University of Western Sydney University spokeswoman said on-campus activities would initially be available to fully vaccinated students from December 1 and “be reviewed at that point”.
“We anticipate a full return to on-campus teaching and learning and operations by the beginning of the 2022 academic year,” the spokeswoman said.
“We are making special arrangements where necessary for students who have medical exemptions from vaccinations and who need to complete an on-campus activity during the coming weeks.”
Wayne Erickson, the principal of St Andrew’s College at the University of Sydney said 87 per cent of students in residence were fully vaccinated and 98 per cent have had their first jab. He said the college would make it mandatory for all college residents to be fully vaccinated from next year.
Monash, La Trobe and Melbourne University are also among those that have decided to enforce compulsory vaccination by early December.
The University of Melbourne said all students, staff contractors and visitors attending its campuses would be required to be fully vaccinated from November 5 in line with public health advice.
A review of staff and students by TAFE NSW last month found more than 80 per cent of staff and students were either already vaccinated or were planning to be vaccinated.