COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information

Department of Training and Workforce Development Executive and TAFE Managing Directors are working together to ensure the vocational education and training (VET) sector in WA is well placed to manage COVID-19 developments. 

We are working closely with lead agencies including Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Health to ensure our approach is informed by, and aligns with, central coordination points. 
 

    Covid-19

    Jobs and Skills Centres: Changes to services

    To ensure we are looking after the wellbeing of our JSC staff and their clients, and minimising the risk of illness, some centres may not be able to offer in-person appointments at this time. 

    We ask that you call the centre first, before visiting.

    All JSCs can provide support and assistance over the phone, which is the best option at present. If you have an appointment to meet with a JSC staff member in person, please be aware that they will be practising social distancing – this means the staff member will not be able to shake your hand to greet you, and they will sit around two metres away from you.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) information update 31 March 2020

    Additional measures are now in place to help manage COVID 19 in Australia.

    The State Government’s strong guidance to all Western Australians is to stay home unless for:

    • shopping for what you need - food, takeaway, and necessary supplies;
    • medical or health care needs;
    • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements; or
    • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

    Information and advice on the COVID-19 coronavirus for the community and business in Western Australia is available on the WA Government website.

    What does this mean for TAFE staff, students and visitors?

    From Monday 30 March, until the end of term 1 on April 9, there will be a temporary pause in face to face delivery for most TAFE courses. TAFE colleges will remain open during this time and essential student services including student resource areas will remain available with social distancing measures applying.

    From Term 2, the blended style of delivery will include learning via online and interactive technologies, and face-to-face delivery where necessary and where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented. This style of delivery is the most appropriate for vocational education and training (VET).

    Further information is available from your TAFE college.
     

    Minimising personal risk

    The risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in Australia remains low, however the situation is evolving. Western Australians should remain alert, but not be alarmed.

    • Follow good hygiene practices such as washing your hands with soap, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.
    • Avoid close contact (maintain a distance of at least one metre) with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms.

    If you have cold or flu-like symptoms and/or are concerned that you may have been in contact with some who has, or if you become unwell and think you may have symptoms of Coronavirus, seek medical attention. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has or may have Coronavirus.

    Training sector pandemic incident response to COVID-19

    The Department of Training and Workforce Development Executive and TAFE Managing Directors are working together to manage our Pandemic Incident Response Plan, with a key focus on minimising risk to students and staff. It’s important that we take precautions wherever possible to control the spread of the virus.

    We continue to liaise closely with lead agencies in Western Australia, including the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and Department of Health, to ensure our approach is consistent with current information and advice. 

    Frequently asked questions about COVID-19

    In response to reported cases of COVID-19 in Australia and overseas, the Department of Training and Workforce Development and TAFE are acting on national public health advice from the Australian Department of Health. A highly precautionary approach is recommended.
     

    • Students who have been in contact with any confirmed COVID-19 cases should self-isolate for 14 days following exposure and stay away from TAFE; and
    • Returned travellers who have been in Hubei province of China should self-isolate in their homes for 14 days after leaving Hubei province, other than seeking individual medical care.

    National public health advice is on the Australian Department of Health website

    The WA Department of Health website has further information and fact sheets for parents, students and staff, and access to a helpline on 1800 300 243.

    The following frequently asked questions provide general advice and information for students, staff, parents/carers and all other visitors to TAFE campuses and Department of Training and Workforce Development workplaces. Information will be updated as advised by health authorities.

    Changes to WA TAFE colleges from Monday 30 March

    Is TAFE open?

    The TAFE colleges remain open. Essential services including student resource areas will be available for those that need access to PCs if they don’t have access at home. Social distancing and increased cleaning of these areas is in place. Some high priority courses, such as training in essential services, will continue.

    Your lecturer will give you specific information about arrangements for your course. Online courses will also continue. Other support services on campus will still be available.

    Where will I find out what is happening in relation to my course?

    There are a number of ways you will find out.

    Your college will email or send a text to you over the weekend (March 28/29). Your lecturers will give you further specific information about arrangements for your course.

    If students attend class on Monday, lecturers will advise them of the new arrangements.

    Are online courses continuing?

    Yes. If you are currently doing your course online, this will continue.

    Will I be disadvantaged or be required to pay more?

    Students will be assisted to complete their course without extra cost.

    How will I continue my practical training and job placements?

    Options are being looked at such as rescheduling and restructuring courses, and simulated practical training where work placements are unavailable.

    How can I access a PC to continue my training if I don’t have one at home or I have internet access problems?

    Student learning centres will still be open with suitable social distance arrangements. Additional cleaning is occurring in these spaces.

    My school student is enrolled for some courses at TAFE, should they attend classes next week?

    If you are choosing to have your child stay at home, arrangements will be in place to ensure catch up training is provided.

    If your child is attending school, the TAFE will work with the school to make suitable arrangements.

    I’m an employer and unsure about my apprentice’s training?

    If training is scheduled during the pause period then you should contact your TAFE to discuss arrangements. In some cases scheduled training may continue.

    Which courses will remain face to face?

     All courses are expected to move in some way to a blended delivery which means that there will be a mix of online, interactive distant learning, and for some courses necessary face to face components.

    The best way to deliver the course will be assessed by lecturers in the period available up until the start of term 2.

    How are TAFEs preventing the spread of COVID19 in courses that continue face to face delivery?

    Hygiene practices and social distancing is being practiced in accordance with the most current health advice.

    Lecturers are advising students to practice social distancing measures, and are applying and monitoring social distancing during classes.

    How will online learning work?

    Your lecturer will advise you how your blended learning programme will be delivered.

    What if students don’t have access to internet or internet access is minimal?

    For those students with digital access problems, there will be access to some digital facilities at TAFE campuses to continue learning.

    Will any student who is unable to access an online delivery method be disadvantaged or penalised?

    No student will be penalised and TAFEs will work with students to identify solutions for their specific circumstance.

    Will a student who is unable to attend face to face delivery classes for COVID19 reasons be penalised?

    No student will be penalised and TAFEs will work with students to identify solutions for their specific circumstance.

    What support services exist for students?

    While training delivery is paused, the TAFE colleges remain open should students have any queries about their future studies.

    How are we supporting lecturers and staff to deliver online?

    The pause in training delivery is to enable lecturers to reframe courses to maximise distant learning to reduce virus transmission risk.

    Where it is not already in place, a blended delivery of training via online and other interactive modes will be introduced. Face to face delivery will still continue where necessary where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented. 

    TAFEs will work with students that have particular problems with new modes of delivery.

    What are the cleaning arrangement for TAFE colleges?

    TAFEs have increased cleaning across all campuses.

    How are international students being assisted?

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    International students will receive either a text or email to their student account this weekend about the pause in some TAFE activities. They will also receive information from their lecturer on Monday about specific arrangements for their course. The colleges will be structuring learning to ensure any course catch-up occurs.

    As always, TAFE International is available to provide personal assistance to students who are unsure about any issue. Assistance is available by phone on 9218 2100 and by email on admissions.tiwa@dtwd.wa.gov.au.

    Students in financial difficulties or needing to return home should also make contact with TAFE International.

    Why are TAFE libraries remaining open when the Prime Minister has ordered all libraries to be shut?

    TAFE libraries will only be accessible to TAFE students and staff. They remain open to ensure PCs continue to be available for students who don’t have access to equipment or have poor connectivity.

    TAFEs have increased cleaning across all campuses and social distancing requirements are in place.

    Are Jobs and Skills Centres still open?

    Yes.

    What if my apprentice goes to TAFE and the course is paused – what support is there for employers?

    Employers will be contacted about arrangements for their employees and are welcome to approach their regular point of contact.

    What about private RTOs, are they remaining open?

    Students who are uncertain of training arrangements should contact their provider directly. RTO’s will be assessing their own situation and making their own decisions/arrangements.

    General questions

    What is COVID-19?
    Coronaviruses are a type of virus that can affect humans and animals. Some coronaviruses cause illnesses similar to the common cold, and others cause more serious illnesses,including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The current coronavirus originating in Hubei Province, China, is called ‘novel’ because it is new and had not been detected before this outbreak. 
    What does 'self-isolate' mean? 

    From 16 March 2020, anyone arriving in Australia is required to self-isolate for 14 days. This means students, staff, parents/carers, contractors, visitors and volunteers cannot attend TAFE for 14 days if they have returned from overseas.

    Anyone who has been informed by public health authorities that they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of Coronovirus (COVID-19) must also isolate themselves for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case. During the 14 days of isolation, you must stay at home (or in your hotel if applicable) and don’t go to public places including work, school, childcare, university or public gatherings. Only people who usually live with you should be in the home.

    Do not see visitors. If you are in a hotel, avoid contact with other guests or staff.

    Please refer to the Australian Government Department of Health's advice for travellers, for more information
    How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    The risk of COVID-19 transmission in Australia remains low, however, the situation is evolving. To minimise your risk:

    • follow good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands with soap and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing; and
    • avoid close contact (maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres) with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms.

    For students

    Can I attend classes, if I don't have to self-isolate? 

    If you are still attending face to face training, but you are unwell you should not attend class — even if you haven’t had contact with a person who may have COVID-19.  It is important that you stay home and only return to class when you are well again.

    Will I miss out on my studies or fail my course if I have to self-isolate, or if I get sick?

    If you are required to self-isolate, or become ill with Coronavirus, you can arrange other ways to continue your  studies.

    Please make phone or email contact with your trainer/lecturer, or contact your training provider directly if you would like more information about available options.

    I am very stressed and worried about the Coronavirus. Can someone help?

    It's reasonable to be concerned about the Coronavirus, but try to remember that experts here in Australia and all around the world are working hard to keep people as well as possible. You should also feel assured that your training provider is taking all necessary steps to minimise the risk for their students.

    The Beyond Blue website has some useful tips and information that may help with your concerns.

    Your lecturer/trainer may be able to help, or you could also phone the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for free advice.