Student information

Find information here for University of Newcastle students, including details about our approach to travel and health.

Last reviewed 6 August 2020

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General advice

  • We encourage everyone on our campuses to adhere to handwashing and hygiene practices and practice social distancing.
  • If you are feeling unwell, please do not visit our campuses and please seek medical support.
  • Please take your own measures to respond to COVID-19 in line with Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines.

For advice relating to travel and isolation requirements, please visit our COVID-19 landing page.

Frequently asked questions

General advice

The University of Newcastle recognises this is a developing situation. At the present time, we recommend staff and students follow advice from NSW Health.

Australian Government advice for universities and studentsUniversities Fact Sheet for Students.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Health Information Line: Call 1800 020 080 if you are seeking information on COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

International Students: Study in Australia

Managing and monitoring your health

As with any virus, we can minimise the spread by practising simple hygiene and washing our hands frequently. See below for more information on hand washing technique.

Travel advice

For all travel advice, please refer to Australian Government Travel Advice.

More information and contacts

If you are experiencing distress or worry relating to the COVID-19 and would like to speak to someone or need advice, please visit Counselling and Psychological services.

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Campus information

Library buildings are open to university students, staff and our Community Borrowers membership holders. These members no longer require swipe card access. Social distancing measures are in place to help keep everyone safe. You will notice signage around the Library spaces that indicate the number of people that each space can accommodate and the seating capacity in our Group Study rooms has also been reduced so please check the room information before Booking a Study Space. At this time, no general community members or non-university students can access libraries.

Our Sydney campus is closed. Our other campuses are on reduced operating access during the holiday season. New cases of COVID-19 have been identified in NSW. We ask that anyone intending to come onto campus over the holiday period do not do so if they have been into any area of concern. Details of areas of concern are available on NSW Health website.

Across our Callaghan, Ourimbah and City campuses we have started to remove swipe card restrictions. We suggest you continue to carry your student ID card while this is underway. If you do not have a student ID card and have trouble with access to buidings please contact Student Central - 1300 ASKUON.

The University is working to the 4sqm rule to determine maximum occupancy of our spaces. The 4sqm rule is a legal requirement and is defined under an amendment to the Public Health Act 2010 for COVID-19. Where possible, staff and students are asked to maintain 1.5m distance between one another. Our intention is to return to face-to-face teaching for the majority of classes on campus from Semester 2 and Trimester 3. We will prioritise labs, practicals and smaller group sessions. Larger lectures will be conducted as remote learning sessions, as follows:

  • Callaghan – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Ourimbah – classes of 80 or above will be online
  • Newcastle City – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Sydney – classes of 25 will be online
  • Port Macquarie – classes of 15 will be online

Increased cleaning and sanitisation measures are in place across our campuses.

Many of our campus cafes continue to offer takeaway services for food and beverage, and some are able to offer limited dine in options. Here is an up-to-date list of the revised trading hours and services offered at our campus retail outlets. Our retailers and vendors are also ensuring they implement the required safe hygiene and physical distancing protocols.  Please support them if you can, observing safe distancing measures and hygienic practice advice at all times.

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Changes to study

We recognise that different arrangements may need to be put in place for different courses and therefore a localised response is appropriate. Please stay in touch with your Placement Coordinator for advice.

If your course does have a compulsory attendance requirement you will receive advice from your Course Coordinator via Blackboard.  Please ensure you check your Course Outline and course Blackboard information for any attendance requirements, and check in via the myUON app if required to do so.

We have returned to face-to-face teaching for the majority of classes on campus from Semester 2 and Trimester 3. We will prioritise labs, practicals and smaller group sessions. Larger lectures will be conducted as remote learning sessions, as follows:

  • Callaghan – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Ourimbah – classes of 80 or above will be online
  • Newcastle City – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Sydney – classes of 25 will be online
  • Port Macquarie – classes of 15 will be online.

Of course, if there’s a significant change in the rate of infection in the community, we will reassess our approach and update you.

Any student who fails a course in 2020 will NOT have a ‘fail’ recorded on their academic transcript. Consequently, a fail grade will not adversely impact your GPA. This change is intended to remove some unnecessary anxiety and to help you succeed with your studies. However, if you do not pass, you will still need to retake the course (or another equivalent allowable within your program plan). This applies to students studying in Australia, offshore and Singapore.

In light of limiting public gatherings to fewer than 100 people, our April graduation at Ourimbah and the July graduation ceremony at Callaghan have been postponed. Eligible graduates will be deemed to have graduated in absentia and we will invite them to a ceremony in the second half of 2020 if possible We will continue to monitor the changing requirements round public gatherings in relation to the later 2020 ceremonies and will provide advice on these as soon as we are able to.

The Graduate Research Team has developed a number of FAQs relevant to HDR students in the context of COVID-19. You can read them here.

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We know that many of our students, staff and community members are anxious about the current COVID-19 situation. It is perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions during times of uncertainty. Taking care of your physical and mental health is important and the University offers support services to help you achieve this. The University's Counselling and Psychology Services Team have a number of resources on their webpage, and will continue to support students through individual and drop-in online appointments. In addition, the After-Hours Crisis Support Line is always available outside business hours:

PH: 1300 653 007

SMS: 0488 884 165

Any student who has been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 may apply for Adverse Circumstances. For students studying in 2020, the University will accept a written statement from students without the need for a medical certificate or JP signature to support these applications. Examples of direct or indirect impacts may include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-isolation if you and/or members of your family have contracted or come into contact with coronavirus
  • Other health grounds
  • Compassionate grounds such as carer responsibilities due to enforced school or day care closures
  • Financial hardship
  • Unavoidable commitments such as increased work hours
  • Other impacts - this is an evolving situation and the University will work to provide the best possible support to students. The process for submissions for Adverse Circumstances remains the same, applications continue to be lodged through the online system.

According to current NSW Health advice it is not necessary for staff or students who are experiencing an underlying medical condition to self-isolate. If a staff or student are medically advised not to attend class or work, then this is specific advice to them and overrides other advice. Should this be the case they can submit a request for Leave of Absence (LOA) or complete an adverse circumstance application. The adverse circumstances is only necessary if they have attendance requirements for that course and due to their absence have not meet these requirements or if are not able to attend timed or supervised examinations or tests.

Information about what financial assistance is available can be found here.

Please refer to the advice above about testing and self isolation. If you test positive for COVID-19 or you have been identified as a probable case, email for advice and support.

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International students

For students who are unable to come to Australia we are offering remote study options. Most courses are available for online study, and the University will be as flexible as possible in considering student’s preferences.

We believe planning for your future should not be put on hold. In response to the impact of COVID-19 on the global community, we are pleased to offer prospective international students certain guarantees and incentives. If you are an international student looking to study with us, please contact our enquiry centre for further information.

The NSW Government recently announced a $20 million package to support international students affected by the impacts of COVID-19. This package includes the provision of temporary crisis accommodation for eligible students facing significant hardship. The University can support eligible students with the relevant documentation required for their application. Contact for assistance. You can also visit our financial wellbeing page and the Service NSW website for more information about this initiative.

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Campus accommodation

As part of our preparations regarding COVID-19, we’ve identified some areas in our current student residences at Callaghan that could be used for residents who are required to self-isolate for 14 days as a precautionary measure. To make sure these spaces are ready for students who may be required to self-isolate, we have relocated some of our current student residents into other accommodation on campus. We’re enormously grateful for the cooperation and support we’ve received as we make these precautionary arrangements.

Unfortunately, we have now exhausted our allocation of rooms for Semester 2.

Please keep an eye on our website for details about 2021 applications (opening soon). If you are interested in living on campus, you can register an account on the Student Living accommodation portal, so we can keep you informed about application updates.

Subject to industry safety recommendations, Summer Stay will go ahead this year. Application details will be communicated via the Student Living web page and on our social channels: @uonstudentliving on Facebook and Instagram.

We have increased the cleaning frequency of all common area surfaces, furniture & fixtures.

The dedicated Dining Hall staff are following cleaning guidelines to the highest Australian standard. Hand sanitisers are present at the entrance to the servery and all surfaces in the servery are sanitised prior to resident access, throughout service as required, and at the end of service. Back-of-house, our kitchen staff are maintaining the highest standard of personal hygiene, carrying out regular hand-washing along with the cleaning and sanitising of workspaces.

Student Living are guided by advice from NSW Health. Restrictions are subject to change.

Semester 2 restrictions and changes summary:

  • Student Living will remain at reduced occupancy. A reduced number of residents will share bathrooms
  • Only two residents are permitted to travel in a lift at one time
  • Reduced number of resident guests: An addition of TWO current residents can visit a household if the space allows for adequate social distancing. This limit applies to all residences
  • Socially distanced outdoor gatherings cannot exceed 10 people
  • No registered guests are permitted at Student Living
  • Common rooms will remain closed. Some study spaces will reopen.

How to get tested

Testing Centre open on Callaghan Campus

NSW Health Pathology is now operating the COVID-19 drive through testing clinic at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan Campus ICT Carpark 1.

Anyone can come and get tested if you feel unwell, even if you only have mild symptoms. The clinic is open every day, from 8am-4pm.

Peak periods are early morning and late afternoon so if possible, please try to visit the drive through clinic outside of these times. No appointment necessary, just drive on up!

Please note: Babies and children under five need to be tested at hospital or their GP.

Use of face masks

In line with the NSW Premier’s announcement that she ‘strongly encouraged’ the use of face masks in certain circumstances, the University has updated its guidelines.

  • Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to use masks when on campus, especially if they are medically at risk or when in enclosed areas where social distancing is difficult. This includes while on public transport and in some class setting such as labs where students need to move around.
  • Students are required to use masks where they have been informed there is a professional/accreditation requirement (such as for nursing or medical practical classes). While students are typically required to provide their own mask, anyone who occasionally forgets can collect a disposable mask from Student Central locations or a library.

Students can request a disposable mask from Student Central locations or the libraries in the following scenarios:

For sustainability, individuals are urged to use cloth masks.

It is important to remember that face masks are the final line of defence. It’s most important that you stay at home if you are unwell, practice physical distancing where possible and use good cough and hand hygiene. However, when social distancing is hard, masks may provide some advantage, and particularly act as a barrier should you be infected.

Increased hygiene measures

Hand washing is the most effective way to protect yourself.

Keeping study environments clean may also help to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infections such as the common cold.

We ask students, staff and visitors to our campuses take the precautions advised by the public health experts including:

  • Hand washing for 40 - 60 seconds with soap
  • Using hand sanitiser
  • Following coughing and sneezing etiquette

Please observe and comply with health-related signage around the University.

Video: Watch a University of Newcastle clinical facilitator demonstrate ideal hand washing technique
VIEW General COVID-19 advice