Covid-19

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been carefully monitored by the National Art School. NAS has taken conscious, precautionary steps to establish and develop our response measures as required. NAS will continue to adhere to State and Federal health and safety advice to ensure a safe and maintainable return of staff and students to the NAS campus.

NAS is dedicated to ensuring that any disturbance to our student’s education is minimised and NAS has devised numerous student-centric solutions.

NAS’s priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and the wider community. The FAQs outlined below have been advised by the:• The World Health Organisation (WHfiO)
• Department of Health
• NSW Health
• Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

NAS will continue to support our staff and students through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

These FAQs are being updated as NAS becomes aware of newly released information.

DOWNLOAD THE FAQS HERE

NAS OPERATIONS

Have there been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at NAS?
No. NAS has not been notified of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our staff, students or visitors to NAS.

Is the NAS campus open again?

  • All staff will be returning to work on campus during the month of July. Your return dates differ between teams as we look to stagger the return to site. Please discuss your return to work plan and dates with your line manager, if you have any concerns please contact Juanita Hyde to confidentially discuss your situation.
  • Semester Two commences on 20 July 2020 and all academic staff are expected to be back on campus to perform their roles close to that date. We take your health and wellbeing very seriously and have developed robust plans including an Infection Management Plan, Scenario Plans, Site Entry Protocols and the Academic Contingency Plan to enable your return to working onsite.
  • We would like to ask all staff and students to stay home if you are unwell, you must not attend NAS. Please do not return to campus until you are free of symptoms.
  • NAS remains closed to the General Public.

What are the access procedures to the NAS campus?
For the safety of staff and students, NAS has put protocols in place for entering the campus. Security Staff will be positioned at both the Forbes Street entry and Burton Street entry to ensure these protocols are adhered to. There are now two entrances, depending on if you are walking or driving/riding to NAS.

All walk-in staff and students are required to enter and leave through the Forbes Street entrance only. All cars and bicycles will enter and leave the site through the Burton Street entry. No pedestrian access will be allowed through the Burton Street gates at any time. There is no public access to the site. If you do not undertake a check you will not be able to venture onto the site. The check consists of:
• An I.D. check
• Sanitise your hands
• A temperature check (the temperature tester is aimed at your forehead and you need to register below 37.5 degrees)
• You will be asked two questions about your wellbeing and recent contacts

Please allow extra travel time to complete this essential requirement for entering campus. Please ensure you always carry your staff or student I.D. and have it readily available (you could photograph your I.D. and use it as your phone home screen).

Make sure you queue at more than 1.5m from the person in front and behind you, and do not allow a large group to gather at the entrances.

Am I allowed to leave the NAS campus and re-enter on the same day?
Should you need to leave NAS and intend to re-enter, security will issue you with a pass-out (wristband). The pass-out process is designed to keep the re-entry process as quick as possible. The pass-out (wristband) is only valid on the day of issue. Do not pass your wristband to another person who has not been on site as this will compromise the protection of others. The process for re-entry is:
• Go to the Forbes Street gate
• Place a wristband from Security on your wrist before you exit
• Queue to gain re-entry at Forbes Street
• Show your wristband and present your NAS I.D. card for checking by Security
• You will need to sanitise your hands on re-entry to the site
• You will not be required to have your temperature re-checked nor answer the questions again that day unless you have removed the wristband from your wrist.

What has NAS done to ensure that subjects delivered face to face will be safe for staff and students?
NAS is strictly adhering to the Federal Government’s COVID-19 workplace health and safety regulations to protect the members of the NAS community. Safety measures will include strict physical distancing within teaching spaces and deep cleaning of all spaces where there is on-campus activity.

What additional cleaning is being undertaken by NAS to minimise the risks associated with COVID-19 and ensure the safe return to campus for students and staff?
NAS is dedicated to protecting its students and staff by engaging in regular and extensive cleaning of offices, classrooms and high-touch surfaces. Where practicable, doors will be left open.

You are encouraged to:
• Wash your hands when you arrive at NAS and use hand sanitiser regularly if you are not able to wash your hands. Use of moisturiser will help prevent skin drying out and cracking.
• Clean shared surfaces before and after use e.g. kitchen food preparation areas.
• Use disposable cutlery and crockery where possible.
• Avoid sharing computer workstations e.g. computer desks. If not possible, use disinfectant wipes to clean keyboard and mouse prior to using. Facilities and Technicians have disinfectant wipes available for use. To prevent damage, do not use spray cleaners on computer equipment.
• Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes and cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing and then wash or sanitise hands or cough/sneeze into elbow.
• Avoid sharing food e.g. cookie or lolly jars, catered lunches with shared platters etc.

Is the NAS library open?
Yes, the NAS library is open, with limited opening hours, different access and revised borrowing arrangements.

When I return to campus do I need to download the COVIDSafe App?
The Federal Government has released the COVIDSafe app to speed up contact with people potentially exposed to coronavirus. This helps to protect others who may have been within 1.5m of an infected person for 15 minutes or longer and enables public health officers to offer testing more rapidly so the appropriate advice and action can be provided. NAS strongly encourages students and staff to download and use the COVIDSafe App in line with Federal Government advice. Nonetheless, this is a personal choice and it is not compulsory for staff or students to do this.

Should I be concerned about using public transport to travel to and from NAS?
Transport NSW has significantly increased cleaning schedules across all public transport modes. In addition, disinfectant products recommended under national health guidelines are being utilised.
Additional cleaning staff are being placed on all modes of transport with a strong focus on cleaning hard surfaces including handrails, validators and push buttons.
Follow Transport NSW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube for updates or check the Transport NSW website.
Please do not travel on public transport and stay at home if you feel ill with cold or flu like symptoms. You must also inform your line manager or lecturer.
In planning for the return of staff to campus, line managers should consider measures such as staggering start times for staff to help minimise the volume of people using public transport at peak times.

HEALTH ADVICE

How can I protect myself against COVID-19?
As advised by the public health experts, you should take the following necessary precautions:
• Regularly cleaning hands by using soap and warm water or where unavailable alcohol-based hand rub.
• Covering your mouth and nose with either a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. You must also dispose of your tissue immediately and wash your hands.
• Seek medical attention early and inform your health care provider of your recent travel history if you display symptoms of COVID-19.

What do I do if I develop symptoms of COVID-19 such as cold or flu related symptoms?
If you develop symptoms you should:
• Not attend the NAS campus (If on campus, isolate to a single office/room if available. Wear a mask if available and maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others)
• Isolate yourself at your place of residence
• Immediately contact the National Coronavirus Helpline – 1800 022 080 (24/7), NSW Health’s free helpline Health Direct – 1800 022 222, or your usual doctor by telephone and inform them of your travel history or contact with a potential case of COVID-19
• COVID Clinics can be attended in person if you have a fever (≥38°) and acute respiratory symptoms.

Medical centres and hospitals should not be attended in person without phoning ahead.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing call 000 for urgent medical help. Advise of your symptoms, travel history and/or recent close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
If an ambulance is unnecessary, you should use a personal mode of transport to reduce exposure to others when transporting yourself to a medical assessment.

If using public transport, taxis or ride-sharing services you should:
• wear a face mask
• avoid direct contact with others
• practise good hand and cough/sneeze hygiene.

Medical professionals will determine if you meet the criteria for a suspected case of COVID-19 and will arrange laboratory screening if necessary. You will be instructed to self-isolate while awaiting results of laboratory screening and will be contacted by the Public Health authorities with further information. The test result is returned promptly, so please do not notify anyone else that you are being tested, as it may cause unnecessary concern, especially if the test comes back as negative.

You must not attend NAS until you have received a negative result on your COVID-19 laboratory screening test. If you are a staff member awaiting a result, you must inform your line manager that you are not able to attend work at NAS. If you are a student, you must inform your lecturer that you are unable to attend NAS.

If you are a staff member awaiting a result, you should also have a discussion with your line manager as to whether you perform the full range of your duties under a working from home arrangement or access leave entitlements such as personal (sick leave) or annual leave.

What does isolation mean if I do not live alone?
Self-isolation should not affect any other person you share a place of residence with unless they also meet the criteria necessary for self-isolation. The Federal Government has advised that your family or housemates do not need to self-isolate.
Individuals who are under self-isolation must not visit public places and must not allow visitors to enter their home. It is strongly recommended that the self-isolated individual wears an appropriate mask when using common areas in the house and should practice good hygiene. If the isolated individual requires urgent medical care and consequently exits their home, it is advised that they also wear an appropriate mask.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you test positive to COVID-19 you must adhere to the recommendations of your medical professional and the Department of Health, particularly the essential self-isolation period.
You must not attend NAS. This is to ensure the health and safety of all members of the NAS community. You must be cleared by a Public Health Officer and determined to be no longer infectious before you can leave your home isolation and re-enter NAS or the wider Australian community.

Human Resources are utilising the hr@nas.edu.au inbox as a repository for notifications from lecturers and line managers. This allows for a consistent approach and ensures that appropriate communications and support can be offered. In the event of a positive test result for COVID-19, the student or staff member’s relevant lecturer or line manager must notify Juanita Hyde, Human Resources Manager at hr@nas.edu.au. The notification should include the person’s name and position/degree at NAS, the date of confirmation of a positive COVID-19 result, the date at which self-isolation commenced, and their current location and circumstances.

In the event where the student or staff member diagnosed with COVID-19 was working or studying on NAS premises in the preceding 14 calendar days, the line manager or lecturer should also complete an Incident Report Form.
Human Resources will then coordinate the response with the Department of Health, Student Services (if appropriate) and the Executive Leadership Team.

Human Resources will also undertake an immediate welfare check, where appropriate.

Such information will be treated as confidential, in accordance with NAS’s Privacy Policy.

What do I do if I come into direct contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
You will need to self-isolate immediately and contact your medical provider if you begin to develop any fever or respiratory symptoms. If you are instructed to take a COVID-19 test, you will only be required to inform NAS of the result of the test if the test returns as positive.

If a member of your household has been instructed by a Health Official to self-isolate as a precautionary measure (e.g. returning from overseas, awaiting COVID-19 test results) you must not attend NAS.

A student or staff member has contacted me to advise that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. How should I respond?
NAS has developed an approach for managing the appropriate response to students and staff who are affected by COVID-19, including confirmed cases of students and staff contracting the virus. Refer to What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19 (above) for more information.

What should I do if I am concerned about the health of a student or staff member?
You can approach that person and recommend that the student or staff member goes home if they are feeling unwell. Anyone who is unwell should not come to NAS.
Please keep in mind that NAS is a diverse and inclusive community and it is important that we continue to support each other. If you do see a student or staff member who is unwell, please be mindful of their self-esteem and privacy.

What is social distancing?
Social distancing (or “physical distancing”) refers to a range of strategies to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between people with the aim of reducing the potential for transmission.

Social Distancing involves:
• keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible;
• avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others;
• avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people;
• exercising good hand washing and sneeze/cough hygiene and the use of hand sanitisers;
• avoiding congregating in kitchens or other areas where people usually socialise together; and
• avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example small meeting rooms.

How will I ensure physical distancing at work?
Communal areas that are commonly used by more than one staff member will require a local disinfecting protocol and a roster of attendance to ensure physical distancing and hygiene measures can be maintained. Responsibility for disinfecting shared workstations rests with the local area.

Staff members who regularly share workspaces should contact their line manager to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place. This is to ensure that physical distancing and hygiene practices can be maintained effectively.

NAS has enacted the ‘one person per 4 square metres’ and the 1.5 metre physical distancing to produce capacity numbers. Teaching spaces, open-plan offices, common areas and bookable meeting rooms have been measured and sign posted with the number of people allowed inside each indoor area.

I am a first aid officer, should I still carry out this duty?
If the individual does not exhibit relevant symptoms, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath, you should respond as usual to any first aid incident.

Does the annual flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
Flu vaccines do not offer protection against COVID-19. COVID-19 requires its own vaccine and researchers are currently working to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.

Do face masks protect against COVID-19?
Face masks are not advised and are unnecessary for the general public, according to Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. Only people who are unwell and have a relevant travel history are required to wear an appropriate mask, in relation to COVID-19.

P2 masks offer some protection against the virus for people who are in close contact with patients, such as when treating or testing a person with symptoms.

To wear a face mask is a personal decision. People who wear a face mask are often taking preventative measures for themselves or protecting themselves from air pollution. It does not necessarily mean they are sick

STUDENT SUPPORT

What funding support is available for students?
The Australian Government has announced more payments for students affected by the outcomes of the spread of CV19.

Students who are currently on Youth Allowance for students, Austudy and ABSTUDY are eligible for:

• A temporary fortnightly $550 Coronavirus Supplement from 27 April 2020. The supplement will be an extra $550 a fortnight on top of your normal payment rate. (This is to assist students who have lost their jobs, but it is paid regardless of whether you were previously working or not).
• The first $750 Economic Support Payment from 31 March 2020, if you are getting an eligible payment on any day from 12 March to 13 April 2020 you will receive the $750.
• A second $750 Economic Support Payment from 13 July 2020 if you’re getting an eligible payment or have an eligible concession card on 10 July 2020.
• Expand eligibility for some payments and make them easier to claim
• Make Crisis Payment available if you need to self-isolate, are in severe financial hardship and you can get an income support payment
• For new students who do not currently receive study benefits, it has been advised that you phone Centrelink to make a claim. We understand you need to be enrolled in full time study, for further details please check the Centrelink website.

School Counsellor available for Students
If you are a student who requires support please contact Upasana Papadopolous, School Counsellor.
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 9-5pm
02 9339 8722 or Upasana.Papadopoulos@nas.edu.au

Alternatively, you are also able to speak to someone for information and advice via the NAS Hotline on 9339 8744.

STAFF INFORMATION

What facilities are available to staff when working from home?
NAS issued laptops and relevant accessories can be taken home by staff members, as part of a working from home plan. Modena 360 will be providing their usual IT support services. In the event where the equipment requires IT assistance, the staff member should bring the equipment back to campus to access Modena 360 support.

Whilst you are working from home, you must preserve the security and privacy of any NAS information, by ensuring that no one else in your household (or visitors to your household) can access or view NAS information.

Relevant information about working from home, the necessary WHS forms and information on wellbeing are available in the Remote Work Policy.

What can I claim for tax deductions while working from home?
The ATO is making a new arrangement that will allow people to claim 80 cents per hour for all their home office running expenses from 1 March to 30 June 2020. You will need to keep a record of the hours you worked from home as evidence of your claim. More info can be found at https://www.ato.gov.au/Media-centre/Media-releases/New-working-from-home-shortcut/

I have become sick with COVID-19 whilst self-isolating. What should I do?
In the event that you are a permanent or fixed term staff member and you have confirmed that you have COVID-19, you should take personal (sick) leave. If your personal leave is exhausted, you may access any other accrued leave entitlement, such as annual leave or long service leave, until exhausted.

Your line manager should consult with Human Resources in relation to your absence. HR will advise the Executive Leadership Team and an appropriate action plan will be decided upon. Do not breach staff and student confidentiality and tell other people. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or student, HR will notify the Department of Health and coordinate the response as directed.

I am a line manager and a member of my team is displaying flu-like symptoms. Can I send the staff member home?
Yes. All practical measures to reduce the risk of transmission to others in the NAS community must be taken. If you have reasonable grounds to believe that your staff member is exhibiting flu like symptoms, you can request that they do not attend the workplace.

You can request that the staff member takes personal (sick) leave if they believe that they are not well enough to perform the full range of their duties at home. They can also consider accessing any other accrued leave entitlements, such as annual leave or long service leave, if they have exhausted their personal leave entitlement. Please report this situation immediately to HR if you have decided to send a staff member home. HR will coordinate the communication to the Executive Leadership Team and an appropriate action plan will be decided upon.If the staff member believes that they can perform the full range of their duties at home, and you agree, please consider work from home as a short-term option.

What do I tell other staff members and students if someone has cold or flu-like symptoms?
Do not tell other people as this is a breach of staff and student confidentiality. Report the situation immediately to HR. All communication to staff and students will be coordinated through HR who in turn will notify the Executive Leadership Team and an appropriate action plan will be decided upon.

What if I am identified as in a high-risk category if I contract COVID-19?
NAS acknowledges that staff with underlying illnesses who are more vulnerable to respiratory disease, including individuals with diabetes, chronic lung disease, kidney failure, people with suppressed immune systems and older people, are at higher risks of serious illness if they contract COVID-19.

Please contact HR to confidentially discuss your medical condition and we will work with staff on a case by case basis. If there are concerns about your fitness for work, we will arrange an independent medical practitioner to make that assessment.

Do I need a medical certificate to return to work?
No, a medical certificate is not required to clear you to return to work unless your line manager specifically requests one. NAS acknowledges that due to the particular current circumstances relating to COVID-19, it may not be possible for you to present a Medical Certificate, particularly for self-isolation.

If we do require evidence of your circumstances and you are unable to provide a Medical Certificate, we will ask that you provide a Statutory Declaration. However, if you do have a Medical Certificate, send this to your line manager as soon as you are safely able to do so and we ask that you do not return to work until you are fit and able to do so.

Will my absences from work be recorded?
Yes, NAS must record any absences relating to COVID-19, including absences because of self-isolation. Please ensure you record your leave absences through MY HR.

I need to stay at home to provide care to someone in my household who has COVID-19.
In such a circumstance, you must also self-isolate. You should consult with your line manager to formulate a working from home arrangement. If you are unable to perform the full range of your duties whilst at home and you are required to self-isolate due to the close contact with the household member with COVID-19, you should access your personal (sick) leave, if it has not been exhausted (if you are a permanent or fixed term staff member).
Casual staff who are self-isolating as a result of caring for a member of their household who has COVID-19 can also access unpaid personal (sick) leave where they are caring for a member of their household.
Your line manager should inform Human Resources, to ensure that the appropriate advice and support is being provided.

Is NAS a qualifying employer for the JobKeeper payment?
Job security and staff member retention are significant focuses of NAS. However, NAS is currently not an eligible employer for the JobKeeper payment. Consequently, the subsidy is not available to NAS staff members.

I am feeling anxious and stressed about the situation, what should I do?
Help is available at NAS if you are feeling anxious or stressed about the impact of COVID-19. NAS’s Employee Assistance Program, AccessEAP, offers NAS employees access to confidential counselling support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
AccessEAP can be reached on 1800 818 728.

Permanent staff are encouraged to seek assistance from AccessEAP. If you are a Sessional staff member and would like to speak to a counsellor, please contact Juanita Hyde, HR Manager, in confidence on 9339 8672 or Juanita.hyde@nas.edu.au and she will put your name on the AccessEAP contact list.

If you are feeling unwell, contact the Health Direct Hotline – 1800 022 222 (available 24/7) or the National Coronavirus Information Helpline – 1800 020 080 (available 24/7).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Where can I find more information? 

We will monitor and update this page as required. If you have any questions or concerns, you can also visit:

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