This morning the Prime Minister announced further social distancing measures.
I am writing to reassure you that USQ is ready and able to meet the challenges ahead, to ensure that your hard work will result in that life-changing qualification.
USQ is a specialist in providing the online and flexible study and support options you will need to complete your studies in the weeks and months ahead as COVID-19 spreads.
You still have access to our online student support and services.
You will still have the option to access our campus facilities, including the libraries, provided you abide by strict hygiene requirements and practice social distancing.
From Monday 23 March, a number of changes in support of your continued study success will be implemented. These changes will not impact your progression into future courses.
Please note that the changes outlined below do not mean our campuses are closing. Rather, we're making it easier for you to complete your study in response to COVID-19.
Further details are as follows:
Lectures and tutorials
From Monday 23 March, on-campus lectures and tutorials will be replaced by online experiences. Many of these online classes will be held according to the existing on-campus class timetable. Please regularly check your USQ email (UMail) and StudyDesk for information and updates about these classes.
Practicals, Residential Schools, Studios and other face-to-face learning activities
From Monday 23 March, in some courses, practicals, residential schools, studios and other face-to-face learning activities will be replaced by a non-face-to-face activity, allowing you to complete the course this semester. We are working through ways to support you on a course by course basis.
In other courses, activities may need to be rescheduled to later in the year. In those courses, students will likely receive an incomplete grade (IDM) at the end of first semester. This will not impact on your HECS or fee obligations, and the work you have completed to date will still contribute to your final grade in these courses. The timing of the rescheduled activities will depend largely on how successfully Australia controls the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will provide regular updates through your StudyDesk.
All Residential Schools in Semester 1 will be re-scheduled.
Professional placement courses will continue for most students enrolled in these courses. To date, most of our partners who provide placements are continuing to support these important learning activities.
If for any reason, one of your scheduled placements is cancelled, it will be rescheduled to later in the year. In that scenario, you will be awarded an incomplete grade (IDM) at the end of first semester. This will not impact on your HECS or fee obligations, and the work you have completed to date will still contribute to your final grade in these courses.
End of semester paper-based examinations
We are working to replace the end of semester paper-based examinations with alternative forms of assessment that will not require you to attend campus or an examination centre. All changes will be finalised after the mid-semester break and will be posted on your course StudyDesk. Course specifications will be updated to reflect these changes if necessary.
Requirements for assignment extensions
From Monday 23 March, for Semester 1 assignments, you can seek an assignment extension of up to five working days on the basis of a written declaration of the circumstances preventing your on-time submission (rather than a medical certificate). You will not be asked to provide a medical certificate unless your assignment cannot be submitted within 5 working days of the due date.
Requests for assignment extensions must be received at least one full day before the due date of the assessment item. Further information on a new process for requesting assignment extensions will shortly be available on course StudyDesk.
The decisions above are designed to keep you and your networks of family and friends as safe as possible. They mean you can confidently continue with your studies and remain connected to USQ's student support services while reducing your exposure to COVID-19.
These decisions are based on the latest health advice, the need for social distancing, and USQ's long and proud history as a distance and online higher education provider.
The specific details about changes that affect your courses will be provided on your course StudyDesk. Please check regularly for updates.
If you would like more information in the meantime, please contact our student support team. We also have a list of FAQs on our website.
If you think you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please follow the self-isolation instructions and seek medical advice by contacting your General Practitioner or the USQ Health and Wellness Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning +61 7 4631 2372. Please do not attend campus, placements, or travel on the inter-campus shuttle bus.
I apologise for the disruptions these changes will cause for many of you, including those of you who have already made arrangements to come to Campus for Residential Schools and similar activities in the weeks ahead.
I hope you understand these decisions are being made with your best interests at heart, and within a rapidly changing public health environment.
Please remember, if you are unwell, you must stay home.
Take care. Your health, safety and success are our top priorities.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)