The Australian Government have just announced that all non-citizens and non-residents to Australia will not be permitted to enter the country from 9.00 pm tomorrow (Friday 20 March).
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
- What should I do if I have recently returned from overseas?
If you have arrived in Australia from midnight 15 March 2020, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
If you have been in contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection while they were infectious, you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of last contact with that person.
- What does self-isolation mean?
You should restrict activities outside your home, except for seeking medical care. You should not go to work, school, or public areas. You should not use public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services.
When in self-isolation, you should monitor yourself for symptoms. Watch for:
– shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
– other early symptoms (chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose, muscle pain or diarrhea).
If you develop symptoms and it is a medical emergency (e.g. shortness of breath at rest or difficulty breathing) you should call 000. Alert ambulance staff of your travel/contact history.
Click here to read our simplified version of Home Isolation Guide to keep safe.
Please check the link below for the Government COVID-19 Isolation Guidance:
If you have a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing, you should call 000.
- How can I protect myself and others?
The World Health Organisation has developed helpful videos on the protective measures you can take against the COVID-19. There are many notices about this around the school, available from your teachers, and in public places such as the train stations.
- What do I do if the school is forced to close down by the government?
Ability English will be helping our students as much as we can with online study options. These plans are ready, but in the meantime we encourage students to keep studying and to ask for more homework from their teacher if they want more language practice while at home.
- Where can I get the latest information from the school?
All communication will come to students via their teachers and the Education Manager, or via emails from the Admissions, Marketing and Student Services Team. There are posters around the school and managers have been coming into classes regularly to explain and give updates about the situation.
- How can I protect myself from the virus during this time?
Yes, we have ordered more hand sanitiser for our campuses and it will be arriving shortly. In the meantime (if we run out) we encourage students to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, and to use the paper towel to dry their hands thoroughly. We remind all students to exercise good hygiene habits and follow healthcare advice.
- Will Ability English be closed soon?
No, at the time of releasing this message. The campus will remain open with social distancing guidelines in effect. The school will follow the highly considerate advice of the Department of Education and Ministry of Health. If a temporary closure of our campus become necessary, we will let students and staff know via your email address and the social media updates. The only classes closed at the moment are the optional activities, such as Friday morning classes.
- What would happen if there was confirmed COVID-19 case at Ability?
If the school had a case of the virus, everyone would be notified immediately and we would quickly ask everyone to leave. Then the school will be sterilized by an external cleaning company which is on standby if that is needed. And we would email students with next-step actions (such as study and homework groups online, which will not affect your visa).
- What should I do if I feel unwell?
If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath:
• isolate yourself from others immediately
• phone (do not visit) a local general practitioner (GP) or the closest hospital emergency department for instructions on what to do next
• or, call the Ability Student Services Team on 02 9211 4161 (Sydney) or 03 9636 0000 (Melbourne)
- What about my attendance?
The Australian Government is being more understanding during this time about attendance, and there is some flexibility about attendance at this time.
• If a student is feeling unwell and they are unsure if they have the virus, they must stay away from school, call the COVID-19 hotline and wait for the medical advice given by the experts. Then when they can, email the Student Services Team to let them know why they are not coming to classes (and DO NOT worry about attendance at this time)
• If a student is feeling unwell and it is not the COVID-19, then we suggest if they feel very terrible that they go and see a Doctor and get a medical certificate. Again, DO NOT stress about attendance
• If a student is feeling fine, but they are stressed about coming on the train/tram/buses, or stressed about sitting in a class with other students then they can stay at home, apply for a study break for the following week, and try some self-study in the meantime. If they are going to be away more than a few days then we suggest they email the school and if they need help with study materials we can send them some.
- Will study online breach my visa obligations?
No, the change from face-to-face to online delivery will not impact your compliance with your visa conditions.
- What should I do if I am unable to return to Australia to continue studies due to COVID-19 travel restrictions?
We encourage you to contact Ability Student Services to discuss what options are available for you to defer your studies.
If you require additional time to complete your studies (beyond your visa expiry date) you will need to apply for a new student visa with a new Confirmation of Enrollment. Contact Ability Student Services for further details.
- I have lodged a student visa – will my visa still be processed?
The Australian Government is continuing to process student visa applications. If you have any questions regarding your visa application, please contact your recruitment agency.
Non-required self-isolation: A great many students have expressed their concerns regarding the rapidly changing of COVID-19. At this time, we ask for your understanding that the school will follow the highly considerate advice of the Department of Education and Ministry of Health. The Ability team is working very hard to ensure the best possible outcome for all of our students and teachers. Please understand that while you are free to make decisions related to keeping yourself home to isolate from others, teachers will not be able to provide any online support at the moment, because they are still required to teach at the school.
Current advice from the Australia Government is:
• All travelers to Australia must be required to self-isolate for 14 days. From 9.00 pm on 20.03.2020 no foreign visitors may enter the country.
• Ban on cruise liners from foreign ports arriving at Australia ports for 30 days.
• Confirmed COVID-19 case will be excluded until they are medically cleared to return.
• Close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded for 14 days since last contact with the confirmed case.
• Students and staff who have returned to Australia and have shown no symptoms during the 14-day home-isolation period are able to return to school or work.
In the coming days, we will provide more information regarding providing online study options for students who remain at home. Please check your email inbox for full details about the online classes in the next few days.
• As a current student, it is essential to keep up to date with the information Ability English is sharing at this time—including COVID-19, campus operations, and online delivery
• Check if your inbox is full or any of our Ability emails have been redirected to Spam
If you need more information, please go to: how-to-seek-medical-attention