Some Australian universities are delaying their semester return while others are offering special consideration for students unable to get back to Australia amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Universities have been scrambling to put in place policies and support for students and staff dealing with the coronavirus and the travel ban put in place by the federal government on Saturday.
There has not been a coordinated response from universities, and their policies will largely depend on when each university is to begin the semester.
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson on Sunday said that the focus was on the health and safety of people at university, and on minimizing the disruption to their studies.
Monash University in Melbourne on Friday said that it would delay the start of the semester one by one week, now due to start March 9, along with summer exams, due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus making it difficult for students to get back to Australia, or out of isolation after arriving from China.
The University of Sydney announced on Saturday evening it would allow students to enroll up to two weeks after the start of semester (by March 9), or let students defer their studies or have fees refunded.
For the University of New South Wales, where one student tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus, students can defer their study if affected, and the university will consider late enrolment until the end of this month.
The university has said it would also consider allowing students to take courses online.
Queensland University of Technology has said returning students can seek a leave of absence if they cannot return by the end of week two, while new students unable to travel from China can defer their studies.
The University of Tasmania has said it would offer online courses to the estimated 1,300 students affected by the travel ban.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and University of Adelaide have said classes would continue as normal.
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