There have been a number of changes and added resources, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a collection of links to information that may be relevant to you.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
It is very normal in circumstances like these to feel scared, lonely, or bored. It’s a good idea to actively look after your mental health, so that you can look after all the other aspects of your life as well.
There are many counselling services available in Australia. Here are just a few of the services that offer free, professional and confidential services.
The University’s counselling service (CAPS) offers telephone or online appointments Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. Call 8627 8433 to make an appointment. You can also contact the Mental Health Wellbeing Support Line at any time, by phoning 1300 474 065 or texting 0488 884 429.
eHeadspace has some online forums on a range of different topics, as well as one-on-one chat available between 9am-1am.
Beyond Blue has telephone (1300 22 46 36), online and email chats available. See their website for details.
Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Services
1800 RESPECT is a 24 hour a day support line (telephone or online) for anyone impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
If you are currently overseas, you will not be able to access any one-on-one appointments. However, you can still participate in online forums or support groups. If you are feeling unwell and need to have a one-on-one appointment please talk to your doctor or go to your local hospital to ask for help. Alternatively, you can check this database for services in your country. There is no shame in wanting to be well.
Covid Testing & Treatment
The cost of getting a covid test or receiving treatment is covered by Medicare (domestic students) or OSHC insurers (international students). In NSW, if you do not have adequate coverage (e.g., no medicare or inadequate OSHC) the costs associated with COVID-19 will be waived. So if you are experiencing symptoms including, fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat, and shortness of breath, get tested at one of these clinics.
Other Health Needs
Many doctor’s surgeries, including the University’s Health Service, are offering telephone and online appointments. Call your doctor to find out what services they can provide.
Stop the Boredom
There are many different activities that you can engage in during isolation. The University library and student transition team have Facebook and Zoom activities, including coffee chats, trivia, and movie watch parties. Zoos, aquariums, museums and galleries around the world are hosting virtual tours and live cams. Online trivia for groups or individuals are available on most week nights, and online dance parties are available on weekends. Membership to the Uni library also gives you free access to Kanopy, a movie and television show streaming service. There is so much that you can do from your home, and you can also use this time to just relax.
Documents of proof – student declaration in lieu of a PPC or a statutory declaration.
International students will most likely be permitted to reduce their study load if they have been effected by COVID-19.
There are some new payments (e.g., JobKeeper, and the Coronavirus supplement), and some requirements have been relaxed (e.g., partner income threshold, and mutual obligation). Here is some comprehensive and reliable information about these changes.
University Bursaries and Interest Free Loans
Currently general bursaries and interest free loans are available to domestic and international students. Check the Uni website for details.
You can apply for the early release of up to $10,000 of your superannuation by 30 June, 2020; and up to $10,000 between 1 July, 2020 and 24 September 2020. Please approach this with extreme caution. Superannuation is designed to give you financial security in your retirement. Withdrawing money from your superannuation may void your insurance coverage and profoundly affect your retirement savings. Go to MoneySmart for more information.
There are many COVID-19 related scams happening online, on telephone, and in person, at the moment. This includes, people pretending to be from a government department, companies giving out free food vouchers, and important messages from phone or internet providers. Before giving away any money or information have a look at Scamwatch’s information.
There are many different types of accommodation arrangements, with each arrangement giving students different rights and responsibilities. For this reason, it is a good idea to get specific advice on your specific situation, before taking any action.
If your household has lost 25% or more of its income due to COVID-19, or if you have become ill, or are caring for someone who is ill with COVID-19, you may be considered to be “affected by COVID-19” for the purposes of rental or boarding house legislation. This means that your landlord should negotiate with you around the late payment of your rent, and give you an extended period (3 – 6 months depending on the circumstances) for eviction for non-payment of rent. It does NOT mean that you will have your rent reduced. In most cases, successful negotiations will mean being able to pay late, not pay less. If you do not participate “in good faith” in negotiations with your landlord, the extended notice period will not apply to you. Notices for eviction for other reasons, or to people not considered to be affected by COVID-19, will continue under the same rules as before.
If you need to terminate your accommodation agreement, or if you need emergency accommodation, due to COVID-19, please seek advice from an SRC caseworker.