Instead of the wanted elation that makes headway with a new semester, the 2020 academic year seemed to be a bumpy start. It was January 30th 2020 when the World Health Organization proclaimed the novel shear of COVID-19 a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” and it could be easily understood that the time of extreme misfortune and difficulty has stepped in our innocent lives. Keeping in mind the severity of this issue, the Australian government imposed a strict ban on travel for any international student from setting foot or traveling in Australia until 14 days after leaving or departing from, anywhere in mainland China (Holy mother of COVID-19). The students who had a recent history of traveling to mainland China or who had been in immediate proximity with a confirmed patient of novel coronavirus were also being told to self-isolate for at least 14 days, after all, it’s a serious matter of life and death.
Almost every college and university in Australia has closed its gates for in-person lessons while halting teaching and fostering online lessons. Not only the things were confined to the cancellation of in-person lessons in favor of online teaching, but a few institutions have also gone as far as to ask their students to move out of campus accommodation, playing havoc with the lives of thousands of students in the process. The campuses have become deserted whereas the classes have been moved online, leaving hundreds of students unsure about what to do next. It truly hurts to the core when students like ‘Noah Jones’ – a final year student of computer engineering at XYZ University, cry their hearts out for not being able to rejoice in their “Graduation Ceremonies” - an occasion they’ve spent three-four years looking forward to attending, but now they might not get it. However, we suggest you maintaining your mental health and wellbeing to stand against this dreadful situation as there might be going a few more incredible uncertainties in the coming months. Every academic institution has found its own modus operandi to deal with this tough time; some have postponed the commencement date of their semesters, some have started delivering online classes whereas others are rescheduling the summer exams dates except a few who are just busy telling international students, especially Chinese students to enroll next year or just defer their decisions.
The pass/fail discourse has imperatively spread in Australia over the past week, with a petition organized by USyd students attracting over 3300 signatures thus far. The UNSW, Sydney has been entitled as the first Australian university to transition to a pass/fail system in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The key rationale to take up this major move is the high level of disruption to teaching and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 coupled with the scarcity of probity of online examination. For the moment it seems quite fair for the students to not get evaluated on the grounds of theses and project courses, let’s explore what else Australian Universities have to offer to the students in this horrendous time.
Owing to the students’ tussle with disruptions and the transition to online learning, Australian Universities have decided to grant an academic amnesty to the students who couldn’t secure passing grades during the coronavirus crisis. To name a few, La Trobe University, Swinburne and the University of NSW have disseminated that the failed units of study will be excluded from the students’ academic transcripts along with the average score calculations, but they will still be charged fees. Reckoning this stressful time for students, a spokesperson for La Trobe University stated that “a series of factors that students are currently experiencing in their lives, most concerning of which are the financial impacts of COVID-19, as native and mostly the international students are failing to retain their casual jobs, thus giving students discount on this semester’s marks will reduce their stress of assessments.
Recently the Australian government promulgated a two installment coronavirus stimulus package to come to the aid of Australian students and rescue them from the economic impact of this pandemic, whereas for international students also the government is supposed to come up with strategies to aid them in this crisis. Although if you are an international student in Australia and your visa is nearing its expiry, then apply for a new one or a bridging visa as soon as possible. For this moment, don’t let anxiety rule your life, Australian universities are consistently establishing helplines while in worst situations also offering financial aid to reduce the burden caused by the travel ban to the international students. Just in case if you want to seek information and assistance on the status of your enrolment, fees or any related issue, try to reach out to your institution first, if they do not respond in time or couldn’t help to rectify your issues, call your respective consultants to seek the solution. Do not panic at all.
Western Australia – 1800 020 080 Victoria – 1800 675 398 Queensland – 13 43 25 84 New South Wales – 1800 022 222 Tasmania – 1800 671 738 Contact on the given numbers if you experience the COVID-19 symptoms. Stay safe, Stay healthy!
Keith Morris is a certified nurse who retired as a registered nurse after participating in a WHO campaign in Geneva. He is dedicated to helping students score good grades in their nursing courses and are offered a chance to help the people and establish a better healthcare community across the globe. He works as a nurse at a local clinic with underprivileged children and provides assignment guidance to the students. Reflection writing, aged care, Gibbs reflective cycle, cardiac nursing, pathophysiology, etc. are a few to name from his area of dominance.
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