Staff login

Infection Control Policy (Coronavirus COVID-19)

Status


Last reviewed
Fri, 07 August 2020

This document outlines the policies that Melbourne School of Theology and Eastern College Australia will implement for the control of infection of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Public
visibility
Approved on: 07 Aug 2020
Amended on: 07 Aug 2020
Review cycle: 3 Years
Owned by

Executive Team

Approved by

Executive Team

Category: 
Policy Contact: 
Vice Principal (Community & Operations)
Definitions: 
Campus The MST and ECA campus is the property located at 5 Burwood Hwy, Wantirna, VIC 3152, and includes all common areas and buildings.
ECA Eastern College Australia
Executive The Executive Leadership Team that has operational responsibility for MST and ECA.
Managers Those faculty and staff who provide team or departmental leadership at MST and ECA, which may be within a single entity or across both entities.
MST Melbourne School of Theology
The College A single name to represent the interests of both Melbourne School of Theology and Eastern College Australia
Vulnerable Persons Vulnerable Persons are all students, employees or volunteers who are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  • People 65 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  • People 70 years and older, and
  • People with compromised immune systems.

 

Background: 

This policy identifies best practice for Infection Control at the College. It is our aim to meet or exceed the requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria). Due to the fast and changing nature of significant and pandemic infections, the College’s policies and practices are reviewed and updated weekly. However, in the event that the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria) changes their policies within the College’s review cycle, the published restrictions and practices of the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria) is the authority and supersedes any practices prescribed in this document.
 
The latest DHHS information and restrictions can be found at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Purpose: 

This document outlines the policies that Melbourne School of Theology and Eastern College Australia will implement for the control of infection of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Statement: 

Plan Part A - Responsibilities[1]

The Executive has the responsibility to implement all aspects of this policy through direct or delegated actions and is accountable to each of the MST and ECA Boards to ensure all faculty and staff are afforded protection, as would be reasonably expected, for the control of infection from the COVID-19 virus while carrying out their assigned responsibilities.
 

Leadership Responsibilities - General

MST’s & ECA’s leadership has responsibility for the control of infection from COVID-19, as considered reasonably practicable, by:

  • providing and maintaining a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors, including psychological health
  • providing such information, instruction, training or supervision to students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors as is necessary to enable those persons to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health
  • monitor the health of students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors and its risk to the College community.
  • provide information concerning health and safety to students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors, including (where appropriate) in languages other than English
  • ensure that persons other than MST or Eastern College Australia students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the College during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provide ongoing and effective communication with faculty, staff, volunteers and students on matters related to health or safety that directly affect, or are likely to directly affect them

 

Leadership Responsibilities for Vulnerable Students, Employees and Volunteers

MST’s & ECA’s leadership acknowledges that the severity of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is significantly greater for vulnerable students, employees, volunteers and visitors, and therefore the risk of death is higher than for others. The following practices have been implemented to mitigate the risk:

Identification of Vulnerable Persons

  • Where the college’s enrolment data or employee records indicate a person may be considered ‘vulnerable’, the college will initiate the risk assessment process with the person identified.
  • Other students, employees and volunteers will be asked to self-identify as being in ‘vulnerable’ but not compelled to do so.

Vulnerable Persons Risk Assessment Plan

Risk Assessment Plans for assisting Vulnerable Persons will be developed for individual needs. These include:

  • Identification strategies and implementation plans to mitigate the risks to a vulnerable student to an acceptable level.
  • Where the risk cannot be treated to an acceptable level, MST and Eastern College Australia will offer alternative arrangements for the student or employee to continue their studies or assigned responsibilities.
  • Medical advice may be provided by the student or employee to support the assessment of risk and determination of measures to treat the risk.
  • Where available, medical advice previously received by the college will be used to inform the risk assessment process in order to avoid placing undue burden on student or employee.

Vulnerable Persons Record

  • Records will be kept of the risk assessment process including any supporting documentation.
  • Confidentiality and privacy of student, employee and volunteer information will be maintained in the risk assessment process.
  • College approaches to vulnerable students will be revised in response to changes in the definitions of a vulnerable person by the Department of Health, government advice, and in response to changes in the overall level of the risk presented by COVID-19.

 

Individual Person Responsibilities

All persons who want to come onto the campus must answer NO to ALL of the following questions.

  • Are you COVID-19 positive? Yes or No
  • Have you returned from overseas in the last 14 days? Yes or No
  • Have you been in contact with a COVID-19 POSITIVE person in the last 14 days? Yes or No
  • Have you had a swab for COVID-19 or has someone you are in close contact with had a swab, and are awaiting the result? Yes or No
  • Have you had any of the following symptoms: Fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or wheezing, breathing difficulties and headache. Yes or No

 
MST & ECA students and visitors are personally responsible to:

  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • take reasonable care through their actions to protect the health and safety of other students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors.
  • co-operate with the College and its policies and directives with respect to Infection Control on the campus.

 
MST & ECA Employees must:

  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions while on campus.
  • co-operate with their employer (MST or ECA) with respect to any action taken by the employer to comply with a requirement imposed by or under the OHS Act, including this   Infection Control policy.

 

Plan Part B - Identifying Risks to health

Employers must identify whether there is a risk to the health of their employees from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) at their workplace. (Worksafe Victoria)
 
MST and Eastern College Australia, through the Vice Principal (Community & Operations), identify the risks associated with COVID-19 by:

  • Daily monitoring the expert advice from the Department of Health and Human Services @ https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
  • Weekly reviewing infection control policies and practices with key staff to ensure they are appropriate and being adhered to in an effective manner.
  • Weekly reviewing infection control policies and practices for the identification and support of Vulnerable Persons.
  • Weekly briefing all students through the MST Eastern Weekly communication channel on new information from DHHS (Victoria) and any changes to policies and procedures for infection control.
  • Weekly briefing all faculty and staff on new information from DHHS (Victoria) and any changes to policies and procedures for infection control.
  • At the weekly Executive Meeting reviewing whether work activities or policies maybe putting other staff, students or visitors at risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Maintaining open and effective direct communication with any staff who have:
    • been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • been in recent contact with a close member of their family who has been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • been in contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • travelled or are planning to travel overseas.
  • Maintaining open and effective direct communication though the Dean of Students with any students who have:
    • been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • been in recent contact with a close member of their family who has been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • been in contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • travelled or are planning to travel overseas.

 

Plan Part C - Controlling risks to health on Campus

Where a risk to health is identified at a workplace, employers must eliminate the risk so far as is reasonably practicable and when elimination is not possible, reduce the risk so far as reasonably practicable. (Worksafe Victoria)

Consultation:

MST and Eastern College Australia consult with faculty and staff through staff meetings on matters related to health or safety that directly affect, or are likely to directly affect, them. This includes consulting on decisions about how to control risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.

Control Measures: Risk Minimisation

MST and ECA have implemented the following control measures to minimise the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) to students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors. Workplace control measures may change in light of advice from Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria), which is monitored daily.
 

General Practices:

  • Before entering the campus, all students, employees, volunteers and visitors must:

    • Answer NO to all questions for COVID safety listed in the section - Individual Person Responsibilities – on page 6. These are displayed on all, entry points to the campus. See page 14.
    • SIGN IN and SIGN OUT at every instance when coming onto the campus and into the library.
      • The preferred method is using the SignIn Safe QR Code program for no-touch contact tracing OR
      • By registering at Reception or the Library using the provided sheets. The person must:
        • Sanitize their hands prior to touching the sheets
        • Use their own pen or pencil
        • Sanitize after touching the sheets
  • All students, employees, volunteers and visitors are encouraged through signage at all entrances to install and use the COVIDSafe App to ensure contact tracing is possible in the event of an on-site infection occurring.
  • All students, employees, volunteers and visitors are reminded of, and required to, physically distance themselves in all corridors, rooms, lifts and stairways across the campus, internally and externally.
  • Faculty and staff must work from home where their responsibilities can be effectively carried out remotely. See below: Plan Part D - Working from locations other than the usual place of work
  • For some faculty and staff working remotely will not be reasonably practicable, such as Reception, Property Management, Cleaning, IT.  When this applies, other controls such as infection control procedures and other forms of physical distancing will be implemented as detailed below, to minimise the risk of infection.
  • All enclosed spaces have maximum occupancies displayed.
  • Signage notifying of infection control procedures and policies are displayed across the campus. (See examples below)
  • Sanitizing procedures and products (hand sanitiser and soap) are provide in all doorways, entrances and restrooms to allow persons onsite to maintain good hygiene practices.
  • Personal protective equipment (masks) are available, in line with DHHS (Vic) policy, for students, employees, volunteers and visitors, including training where requested.
  • Faculty and staff are asked to work within their personal workspace and to avoid any shared spaces.
  • MST & ECA have a preference for digital meeting formats (telephone, Zoom, Teams or Big Blue Button (with students)
  • Face to face meetings, while inevitable from time to time, must adhere to physical distancing requirements and room occupancy rates.
  • MST and ECA weekly communicate to students, employees, volunteers and visitors when they MUST NOT come on campus:
    • they are feeling unwell – no matter how mild their symptoms
    • they have been in contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • they have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • returning from overseas travel

 

Vulnerable Persons:

MST/ Eastern College Australia provide the following facilities to ensure vulnerable persons have a reduced risk of infection from coronavirus (COVID-19): 

  • Extensive car parking is available onsite so students, employees and volunteers can avoid public transport.
  • Personal private study and workspaces are provided for on-campus isolation.
  • The MST ECA library provides a free two-way postal service for reference books, with all returns being sanitized and quarantined before reissue.
  • Requesting that vulnerable students, employees and volunteers avoid non-essential aspects of college life on campus.
  • Requesting vulnerable persons to limit time on campus to essential lectures and meetings.

 

Library Access and Protocols

The MST/ Eastern College Australia library will remain open for enrolled students while the College is still open. The following protocols are in place to minimise the risk of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus:

  • Only students, faculty or staff are permitted to be in the library.
  • The occupancy of the library is capped and monitored by library staff.
  • Social distancing protocols are adhered to throughout the library, including the library meeting room.
  • All returned books are sanitised and quarantined for 3 days before being placed back on the shelves.
  • Library staff are required to where a face mask while communicating and processing library books.

 
All visitors to the library are:

  • Checked to ensure they are enrolled students, faculty or staff in the current year.
  • Recorded with their first name and phone number in line with DHHS Contact Tracing requirements.
  • Asked to identify their suburb via Drivers Licence where restricted or isolated zones have been designated by DHHS (Vic)
  • Checked for temperature using an approved device.
  • Required to adhere to all sanitizing procedures and the use of approved products.
  • Must not exceed occupancy requirements.

 

Risk Prevention Signage

Signs are displayed across the college and at all entrances and hallways in both English and Mandarin. These are updated to match current restrictions and College risk management policies.

 

Plan Part D - Working from locations other than the usual place of work

The direction of Victoria's Chief Health Officer is that if you can work from home, you must.
Whether working from home is reasonably practicable depends on the specifics of the workplace, the facilities available for employees to work remotely and the ability for employees to do their work safely from home. (Worksafe Victoria)
 
MST and Eastern College Australia provide faculty and staff with the option of working from home (WFH) as means of reducing the risk of infection from COVID-19. The decision for faculty and staff to work from a location other than the usual place of work is made through a consultative process between MST/ ECA and individual faculty and staff members, and within the following guidelines:
 

  • Where a faculty or staff member is unable to work on campus because of health concerns, alternate work arrangements will be investigated and a work plan devised, where practical.
  • Employees must consulate with and reach agreement on any Working from Home arrangements.
  • MST and Eastern managers will discuss and consider whether working from a different location will introduce additional risks to the employee. These may include medical, mental health, physical, and environmental.
  • Simple and effective avenues for communicating up-to-date information about coronavirus (COVID-19) risks and appropriate control measures, as well as organisational information, must be provided.
  • MST and Eastern managers will maintain direct contact with WFH employees to ensure they are seeking up-to-date health advice specific to their circumstances.

 

 

Plan Part E – Positive Infection Response

MST and ECA will implement the following control measures in the event that a student, employee or volunteer tests positive to coronavirus (COVID-19). Campus control measures will be in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria) requirements.
 

Suspected COVID-19 Infection Procedure

Melbourne School of Theology and Eastern College Australia understand the importance of minimising the risk of COVID-19 infection in an environment where many people gather for educational purposes. To this end any suspected infection is taken seriously, with the following procedures being followed:

  • If a student, employee or volunteer is unwell, they must not come on to the MST or ECA campus or must leave immediately to go home and seek medical advice (and possible testing) as directed on College signage
  • If they are a suspected COVID-19 case, they must self-isolate and seek testing in accordance with the guidelines from Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria).
  • Students, faculty, staff and volunteers must not return to the campus until a COVID-19 test comes back as NEGATIVE.
  • If the person does not have COVID-19 but remains unwell they should remain off-campus until they are well enough to return.
  • If a diagnosis of COVID-19 is confirmed, the student, employee or volunteer must be excluded until they meet the criteria for release from isolation.

 

Confirmed COVID-19 Infection Procedure

In the event that a student, employee or volunteer is tested POSITIVE for coronavirus (COVID-19),

  • Notify the Vice Principal (Community and Operations) or the Vice Principal (Academic) immediately who will determine the number of days since the student, employee or volunteer was last on campus and the actions they have taken thus far.
  • The MST ECA Critical Incident Policy is enacted to manage the infection as part of the Disease Control procedure. This policy includes the following provisions and procedures:
    • Section A – Policy and Procedural Awareness

      • Domestic Students
      • International Students
      • Staff
    • Section B - Roles and Responsibilities
      • Faculty and Staff
      • Critical Incident Management Centre (CIMC)
      • Critical Incident Management Team
      • Incident Controller
      • Planning Officer
      • Communications Officer
      • Critical Incident Management Team Responsibilities
    • Section C - Reporting a Critical Incident
      • Reporting an Emergency - Off-Campus
      • Alerting the College Community for On-Site or nearby emergencies
      • Visitors / Volunteers / Contractors
    • Section D –Communications
      • Media
      • International Students
      • Notifying of a Critical Incident
      • Follow Up Action
      • Concluding Steps
      • Public Relations
      • Communications Plan Checklist
  • Determine if the last time the person was on Campus is more than 14 days. If so, the College is to:
    • increase its sanitizing efforts
    • communicate the case to all employees so risk mitigating measures can be tightened
  • Determine if the last time the student, employee or volunteer was on Campus is less than 14 days. If so,
    • The Executive will confer and approve all subsequent actions.
    • Immediately report the incident to health authorities by calling the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080
    • Immediately report the incident to Department of Education and Training on their 24-hour coronavirus hotline (1800 675 398). (DEET provides the latest information and advice about schools, early childhood education services, TAFE and training providers. If you think a child, student or staff members).
    • The MST and ECA Boards will be advised
    • Implement an immediate DEEP CLEAN for sanitizing the areas frequented by the infected person.
    • Using the Contact Tracing information retained by the College (SignIn Safe or register) identify those people who have likely been in contact with the infected person and develop a plan to communicate the case and the measures being taken to sanitize and to mitigate the risk of the spread of the infection
    • The College campus may be placed into immediate lockdown and quarantined under the direction of DHHS (Vic).

 

  • MST notification to the Australian College of Theology

    • The Dean of the Australian College of Theology will be notified by the Dean of Studies.
    • Students and staff will be informed about wellbeing support services available if the incident is causing distress.
    • MST’s Dean of Studies and ACT Registrar will inform students about arrangements to ensure they are not unduly disadvantaged academically due to the incident.
    • The Dean of Studies will make a formal report of the incident to ACT using its Critical Incident Form.

 

Post Infection Campus Opening Plan

Prior to opening the campus for students, faculty, staff and volunteers, the Executive will develop the MST ECA COVIDsafe plan. This plan is based on the My Business’s COVIDsafe Plan provided by the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) (Accessed via IHEA Guidance on Returning to Campus | 23 June 2020), which provides a template for a risk assessment to understand how the College’s risks have changed because of COVID‑19 and to formulate a plan to manage them.
 
The MST ECA COVIDSafe Plan will consist of:
 
Part 1- Keeping people safe (students, faculty and staff, volunteers and visitors)

  • Prepare and Prevent: making sure the Campus is safe and clean
  • Procedures for Maintaining good hygiene and cleaning
  • Policies and Procedures to Stay Physically Distant
  • Following the advice of additional changes for Higher Education providers.

 
Part 2 - Adapting the College now and in the future

  • Identifying tasks to get the College up and running
  • Considering how the College can adapt to the changes in the education environment.

 
Part 3 - Accessing support and assistance

 
END
 

[1] Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act)