By AUSTIN NORMAN
The first semester of 2020 is off to what some might consider an unsettling start for those living in the University of Sydney’s student accommodations. A group of students living in a USyd-operated apartment building have been given a warning via email from the university stating that they could potentially be relocated from their rooms with a 48 hour notice.
This notice would be sent out pending changes to the university’s plan to combat the transmission of COVID-19 on and around campus. If these students were to be relocated, it would be to make way for incoming international students hailing from countries with high volumes of COVID-19 cases.
This specific apartment building, which is remaining unnamed per request of University of Sydney for student privacy and safety concerns, was determined by NSW Health as the accommodation most suitable for a containment method called self-isolation.
In the event that this plan is enacted, the international students would be instructed to isolate themselves for a 14-day period. This self-isolation process, which would serve as a quasi-quarantine, would be implemented with purely precautionary intentions to ensure that these at-risk students have not contracted the virus and will not spread it to others. If any of the students were to show signs of having COVID-19 during the isolation period, they would immediately be sent to an appropriate medical facility.
Sam Johnson, a first-year computer science student currently living in this apartment building, told ABC news “It’s a pretty big inconvenience and it’s really not going to help with my studies.”
If this temporary quarantine were to take place, students like Johnson who are already living in the aforementioned building would be forced to go through the stressful process of moving out of the rooms they’ve settled into and moving right back – all within the busy first weeks of the semester. To offset this inconvenience to these students’ studies and time, the university is offering a reduced fee for any period of relocation they may face and will manage the costs and arrangements of moving their personal items to and from the apartment building.
In a recent statement released by The University of Sydney, a spokesperson addressed this less-than-ideal situation for their students: “We’re aware that moving would be inconvenient and possibly distressing for some, and we thank any affected students for their cooperation and understanding.
“In addition to these comments, the release explains the state of the university’s plan to combat COVID-19. We are carefully planning for several scenarios, including a potential lift of the current travel restrictions.”
Whether or not this self-isolation plan is put into action is based on the status of the travel bans sanctioned upon China, Iran, and South Korea by the Australian government.
City Hub‘s previous reporting on the Corona virus can be read here.