COVID-19 advice for the USC community - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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COVID-19 advice for the USC community

29 Sep 2021

To keep the USC community up to date with COVID-19 information, this page will feature details about new developments that relate to the university, with the latest news in bullet points at the top.

  • FACE MASK REQUIREMENTS: In response to a number of new cases of COVID-19 in Queensland, the State Government updated face mask restrictions for the Brisbane and Moreton Bay local government areas on Tuesday 28 September. Anyone who has been anywhere in these areas in the past 14 days must wear masks unless they have a lawful exemption. This includes in classrooms, labs and clinics as well as offices, libraries and all other facilities on campus. Mask-wearing restrictions also apply to other areas of South East Queensland.

  • CHECK IN APP: The Queensland Government’s Check In Queensland app is now operating on all USC campuses. Anyone who visits a USC campus should check in with this app on arrival. Doing so will assist contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 case on campus.
  • COVID EXPOSURE SITES: The Queensland Government has updated its current list of COVID-19 exposure sites across South East Queensland. People who have visited any of the locations at the times listed should self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. Those who have visited any of these locations soon after the times listed should get tested for COVID-19 and monitor themselves for symptoms.
  • TESTING SITES: Queensland Health has established additional COVID-19 testing and fever clinics across South East Queensland. The full list of clinics is available on the Queensland Health website.

  • VACCINATION CLINICS: Queensland Health has encouraged anyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to book an appointment at one of its vaccination locations.

  • FEELING UNWELL?: Students or staff who feel unwell or exhibit flu-like symptoms should not attend campus, and should immediately make an appointment to see their GP. Queensland Health provides up-to-date guidance about the symptoms of COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 REPORTING FORM: Students, staff and visitors to USC who have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 are asked to complete this confidential form. It is also for those who may have had contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or recently been to a declared COVID-19 hotspot.

  • USC RESPONSE: If Queensland Health identifies that someone from USC has COVID-19, the University will follow Queensland Health’s instructions on what actions need to be taken. See details below in the "USC Response" FAQs.

  • All FAQs for students are available at USC’s dedicated student page 
  • All FAQs for staff, including work from home details, are available via MyUSC.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the novel coronavirus. Please also check in with Queensland Health, the Australian Department of Health, and the World Health Organization.

Are campuses still open?

USC's campuses and study sites remain open. People attending USC's Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Caboolture and Brisbane sites are required to abide by the State Government ongoing restrictions and mask-wearing requirements. Those attending USC's sites at Gympie and Fraser Coast are not required to wear masks, unless they have recently been in any of the 11 local government areas between Noosa Shire and the NSW border.

What will happen if someone at USC tests positive to the novel coronavirus?

If Queensland Health identifies that someone from USC has the novel coronavirus, the University will follow Queensland Health’s instructions on what actions need to be taken. It is likely, in these circumstances, that USC will need to close an entire campus for a period of time to allow Queensland Health to assess the situation and to identify those who may have come into close contact with the person with the coronavirus. USC will then follow Queensland Health’s instructions on cleaning the campus to ensure the safety of students and staff when they return.

What is USC doing to clean and sanitise the university?

During the pandemic, USC's Asset Management Services have been providing additional cleaning and sanitation services to high-touch and high-traffic areas across all sites. Particular emphasis is being placed on surfaces within bathrooms, along with high-touch areas such as handrails, door handles and lift buttons. These services are being provided in conjunction with existing work routines, along with additional cleaning shifts in the high-use locations.

What should I do if I am feeling unwell?

If you are showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, including a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, contact your general practitioner or Queensland Health on 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) immediately. It is suggested to phone ahead to explain your symptoms, travel history, and possible contact with someone who might have had the novel coronavirus.

You can also let us know if you have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 by completing our confidential online reporting form:

Should I wear a face mask?

Face masks are currently mandatory across South East Queensland (between Noosa Shire Council and the NSW border). For the rest of Queensland, mask wearing is only mandatory in certain settings, including at airports and on flights. People are still encouraged to carry masks with them at all times and to wear them when social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport and at shopping centres. Visit the Queensland Health website for details about mask-wearing requirements.

How can I help protect myself from being infected with coronavirus?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses include:

  • Cleaning hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Hand rub dispensers can be found around USC's campuses in high-traffic areas and outside toilets.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Wash your hands immediately afterwards and dispose of tissues immediately.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
Who is at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus?

In Australia, those at highest risk of contracting the coronavirus are those who have:

  • travelled internationally;
  • been in a COVID-19 hotspot, which is a particular area of Australia decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website.
  • been in close contact with someone who has had a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Those with underlying medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease and the elderly, are considered to be at greater risk of more severe disease if infected. It is believed that symptoms will occur within 14 days of exposure.

Who is required to quarantine?

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, anyone arriving in Queensland must quarantine if, in the last 14 days, they:

  • have been overseas

  • have been in a COVID-19 hotspot

  • have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19

  • have COVID-19 or any symptoms.

Why might I be asked to self-isolate and what does it involve?

People might be asked by their clinician to self-isolate in their own home, residence, hotel or other accommodation because they either have or might have COVID-19. This is to help reduce the spread of the virus to other people. Clinicians will only recommend self-isolation to those assessed as being well enough to be self-caring and able to seek medical attention if their symptoms become worse.

Self-isolation means staying at home, and not going to work, university, school or anywhere public for 14 days. Fourteen days is considered to be the maximum incubation period of the virus, so any symptoms would develop in this time.

The key is to avoid contact with others, which also means not accepting visitors to your home. People should also avoid going to the shops, and to instead arrange food deliveries to their homes or contact Student Wellbeing for assistance to arrange this.

Self-isolation has been described by public health experts as the same measures that you would take if you have the flu, to avoid spreading the virus, which is transmitted by droplets from coughs and sneezes, and possibly transferred by contact with shared surfaces.

USC students with further questions about self-isolation can contact Student Wellbeing at +61 7 5430 1226 or

USC staff with queries about self-isolation and/or believe that they should self-isolate can contact USC’s Human Resources on +61 7 5430 2830 or

What do I do if I get sick while in self-isolation?

If symptoms appear during a period of self-isolation, contact your general practitioner or Queensland Health on 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) immediately.

What if I'm at risk or someone I live with is at risk?

If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please contact your general practitioner or Queensland Health on 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) immediately.

What is the novel coronavirus and what are the symptoms?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses similar to the common cold and more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus that originated in the Wuhan region of the Chinese province of Hubei is now referred to as COVID-19, and its symptoms include (but are not limited to): fever; flu-like symptoms such as cough, sore throat or headache; and difficulty breathing.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic on 11 March due to sustained transmission throughout the world. It is spreading from person to person in close proximity, similar to other respiratory illnesses such as the flu. WHO has urged people to stay calm and to continue the important work being done to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

What is a confirmed case of COVID-19? 

A confirmed case of COVID-19 is a person who tests positive to a validated, specific SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test or who has had the virus identified by electron microscopy or viral culture.

What is a suspect case of COVID-19? And how is 'close contact' defined? 

A suspect case of COVID-19 is a person who has had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. Close contact is defined as requiring:

  • greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
  • sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.

Information for USC students regarding advice and support during the coronavirus pandemic is now available at the University's dedicated student page.

Information for USC staff regarding advice and support during the coronavirus pandemic is now available via MyUSC.

Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging +61 7 5430 1160
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) +61 7 5456 5669

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