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Health and Safety Procedure - COVID-19 Vaccination and Other Measures

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) The purpose of this Procedure is to facilitate the protection of the health and safety of the University community by requiring all eligible people attending a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event to be Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 (unless an Exemption applies).

(2) Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act), the University must identify whether there is a risk to the health of those attending our campuses from exposure to COVID-19.

(3) Where a risk is identified, the University must eliminate the risk, so far as is reasonably practicable. When elimination is not possible, the University must reduce the risk so far as reasonably practicable.

(4) The University has determined that requiring the COVID-19 vaccination for all those attending a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event is our lead control measure for COVID-19. It forms part of a multi-layered range of controls to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

(5) The University follows health directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (VCHO) relating to COVID-19 vaccinations. Where any health direction issued by the VCHO is inconsistent with and exceeds the requirements under this Procedure, the health directions will apply with respect to the inconsistency.

(6) This Procedure will apply in Australia and will not apply at any overseas locations.

(7) The requirements under the Procedure apply in addition to any other Health and Safety requirements that apply (for example, health and safety requirements that apply in a laboratory).

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Section 2 - Scope

(8) Refer to the Health and Safety Policy.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(9) Refer to the Health and Safety Policy.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Requirement to be Vaccinated

(10) As of 1 December 2021, it will be a requirement that:

  1. any La Trobe University staff member, student, honorary appointee, contractor, tenant or volunteer attending a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event, must be Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have been granted an Exemption by the University in accordance with this Procedure.
  2. any person attending a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event who is eligible under the Australian Government COVID-19 vaccination program to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, must be Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have been granted an Exemption by the University in accordance with this Procedure.

(11) The vaccination requirement does not apply to:

  1. any person attending an area of campus that is not a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone;
  2. any person attending campus to respond to an emergency;
  3. any person (or their carer) who is seeking health care from an Accredited Health Care Provider on campus;
  4. any person attending campus for the purposes of engaging in research studies where an exemption has been granted for the purposes of the study;
  5. any secondary school students attending campus as part of an authorised and planned school visit; or
  6. any group attending campus where an exemption has been granted by the Senior Executive Group.

(12) Vaccination must be undertaken on the advice of an accredited health practitioner (including health practitioners at any authorised COVID-19 vaccination centre).

Part B - COVID-19 Vaccination Status

(13) The University requires all staff, students, honorary appointees, contractors, tenants and volunteers who attend a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone to provide evidence of their vaccination status. The COVID-19 Vaccination Status Process (Schedule) outlines the process for providing this evidence to the University.

(14) For vaccinations administered in Australia, the University will accept for these purposes a copy of an Immunisation History Statement or a copy of a COVID-19 Digital Certificate (both of which can be obtained through a MyGov account). We do not require your full vaccination history, just confirmation of your COVID-19 Approved Vaccine.

(15) Any person who has had a COVID-19 vaccination approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) administered internationally, can make an application to have their COVID-19 vaccination recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to enable them to access a copy of an Immunisation History Statement or COVID-19 Digital Certificate from their MyGov account.

(16) For COVID-19 vaccinations that have been approved by the TGA as a “recognised vaccine” administered internationally, an alternative form of evidence will be required as outlined in the COVID-19 Vaccination Status Process (Schedule).

(17) Please note, we may require additional information at a later date (e.g. information about further booster doses which may be deemed appropriate to ensure the safety of those attending a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event).

(18) Any person electing to not provide the University with information about their vaccination status, for the purposes of this Procedure will be considered as unvaccinated against COVID-19.

(19) Visitors (including but not limited to those attending sporting facilities and research study participants) will be asked to provide evidence to confirm that they are Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the process to check-in to a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event on arrival.

Part C - Exemptions

(20) Any staff, students, honorary appointees, contractors, tenants, volunteers and visitors attending a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event will be exempted from the requirement to be Fully Vaccinated if they have a Recognised Medical Contraindication.

(21) In order to have an Exemption, the staff member, student, honorary appointee, contractor, tenant or volunteer must arrange for a authorised and qualified medical practitioner to update their immunisation record on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to say they have a Recognised Medical Contraindication, and provide evidence of this to the University.  The COVID-19 Vaccination Status Process (Schedule) outlines the process for providing this evidence to the University.

(22) Visitors (including but not limited to those attending sporting facilities and research study participants), will be asked to provide evidence to confirm they are exempt from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination as part of the process to check-in to a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event on arrival.

(23) In order to ensure the health and safety of the University community, individuals who are granted an Exemption may be subject to conditions or restrictions related to their work, study, access to a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event and/or safety requirements. This may include (but is not limited to) wearing Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. face masks and/or face shields), physical distancing, the use of rapid antigen testing, exclusion from large University events and other measures as determined by the University. The requirement to wear Personal Protective Equipment may also apply to others in attendance in the work or study area or at the event.

Part D - Information Provided to the University

(24) Information submitted to the University under this Procedure will be used only in accordance with the University’s Privacy - Health Information Policy.

(25) Further information about how we handle personal information, including details about how to access and/or correct information or complain about a breach of our privacy obligations (as well as how we will deal with any complaint) can be found in our Privacy - Health Information Policy. Our Privacy Officer can be contacted at privacy@latrobe.edu.au or on (03) 9479 1839.

(26) Any staff member, student, honorary appointee, contractor, tenant or volunteer who provides information to the University in accordance with this Procedure is expected to provide accurate and truthful information. Failure to do so will be considered as serious, and:

  1. In the case of a staff member, may result in disciplinary action for serious misconduct and termination of their employment (Refer Termination of Employment Procedure); or
  2. In the case of a student, may result in disciplinary action for general misconduct and the suspension or termination of their enrolment (Refer Student Conduct Management Policy); or
  3. In the case of an honorary appointee, may result in the honorary appointment being terminated and the University ceasing its affiliation with the honorary appointee (Refer Honorary Appointments Policy); or
  4. In the case of a contractor, may result in the University requesting the contracting organisation to provide an alternative contractor to fulfil the duties under the contract; or
  5. In the case of a tenant, may result in the termination of their contractual agreement with the University; or
  6. In the case of a volunteer, may result in the University ceasing their volunteering arrangement.

Part E - Obtaining Information About Vaccination

(27) Staff, students, honorary appointees, contractors, tenants and volunteers are in the first instance advised to consult with their accredited health practitioner about any concerns they may have in relation to receiving an Approved Vaccine, including the process for obtaining an Approved Vaccine.

Part F - University Assistance

(28) For continuing and fixed-term staff members, the University provides up to three hours away from work for each vaccination appointment, without the requirement for personal leave to be taken.

(29) For eligible casual staff members, the University provides payment of up to three hours of vaccination pay for each vaccination appointment. This payment is applicable for vaccination appointments that occur after 1 September 2021 that are within one week of undertaking work for the University.

Part G - Compliance

(30) Compliance with this Procedure is a condition of accessing any of La Trobe University’s campuses. La Trobe University reserves the right to refuse access to a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event for any person who does not comply with this Procedure.

Staff members

(31) If a staff member has not been Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 December 2021 and has not been granted an Exemption under this Procedure, the Human Resources Division will liaise with the staff member and their manager to seek to understand their reasons for choosing not to be vaccinated and to support the staff member to be vaccinated where possible.

(32) If following these discussions, the staff member continues to choose not to be vaccinated, the University will consider whether the inherent requirements of the staff member’s role require them to attend a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Events and/or whether there are alternative measures (such as enabling the staff member to access accrued leave entitlements or providing a period of leave without pay) or reasonable adjustments that can be made. In circumstances where the University determines that arrangements cannot be made and the staff member is required to attend a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event to perform their role, the University may terminate the staff member’s employment (Refer Termination of Employment Procedure).

Students

(33) If a student (other than a student who enrolled to complete their studies wholly online and has no requirement to attend a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event) has not been Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 December 2021 and has not been granted an Exemption under this Procedure, the Students Portfolio will provide the student with information on the vaccination requirement and support available to the student to be vaccinated where possible.

(34) If following this information, the student continues to choose not to be vaccinated, the University will consider whether there are alternative measures, such as enabling the student to defer their studies, or adjusting their subject selection to subjects that do not require attendance at a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event. In circumstances where the University determines that arrangements cannot be made and the student is required to attend a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event to undertake their studies, the University and the student will need to discuss and determine their ongoing enrolment (Refer Student Conduct Management Policy).

Honorary Appointments

(35) If an honorary appointee has not been Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 December 2021 and has not been granted an Exemption under this Procedure, the Dean/Head of School will liaise with the appointee to seek to understand their reasons for choosing not to be vaccinated and to support the appointee to be vaccinated where possible.

(36) If following these discussions, the honorary appointee continues to choose not to be vaccinated, the University will remove any on-campus privileges associated with the honorary appointment. In circumstances where the University determines that attendance at a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event is critical to the honorary appointee’s engagement with the University, the University may terminate the honorary appointment and cease affiliation with the honorary appointee (Refer Honorary Appointments Policy).

Contractors & Tenants

(37) If a Contractor fails to provide an acknowledgment to the University of its compliance with this Procedure, the University may consider appropriate action regarding the Contractor’s engagement. This may include requesting for the contracting organisation to provide an alternative contractor who is Fully Vaccinated, or if replacement is not possible, the University may consider terminating the contract.

(38) If a Tenant fails to provide an acknowledgment to the University of its compliance with this Procedure, the University may consider appropriate action regarding the Tenant’s lease. This may include restricting the Tenant and/or the Tenant’s staff from attending a La Trobe University Campus.

Volunteers

(39) If a volunteer has not been Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 December 2021 and has not been granted an Exemption under this Procedure, the relevant University officer will liaise with the volunteer to seek to understand their reasons for choosing not to be vaccinated and to support them to be vaccinated where possible.

(40) If following these discussions, the volunteer continues to choose not to be vaccinated and the University determines that attendance at a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event is critical to the volunteer’s engagement, with the University may cease the volunteering arrangement.

Visitors

(41) Visitors who are not Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 and who do not have an approved Exemption to be vaccinated will be refused access to a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event

Part H - Other Measures

(42) As noted in clause 4 of this procedure, the University’s vaccination requirements form part of a multi-layered range of controls to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

(43) In addition to the vaccination requirements outlined in this procedure, in order to ensure the health and safety of the University community, the University may require staff, students, honorary appointees, contractors, tenants, volunteers and visitors to be subject to conditions or restrictions related to their work, study, access to a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone or Designated Event and/or safety requirements.

(44) A condition, restriction and/or safety requirement may include (but is not limited to) wearing Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. face masks and/or face shields), physical distancing, the use of rapid antigen testing and other measures as determined by the University.  

(45) In the event a staff member is required by the University to undertake rapid antigen testing in order to perform their role, the rapid antigen test will be provided to the staff member by the University at no cost to the staff member.

(46) Failure by any staff, students, honorary appointees, contractors, tenants, volunteers and visitors to adhere to a University condition, restriction and/or safety requirement may lead to disciplinary action.

Part I - Operation of this Procedure

(47) La Trobe University will be continuously monitoring and assessing the operation of this Procedure in line with the latest information from Government and health authorities. The University may amend, withdraw or replace this Procedure from time to time at its sole discretion.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(48) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Accredited Health Care Provider: means an accredited health care provider and includes (but is not limited to) the allied health clinics operated by the School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport.
  2. Approved Vaccine: means any COVID-19 vaccination that have been registered or provisionally registered for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). In the case of people who received their vaccination at an overseas location, an Approved Vaccine means any COVID-19 vaccination that has been approved by the TGA as a “recognised vaccine” for the purpose of determining incoming international travellers as being appropriately vaccinated.
  3. Contractor: means a natural person, business or corporation that provides goods and/or services through a contract (written or verbal) for a specific purpose and period of time to the University. This includes educational and research partners, or a person who is performing work for the University under a CONAGOTH arrangement (whether directly or indirectly through a third party).
  4. Designated Event: means any La Trobe University event that is described by the University as a Designated Event in accordance with this Procedure. A Designated Event includes but is not limited to a student attending Placement or a staff member attending a private or third-party residence to conduct a research study.
  5. Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone: means any area of a La Trobe University Campus or location that has been declared as a Designated La Trobe University Campus Zone and which is marked as such on the Health and Safety Procedure – COVID-19 Vaccination Map.
  6. Fully Vaccinated: means having obtained the TGA’s recommended dosage of any Approved Vaccine. For example, where a two-dose schedule is recommended by the TGA, a person will be considered fully vaccinated when they have received both doses of the vaccine. This may include any requirement for ‘booster’ doses.
  7. Honorary appointee: means a person appointed under the Honorary Appointments Policy.
  8. Placement: means a placement opportunity offered by the University as part of a student’s enrolment and includes but is not limited to a clinical placement, professional experience placement, elective placement, work integrated learning placement, industry based learning or industry project placement.
  9. Recognised Medical Contraindication: means a reaction to an Approved Vaccine as advised by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
  10. Staff member: means an employee of the University employed on a continuing, fixed-term or casual basis under the La Trobe University Collective Agreement 2018.
  11. Student: means a student as defined by the La Trobe University Act 2009.
  12. Tenant: means any person who leases or licenses space at a La Trobe University campus and includes venue operators.
  13. Visitor: means a person who is visiting someone or somewhere on a University campus but is not a staff member, student, contractor, honorary appointee, tenant or volunteer.
  14. Volunteer: means a person providing voluntary services to the University.