It is understandable that many students have concerns around their studies and the potential impact that COVID-19 could have. We urge all students to follow the Australian Department of Health recommendations and practice good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading. You should keep yourself up to date with the latest recommendations from your state’s Department of Health.
Hand hygiene is one of our best defences. We have prepared a blog post on Hand Hygiene for vet clinics which you can read here.
Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080
Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For current information on restrictions and recommendations for keeping safe, please visit https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
What measures does VNS have in place to maintain operations of the colleges?
This is a very reasonable question! Our students are our priority, as is the health & wellbeing of our staff.
Our programs are distance education and can be studied from the comfort of your own home, even if you are in self-isolation. Students can continue to study as normal.
Unlike many other small businesses, we are lucky that our normal operations already have 80% of our employees working remotely from home. Our office staff have now joined them and we have moved all operations remote. Therefore, barring illness, all staff are still able to work as normal.
At this stage, we expect very minimal disruption to our student’s study and their work being assessed within our normal timeframes. All our standard student support channels are still open as normal.
For new students starting, if there are any disruptions to us being able to send out physical resources, we will provide alternative electronic resources for the first subject or more as needed. Currently all freight operators are still functioning but there could be a slight delay as they cope with demand.
All staff packing and sending resources will wear PPE for your protection. We cannot control the resources after they leave our office. If you are concerned, or are vulnerable to illness, you may wish to perform surface disinfection of the package when your resources arrive, prior to opening.
What about work placement?
Current students can access COVID-19 placement information and current measures in place by logging into the Learning Centre Gateway Website.
Some clinics may cancel or postpone placement. If this happens to you, please let us know straight away and obtain a letter from the clinic that we can pop into your file. That way, we already have the evidence we need if we need to override an extension policy rule later. Keep studying your materials and don’t let the lack of placement get you down.
We are putting measures in place to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by the restrictions that mean placement cannot be completed at the moment. Student’s who complete all their theory within the normal enrolment period will not be required to pay to extend their course. Students who have outstanding theory at the time their enrolment is due to be extended will be subject to normal extension policies and fees.
If necessary, we will run training and assessment days later in the year and early 2021 to allow students the opportunity to complete their work for many of the units. All pending safe for us to hang out that is.
At the end of the day, if you have finished and passed all your theory and cannot complete the practical due to placement opportunities still being affected by COVID-19, you won’t be expected to pay to extend your course. We’ll cover that for you. We want you to graduate.
Are there any changes to extension policies?
If you are studying at a good pace, and meet eligibility criteria for extensions, these will be available to you as per normal.
All students have access to applying for extensions as long as they meet criteria. There are already stipulations in our extension policy for illness that impacts study.
For the vast majority of students, if it is necessary, self-isolation is only 14 days and your study schedule already has breaks and extra weeks at the end embedded to assist with short disruptions. Overall, self-isolation or minor illness, should not affect your ability to complete the course in the standard timeframe. COVID-19 only causes minor illness in most people.
If you are affected for more than 14 days, or are seriously ill, then you will have grounds for extension, as long as you meet other extension criteria. Please have a read of the extension policy in the handbook to familiarise yourself with criteria and documents required.
For a very small handful of students, where extensions are not possible, we will work with them individually based on their circumstances and progress to date. Our preference is to assist students to graduate.
What about ACM40412 students?
ACM40412 students are not eligible to extend past December 2020 as their course has been superseded but the ACM40418 and is now in teach-out mode. This is a legislative requirement. Please aim to finish ASAP as originally planned. Your last submissions must reach us by October 15th 2020.
We will work with any affected ACM40412 student directly to help them put plans in place to complete such as ideas on how to complete practical assessments at home, fast tracking marking etc.
What about workshops?
As we place our student and staff wellbeing as first and foremost, we have made the hard decision to cancel all our workshops for 2020.
We are closely monitoring the situation and any government recommendations regarding non-essential meetings and travel. If the situation changes and it becomes safe for all, we will reschedule workshops later in the year.
All participants will receive a full refund.
If you’d like to be among the first to know when new workshop dates will be added to our calendar, please fill in the form on our workshop page.
Are short courses affected in any way?
No. ACVN Short courses are distance education and are completed from the comfort of your own home. They may be a welcome distraction from self-isolation for some.
There should be no disruptions to our short courses and our student support is still open as normal.
In trying to do our part to slow down the spread of covid-19, our staff will be working remotely and physically be in the office only on Mondays. Therefore we’ll be sending you our Printed Leaner’s Guide the Monday after you place your order.
All staff packing and sending resources will wear PPE for your protection.
If for any reason we cannot send out your physical learner’s resource, we will provide a digital PDF copy for you to be able to continue your study until we can send your resources.