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 and follow any restrictions, mandates or recommendations. All students are encouraged to be vaccinated, noting this may be mandatory in some situations or states.
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 ability to study however there are some delays in marking at the moment as staff juggle assessing, homeschooling, and their clinical shifts. 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 until we are able to send physical folders. 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 do so hygienically. 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 have measures in place to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by the restrictions that mean placement cannot be completed at the moment. Our extension policy has been edited to factor in COVID-19 related delays. However, if vaccinations are mandatory either under clinic policy or state mandates and a student chooses to not be vaccinated, there are no course fee refunds for being unable to complete course requirements.
At the end of the day, if you have finished and passed all your theory and cannot complete the practical due to placement opportunities being affected by COVID-19 shutdowns, we will offer you free or reduced extensions if you meet the criteria in the extension policy.
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.
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. There are COVID-19 related sections.
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 2021. They will resume in 2022 for vaccinated attendees.
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 in a limited capacity. Therefore, unless Melbourne is in Stage 4 restrictions which prevent us being in the office, we’ll be sending you our Printed Leaner’s Guide the Monday after you place your order.
All staff packing and sending resources will do so hygenically.
If for any reason, such as Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, 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.