Macquarie University’s response to COVID-19

Macquarie University continues to respond to the COVID-19 situation. While we endeavour to keep our COVID-related information current, rules and requirements change at short notice.

Working within the guidelines established by the University, managing the response to COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility and we strongly encourage all students and staff to keep up to date with the latest NSW Health advice.

This website provides guidance for the general University community. Additional regulations apply to the following areas:

Reviewed as current on 9 August 2023

The University continues to refine its policies and guidance in accordance with the latest public health advice in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

We continuously consult with WHS Committees, Health and Safety Representatives, Unions and Staff about COVID safe arrangements and settings. If you have feedback or suggestions, please contact

COVIDSafe Behaviours

When coming to campus, please ensure that you follow these simple COVIDSafe behaviours.

  • Stay home when unwell. Do not come to campus if you have even the mildest of symptoms or are in any way unwell; consult NSW advice on COVID-19 symptoms and how it spreads for more details. Get tested, following the NSW advice on getting tested.
  • Get vaccinated. We strongly encourage all staff and students to get vaccinated if they have not already done so and to get their booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
  • Get tested. If you are unwell, it is your personal responsibility to consider the wellbeing of others with whom you may come in contact, both on and off campus. We encourage the use of Rapid Antigen Testing to help you make an informed decision about coming to campus.
  • Protect yourself and others by:
    • wearing a mask is encouraged in indoor settings particularly where physical distancing cannot be maintained
    • maintain 1.5m physical distancing wherever possible
    • maintain good handwashing and cough/sneeze hygiene
  • If you test positive to COVID-19, follow the information in FAQ 1
  • If you are informed that you are a contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, follow the advice here.

Frequently asked questions

Keeping our campus safe

On the 14 October 2022 the NSW Government removed the mandatory 7-day isolation period for people who test positive to COVID-19. It is no longer mandatory to self-isolate if you test positive however, NSW Health strongly recommends you stay at home while unwell and take steps to protect others. More information can be found here.

The University encourages all staff to abide by these recommendations and reminds all staff, students, and visitors that they should not attend campus if unwell.

If you test positive:

Step 1 – Read the NSW Health advice

Read the NSW Health advice and follow the recommendations.

Step 2 – Stay at home

Stay at home until your acute symptoms have gone and talk to your Manager / Supervisor / Unit Conveyor about when you should return to campus.

Step 3 – Other important information

For students – Students should contact their lecturers/unit convenors to inform them of their situation to discuss their study options. Students can find more information in relation to impacts to study and applying for special consideration on our Coronavirus website – please see FAQs 22–29.

For staff - staff can find further information in relation to leave, wellbeing and support on our Coronavirus website – please see FAQs 31–38.

If someone in your household has COVID-19 or you have otherwise been notified that you are a contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you should follow the current NSW advice for people exposed to COVID-19. The steps that you need to follow will depend on the risk classification for work type and/or contact environment.

Healthcare and childcare workers

If you are unsure of the advice in relation to your individual circumstances, please contact your manager or supervisor.

All students, staff and visitors are expected to follow NSW Health advice and to observe any COVIDSafe policies and procedures the University has in place including not attending campus if unwell or presenting flu-like symptoms.

If someone suffers from a condition that presents with similar symptoms, such as hay fever, that individual should consult their manager, teacher or supervisor to inform them about the condition and provide reasonable explanation.

If someone does not follow these rules, they will be asked to leave the campus. For students and staff, refusal to follow a reasonable direction of the University will be handled via standard University policy or procedure including Staff Code of Conduct and Student Code of Conduct.

All students, staff and visitors are expected to follow NSW Health advice and to observe any COVIDSafe policies and procedures the University has in place. If someone does not follow these rules, they will be asked to leave the campus. For students and staff, refusal to follow a reasonable direction of the University will be handled via standard University policy or procedure.


The University continues to strongly recommend that all staff and students get vaccinated and be ‘up-to-date’ with vaccination by getting a booster dose as soon as they are eligible.

You can discuss a flexible work arrangement with your manager but your ability to work remotely will depend on the nature of your role. If your role requires on campus activity, then you will need to work with your manager and HR to understand your responsibilities.

Proof of vaccination status and testing results are not required to attend campus. The University strongly encourages, but does not mandate vaccination. All staff, students, and visitors to campus should follow the University’s COVIDSafe behaviours outlined above.

The best way to protect the community against the spread of COVID-19 is to follow the COVIDSafe behaviours.

With the removal of restrictions in NSW in almost all areas of life, it is increasingly likely that each of us at some point will have contact with people who are not vaccinated. This could be at the University, but it could equally be in the supermarket, on public transport, or in any other social or public setting.

It should also be remembered that vaccination reduces the risk of infection, but it does not eliminate it. COVID-19 can also be spread by vaccinated people. While being vaccinated means you are much less likely to get or pass on COVID-19, or get a severe case, you still need to be conscious that you may unknowingly contract and pass on the disease to others.

Face masks

In accordance with the NSW Mask Rules, from 25 February 2022 mask wearing is no longer required for staff or students at MQ in most settings, with some exceptions noted below.

Masks are encouraged for use in indoor settings where physical distancing (1.5m) cannot be maintained.

Masks may continue to be worn by students and staff as a personal preference in areas where they are not required.

Masks will continue to be required in:

  1. Specific settings where NSW rules including healthcare and clinical settings; and childcare, dept of education settings (eg schools) as per Department of Education rules.
  2. Specialist teaching spaces by exceptions considering the risk profile of the space (ventilation and density analysis, and the activity), where the Risk/WHS team will continue working with the staff in those areas to assess the risk and controls.
  3. Where staff are vulnerable/high risk workers, follow the established procedure (refer to FAQ 38) for considering any alteration to usual working conditions.

Department of Education mask rules – Childcare, Schools, Disability support

From Monday 28 February, masks were no longer mandatory for staff and students in high schools.

From Monday 7 March, masks were no longer mandatory for staff in primary schools and early childhood settings.

In line with community settings, workers who support our students with disability in schools for specific purposes (SSPs), support units and some mainstream classrooms will be required to wear masks while working with students.

Masks are still required on school sites for anyone doing any of the following types of work:

  • NDIS services
  • ATSP services – drivers and Assisted Travel Support Officers
  • education and/or support of a student with a disability in an SSP, support unit or mainstream setting where the student is dependent on the worker for mobility, health care, personal care, or constant supervision to minimise harm

For more information on these requirements refer to Department of Education mask rules

Both surgical and cloth masks are acceptable for general use as per the current NSW advice about mask use.

N95 masks or equivalent may be specifically required in certain clinical or laboratory settings where processes are in place to ensure that they are effective (i.e., fitted properly).

Generally, no. Staff, students and visitors should have their own supply of face masks to use on campus.

In certain settings, such as for front-line staff whose role involves regular face-to-face interaction (eg teaching, service desks), or if masks are already a standard component of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) then they may be supplied by the University. Please check with your manager or supervisor

All students, staff and visitors are expected to follow NSW Health advice and to observe any COVIDSafe policies and procedures the University has in place. This includes wearing a face mask and wearing it properly (ie covering both the nose and mouth) if required in certain settings.

If someone does not follow these rules, they will be asked to leave the room and building by the manager, teacher or supervisor. If they continue to refuse Campus Security may be called. For students and staff, refusal to follow a reasonable direction of the University will be handled via standard University policy or procedure including Staff Code of Conduct and Student Code of Conduct.

Rapid antigen tests

In certain essential service areas (e.g., healthcare and childcare settings), the University, MQ Health, or the Department of Education will provide RATs, subject to availability. Please check with your manager or supervisor.

The University will also maintain a stock of RATs for use in certain settings, such as for front-line staff whose role involves regular face-to-face interaction (eg teaching, service desks, and in student accommodation). These are being managed within Faculties and Portfolios. Please check with your manager, supervisor or Faculty Operational Support area.

For other settings and personal use, in general the expectation is that staff and students should secure and pay for their own supply as required.

Buildings and facilities

Campus is open and operating in a business-as-usual capacity.

Regular cleaning is carried out across campus.

The University also provides hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes across campus. Everyone should take personal responsibility for their cleaning needs, e.g. using hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces/equipment before and after use.

Yes. The University provides hand sanitiser across campus, particularly in high traffic areas.

Yes. The University provides sanitiser wipes across campus.

The University provides sanitiser wipes across campus and frequently used or shared equipment (e.g. hand held microphones) should be wiped between users.

A MQ Location / Room Capacity, Density and Ventilation reference tool sets out the maximum capacity of spaces across campus – currently ‘Normal use capacity’ – and includes density rating and ventilation rating information.

While density limits do not apply to teaching spaces under Public Health Orders, the majority of locations / rooms are within or better than 1:2 person to square meters capacity when at normal usage. Where there are exceptions other mitigating controls are applied.

The University has been implementing room capacity, density and ventilation safety strategies throughout the pandemic, both in accordance with NSW Public Health requirements as they apply from time to time, and undertaking risk assessments to identify any necessary additional controls are implemented.

Density rating

At present, there are no capacity limits in NSW, which means that neither the 1:4 nor 1:2 person per square meters (sqm) rules apply.

The following is the capacity density ratings across North Ryde and City campuses apply:

  • Low density (94%) – These are spaces / rooms where the ‘normal use capacity’ (or pre-COVID capacity) is less than or equal to 1:2sqm capacity.
  • Medium density (5%) – These are spaces / rooms where the ‘normal use capacity’ (or pre-COVID capacity) is greater than the 1:2sqm capacity by more than 1 but less than 99 people.
  • High density (1%) – These are spaces / rooms where the ‘normal use capacity’ (or pre-COVID capacity) is greater than the 1:2sqm capacity by more than 100 people.

Ventilation rating

The University’s most recent building audit, involving the review of 107 buildings across campus regarding the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, has applied the following ventilation ratings:

  • Well ventilated (24%) – These are modern, fully airconditioned buildings; of which 88% are monitored by our Building Management System (BMS).
  • Semi ventilated (49%) – These are older buildings that might have a combination of partial HVAC and/or split air conditioning systems and/or opening windows; of which 77% are monitored by our Building Management System (BMS) or monitoring is not applicable.
  • Poorly ventilated (21%) – These include those buildings that rely on windows only and include: 8 buildings in the Fauna Park sheds that have wall split units installed; 5 demountable offices with window units installed; 4 office spaces with no air conditioning; 2 special use buildings; and 1 that is not in use.

The University has reviewed the NSW Government COVID-19 guidance on ventilation and has considered which measures are relevant to our campus. The following have been considered in accordance with the NSW Government guidance:

Use outdoor settings wherever possible.

  • Staff and students are encouraged to hold meetings/activities outdoors wherever possible and safe to do so in accordance with NSW Government guidelines.
  • The University provides external seating adjacent to many buildings and in surrounding areas for external dining / seating options. Various areas are in part covered from weather. Terraced seating is provided throughout the campus.

In indoor areas, increase natural ventilation by opening windows and doors where possible.

  • In buildings with externally facing doors/windows, these can be kept open to increase ventilation where it is possible, safe and practical to do so.

In indoor areas, increase mechanical ventilation where possible by optimising air conditioning or other system settings (such as by maximising the intake of outside air and reducing or avoiding recirculation of air).

  • Air conditioning systems have been re-optimised to increase fresh air intake while ensuring comfort conditions are met.
  • Outside air dampers have been adjusted to provide maximum outside air intake, which greatly increases ventilation however also decreases the effectiveness of the cooling system. As such building maximum temperatures may move to 25 degrees Celsius from the set maximum of 24 degrees Celsius.
  • Night purging of the buildings that have a central Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system controlled by the Building Management System (BMS) has been implemented.
  • Building filters have been changed within the last 6 months. These filters are not hospital grade high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters as our HVAC systems do not have the capability to operate with such dense filters.
  • Operating hours of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems have been extended to 6am start and 8pm finish.

Ensure mechanical ventilation systems are regularly maintained to optimise performance (for example through regular filter cleaning or filter changes).

  • The existing mechanical systems will be reviewed to provide the services as per the above. The mechanical systems are subject to regular maintenance and filter replacements as required. These can be increased if required.

Information for students

The University is fully open for 2023, so that our students can get back to face-to-face learning and enjoy everything that campus life has to offer. We understand that some students may be unable to attend classes in person, and we will continue to offer remote learning options wherever possible.

Please refer to the Macquarie University Handbook to check the modes of offering available for your chosen units. You may also wish to consult information on enrolments and closing dates.

Please ensure that you closely monitor your student email account and messages from your teaching staff via the iLearn Announcement Forum for changes to class arrangements due to unexpected circumstances. For example, your teacher may need to go into self-isolation for a short period. As a result, your face-to-face class may be moved to a Zoom meeting that week but then continue face-to-face the following week.

Learning and teaching is to be carried out in-person and on campus as much as possible in 2023. We know that some students may still be unable to attend campus, and wherever possible we will continue to provide the choice between online and in-person options.

To find out what options are available in 2023 for your unit(s) of study please refer to the Macquarie University Handbook.

You can also check specific days and times of classes by visiting the Timetable Viewer.

There are several units that have a mandatory on-campus attendance requirement.

Please contact Service Connect to discuss your options.

If your visa does not allow you to come to campus please contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs to seek clarification.

We understand that some students may still be unable to attend campus or may prefer to study online. We will continue to provide the choice between online and in-person options where we can.

Where possible, lectures will be recorded and made available through our Learning Management System, (iLearn) as ECHO recordings.

In some units there may be elements of study that require you to physically attend campus or another setting. If you are unable to attend or have any concerns you should raise these with your teacher or supervisor.

For units that offer their activities in hybrid form (face to face or online), the student should choose the online practicums or tutorials. However, many units have compulsory face to face components (for pedagogic or accreditation reasons), and if the student for reasons cannot attend these, they need to contact the Unit Convener to see what their alternative arrangements are. Some may have alternative options, but if not, then course guidance is necessary as the face to face component is clearly critical for the degree (eg. health courses) and it might be better/necessary for the student to change course if they can only study remotely.

If you are uncertain about your options, please contact Service Connect.

Important Australian Government Student Visa Information

International students holding an Australian student visa must return to study on campus, face to face, in Australia by 30 June 2023. Please plan to be back on campus in Australia, to complete your studies from that date.

More information about this change can be found on the website of the Australian Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) or in the answers to their most frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Faculties carefully consider how courses and units are designed including the optimal approach to teaching, as well as feedback from students and staff. This informs the optimum delivery mode to support student learning.

For 2023, the University has outlined a number of COVIDSafe Behaviours when coming to campus and has reviewed its COVID safe arrangements and settings.

Yes, however some may be subject to changing Government regulations and policies set out by our partners, (for example compliance requirements such as vaccinations and mask fit testing). Students should also consider if they do become COVID-19 positive they must comply with the policies of the organisation where they are undertaking the activity or placement. Please contact Service Connect to discuss your circumstances.

If you get COVID and it impacts your study, please follow the normal procedures for dealing with illness.

If you miss a class or assessment because you are impacted by COVID-19 and have to isolate, we have systems and processes in place to help support you through those unexpected events. Check with with your Unit Convener or unit guide to see if a special consideration application may be required.

If the class you have missed is not graded, you do not need to submit Special Consideration.

Students can contact Student Wellbeing ( with enquiries about wellbeing, accessibility and counselling. If you would like to talk to someone about your mental wellbeing, or the mental wellbeing of a student, you can make a CARE report or phone 1800 2273 67 (1800 CARE MQ).

For urgent or emergency care:

  • Off campus: Emergency services phone 000
  • On campus: Security 9850 9999

For all administrative matters or if you are unsure where to go for support, contact Service Connect either by:


All elements of on- and off-campus research within Australia are permitted subject to local (Faculty or Department) approval, in accordance with our COVIDSafe Research Recommencement Plan.

Information for staff

Some members of our community are vulnerable or at a higher risk of developing, or having serious symptoms to, COVID-19 (including people aged 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic physical or psychological medical conditions, all people with compromised immune systems, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50 with chronic medical conditions).

If you are a staff member in this vulnerable or higher risk category, you should speak with your supervisor or manager about your circumstances and available options in the first instance - including having a risk assessment before returning to work on campus, continuing to work remotely while the COVID-19 risk is high, reduced or modified hours.  There may be other options appropriate to your specific circumstances. For particularly sensitive matters in exceptional circumstances, contacting your Human Resources partner is an alternative.

The University may request that you provide supporting medical evidence and/or request to speak with your medical practitioner. This may be required to ensure that any restrictions or limitations that may impact your ability to perform the duties of your role are fully understood and the University can ensure that you are provided with appropriate support.

If you or your supervisor need any assistance understanding the available options, a member of our Human Resources Client Relationships team will be able to help.

Yes. If you test positive to COVID-19 and are unable to work from home (either because you are unwell or because the nature of your role does not allow it) then you may claim personal leave for the period that you are required to isolate. You may be asked to provide supporting evidence in accordance with the Personal Leave policy.

If you need to isolate because you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in accordance with the NSW advice for people exposed to COVID-19, you should continue, where possible, to work from home during this period. This may require you to speak to your manager about temporary alternate duties that can be performed from home. If it is agreed that you are unable to work from home, you should discuss options with your manager. This may include taking an appropriate form of leave, including personal (carers’) leave, annual leave or unpaid leave. In some limited circumstances, you may be entitled to take personal (sick) leave for this period.

The University will support members of our casual workforce who have been directly impacted by a positive COVID-19 test and who would otherwise be undertaking work at the University during that period.

If you are a casual staff member and need to stay home due to testing positive to COVID-19, you should contact your manager or supervisor to discuss whether any duties are available for you to work from home during your self-isolation period.

If you cannot attend or complete your casual work duties because:

  • you are unwell with COVID-19, or
  • you cannot complete work remotely and cannot be given other reasonable replacement duties while isolating,

the University will pay you for the work you would have otherwise completed over a period of one week starting from the first day of your isolation period. This is referred to as the COVIDSafe Absence Payment. Please be aware that you will be required to provide sufficient evidence of your requirement to isolate.

To claim the COVIDSafe Absence Payment, you should:

  1. complete your time claim with the hours that you would have worked had you not been unwell, using the cost centre: 90119995.
  2. Attach supporting evidence to your time claim for the reason for your absence (for example, a medical certificate, an appropriate NSW Health notification or the COVIDSafe Absence Declaration Form – HR Forms > leave)
  3. Submit your time claim to your manager or supervisor for approval through the usual WorkDay process.

Once your time claim has been submitted for the COVIDSafe Absence Payment, your manager will be required to review to ensure the information meets the requirements.  If approved, you will receive your payment on the usual University pay day.

The COVIDSafe Absence Payment will be available to eligible staff for absences commencing prior to 31 December 2023.

If you need to, staff can talk to their manager or contact the employee assistance program (EAP) which is a free and confidential counselling, coaching and wellbeing service for staff.

As we move through a phased return to work on campus, your local area and/or building warden may not be on site in the event of an emergency. To assist, please familiarise yourself with the Emergency Response Quick Guide and follow the information provided.

All First Aid trained staff or those providing First Aid, should follow the University’s First Aid Officer COVID-19 Infection Control Strategies. Please contact your department administrator or manager to find out which staff in your area are trained first aiders. If you have any questions or would like additional information please contact the Work Health & Safety team:

Where possible, materials and notes for classes should be made available via iLearn. Staff are encouraged to check in with students via the iLearn forum and make use of other engagement tools such as iLearn Insights. Where possible a Question and Answer (Q&A) session via Zoom should be offered to discuss any specific matters.


Carpooling is permitted. Staff and students should consider measures that they can take to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 if they are carpooling, such as wearing masks, limiting the number of people in the vehicle, keeping windows open, minimising the trip distance, and taking breaks outside the vehicle if travelling long distances.

Travel on University business to regional NSW and interstate within Australia is permitted for all staff in accordance with the relevant approvals set out in the Travel Policy.

Travellers are responsible for ensuring that they have checked and comply with any relevant health or other restrictions that are in place for their destination/s.

Travellers and approvers are responsible for ensuring that there are contingency plans in place in case of contracting COVID-19 while travelling, potential quarantine requirements and potential limitations on travel (e.g. border closures), noting that these may occur without notice and may incur additional costs.

Further information can be found on the TravelRight website.

International travel on University business is permitted only where it has been approved in advance in writing by a member of the Executive Group. Travel must be in accordance with the current Australian and international border restrictions and entry requirements, recognising that these may change at short notice.

Travellers are responsible for ensuring that they have checked and comply with any relevant health or other restrictions and entry requirements that are in place for each destination travelled to or through.

Travellers and approvers are responsible for ensuring that there are contingency plans in place for if the traveller contracts COVID-19 while travelling, potential quarantine requirements, and potential limitations on travel (eg border closures). Travellers and approvers are also responsible for ensuring that they understand the extent of cover provided by University insurances before travelling.

Further information can be found on the TravelRight website.


Gatherings and events that are important to the mission of the University and which can be carried out in a COVIDSafe way and in accordance with the NSW Rules are permitted. Events must be approved in accordance with the University Events Policy.

Event and gathering requests should be referred to the Events & Domestic Protocol team for further guidance.