Melbourne lockdown leaves Swinburne students disconnected and afraid

An empty Swinburne University. Photograph: Aaron Carriero.
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Yet another snap lockdown in Victoria has left students at Swinburne University feeling nervous and disconnected from their studies, as they near the end of the first semester. Aaron Carriero reports.

Students at Swinburne University Residence are fearing for their studies with all of Victoria in stage four lockdown once again due to a rise in Covid-19 infections.

Student residents at Swinburne are worried about what might happen to their university performance, after going into lockdown just before the SWOT-VAC period of exam revision began.

First-year student William Kneebone said he was concerned about the loss of on-site resources previously available.

“It made it a lot more difficult to study without access to the library and campus,” he said.

Like many in his situation, Mr Kneebone, who made the move to Swinburne Residence from regional Victoria, said if the situation got worse, he wouldn’t be able to return home.

“If the cases keep rising and people ignore the lockdown, it’s quite concerning, especially if I can’t go back home and visit my parents,” he said.

A poll on Swinburne’s StalkerSpace today found students were split about how troubled they were by the impact of the sudden lockdown on their studies, with 42 percent saying they were concerned.

Melbourne lockdown leaves Swinburne students disconnected and afraid
Students on Swinburne’s StalkerSpace are worried about fellow students’ wellbeing.

Swinburne Residence resident adviser Spencer Levesque said the res team were working to support the students still on campus.

“It’s really hard to be connected when there’s nothing going on—we try and support as much as we can,” he said.

“We try and post regularly on Facebook and give a sense of community,” Mr Levesque said.

He said a connection with wellbeing services is the most important thing to consider during such a difficult time. “The big thing is there being a point of contact,” he said.

Acting Premier James Merlino today announced that Melbourne’s lockdown would be extended for at least another week, while restrictions will begin to ease in regional Victoria.

Victoria recorded six more cases yesterday, bringing the state total to 67 active cases, with more than 360 exposure sites.

For Melburnians, there are still only five reasons to leave home, mask-wearing remains mandatory inside and out, and travel beyond a 10 km radius from home is not permitted.