The University has sent out an email this morning stating that it will not be providing accommodation for students to quarantine on campus. The ANU also warned that students located in Greater Sydney, Victoria, South Australia or a regional NSW area in lockdown should prepare to start the semester online.

However, the advice for returning to the ACT varies for students depending on their current location and accommodation situation in the ACT.

Students currently in Greater Sydney who have on campus accommodation may apply for an exemption if they have “an urgent or exceptional need to travel to the ACT, and have a safe, approved place off campus to reside in (for example, a hotel or other short-term accommodation).” The quarantine rules laid out by ACT Health are strict, including the need to separate yourself from other members of a household at all times, having meals delivered to your door, and wearing a mask when travelling through communal areas.

Nevertheless, for many students, accommodation off-campus for two-weeks is very costly. Woroni investigated prices for two weeks of accommodation. Renting an Airbnb costs at least $800, but often up to $2000, while hotel rooms also cost at least $1000, which prices most middle or lower income students out of quarantine options.

Meanwhile, on-campus students currently in South Australia, Victoria, or a regional NSW area in lockdown are advised by the ANU to stay put. The University explains that it will “continually reassess the situation and are working with ACT Health to develop solutions for your return to campus if your lockdown is extended.”

Students residing off campus in these areas can apply for exemptions if they have a “longstanding lease (with your name on it) in the ACT or an ACT driver’s license and … can safely quarantine in the ACT,” though other exceptions may apply too. This advice is perhaps misleading, as ACT residents returning from these areas are only required to follow a ‘stay-at-home’ order which is less strict than quarantine. Individuals under a ‘stay-at-home’ order may exercise outdoors for one hour a day, shop for essentials, undertake essential work or study, all of which is not possible in quarantine.

This news comes after the ANU announced on Tuesday that it would quarantine vaccinated officials on-campus, as well as reports that a group of ANU students from Sydney were caught illegally attempting to return to Canberra via Batemans Bay.