University operations at different COVID-19 alert levels

Our University follows the New Zealand government guidelines for COVID-19 alert levels. Find out what each level means for your learning and teaching.

All of Aotearoa New Zealand is at alert level 2 except for Auckland and parts of Waikato, which are at alert level 3.

Find out how the University operates at each alert level

The University must follow the Ministry of Education’s Guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations (PDF). These guidelines require that:

  • We are able to easily transition between alert levels.
  • We maintain our ability to deliver all courses remotely to students regardless of the alert level.
  • We are able to transition to fully remote learning in less than 24 hours, as required.

The COVID-19 alert levels apply to students and staff who are living in New Zealand. If you are currently based outside New Zealand, you must follow any COVID-19 restrictions that are in place where you live. You will be able to access your courses online at all times.

At all alert levels

  • Stay home if you’re sick. If you're feeling unwell, isolate wherever you are and call Healthline about a free COVID-19 test.
  • Use the NZ COVID Tracer app. Scan QR codes everywhere you go, and turn on Bluetooth tracing.
  • Wear a face covering. Wear face coverings on public transport, domestic flights, and when you cannot maintain physical distance in crowded places.

Alert level 1: prepare

At alert level 1, everyone needs to be ready in case COVID-19 reappears in the community.

Teaching, assessment, and activities occur on campus as usual. Online teaching options are available for students not able to be on campus.

Ministry of Education guidelines

All on-campus activities are permitted as usual.

Teaching
  • All teaching happens on campus, with online options available for students not able to be on campus.
  • Exams and tests can be conducted on campus, with comparable online options available for students not able to be on campus.
  • Research-related activities can take place on campus.
Campus activities

All usual activity is allowed on campus.

Health and safety
  • Do not come onto campus if you are unwell.
  • Use the NZ COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth enabled.
  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport throughout New Zealand.
  • Staff and students are encouraged to bring a face covering to campus. There is individual discretion as to when and where a face covering is worn.
  • Practice healthy hygiene habits.
  • Hand sanitiser is widely available on campus.

Alert level 2: reduce

At alert level 2, COVID-19 remains contained with an increased risk of community transmission occurring.

Teaching and assessment are delivered both online and on campus with physical distancing protocols. Campuses are open to staff and students, but closed to the public. Non-educational gatherings on campus are limited to 100 people. Libraries are open for reduced hours (see below). Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) returns to in-person doctor, nurse and counselling visits while continuing to offer students the option of in-person or virtual appointments.

Ministry of Education requirements
  • A limit of 200 staff and students in a large lecture or teaching space is strongly recommended.
  • The University’s physical distancing protocols are based on those determined by the Ministry of Education. This means that where it is practical to do so, you must physically distance:
    • on campus: 1 metre distance from others
    • in public: 2 metre distance from people you don’t know.
  • Face coverings are strongly recommended for students and staff in teaching and learning spaces.
  • Those who are, or are caring for, a person who is at a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should not be asked to come to campus.
Teaching
  • Almost all courses will be offered in dual mode (i.e., both fully online and in-person)
  • There may be a small number of courses that have changed from dual mode to being delivered online only. Students taking any of these courses will be notified via Blackboard and email.
  • A limit on 200 staff and students in a large lecture or teaching space is strongly recommended.
  • Physical distancing of 1 metre is strongly recommended in learning and teaching spaces.
  • Wearing a face covering is strongly recommended for staff and students in teaching and learning spaces.
  • Entry and exit points in large learning and teaching spaces will be separate and clearly marked, and queue management systems will be in place.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in public-facing areas including Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling), the University Pharmacy, the University Recreation Centre, Adam Art Gallery, and retailers on campus. Please also wear a face covering in confined spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
  • All courses have contingency plans in place for any students who are not able to come to campus
  • When on campus, staff and students should observe the physical distancing protocols in our lecture theatres. This means that students should:
    • Comply with the designated entrance and exit protocols that are in place for larger lecture rooms.
    • When in the lecture theatre, choose seats that have been marked as the preferred seats to occupy wherever possible.
    • Choose to relocate to a study space outside the lecture theatre to stream their lecture to their device if they prefer.
  • Staff are not required to police these requirements, but are permitted to end class if they feel it is unsafe.
  • Pre-recorded Panopto videos or Zoom lecture streaming are available for students to view during usual lecture times.
  • Zoom tutorials are available for students who would otherwise attend in-person tutorials. Students are also able to attend tutorials in-person but should comply with physical distancing requirements.
  • Alternative arrangements for other learning activities—for example, in-person workshops, labs—may be made for some individual courses, but students are not required to attend in-person activities (except in rare circumstances where approval has been given by the Dean and communicated widely to students). Students will be informed of any changes—check Blackboard for details of individual courses.
  • In rare cases, and with the approval of the Dean, exams and tests are able to be conducted on campus, with comparable online options available for students not able to be on campus.
Research
  • All research on campus can be conducted on campus as it has been previously at alert level 2. However, face coverings are strongly recommended in research and laboratory spaces, and group sizes are controlled subject to health and safety assessments and 1 metre distancing.
Campus activities
  • All campus areas remain available to students and staff, but are closed to the public.
  • Use ID cards to swipe in and out of buildings.
  • Everyone should use the NZ COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth enabled and scan the QR codes located across university campuses.
  • Events and non-educational gatherings on campus are limited to 100 indoors.
  • There will be spaces on all campuses allocated for students wishing to use headphones and safely engage with online material. These spaces will be in the libraries on all campuses.
  • Research-related activities on campus can take place.
  • Libraries open for reduced hours.
  • Student services offer in-person and online options.
  • Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) offer more services online or over the phone and resume infection control and distancing precautions. Face coverings are mandatory for in-person appointments at Mauri Ora.
Health and safety
  • Do not come onto campus if you are unwell.
  • Use the COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth enabled.
  • Students, staff, and others should bring their own face coverings to campus.
  • If you are using disposable masks, place used ones into a lined bin. Make sure to wash or sanitise your hands immediately after doing so. The Ministry of Health has more detail about use of masks.
  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport throughout New Zealand.
  • Where lecturers or tutors feel health and safety standards are not being maintained, they have the authority to cancel the class.
  • Practice healthy hygiene habits.
  • Hand sanitiser is widely available on campus.

Alert level 3: restrict

At alert level 3, there is a high risk that COVID-19 is not contained.

Most teaching and assessment is delivered online. Any in-person teaching or research is limited to no more than 10 people per room, who must comply with all physical distancing protocols. Library operates on click-and-collect. Campuses are closed to the public. Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) can operate on the Kelburn campus with infection control and distancing precautions—most services offered online or over the phone. Students may not travel from an alert level 4 area to an educational entity in an alert level 3 area.

Ministry of Education requirements
  • All teaching and other activities should be done remotely.
  • Where it is not possible to deliver teaching online, some facilities may remain open.
  • Any in-person teaching must be limited to no more than 10 people in rooms on campus, and those 10 must all comply with physical distancing protocols.
  • Research can be undertaken on campus, but must be limited to no more than 10 people in rooms on campus.
  • Those who are, or are caring for, a person who is at a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, should not be asked to come to campus.
  • Campus is closed to members of the public.
Teaching
  • Most University teaching is delivered online, though in rare cases small voluntary in-person teaching bubbles may be approved.
  • Workplace-based learning that is on-site or in-person does not proceed, except in very limited circumstances where that type of business is allowed to continue operations, such as a hospital. Any on-site workplace-based learning will be managed within the COVID-related restrictions being applied to that workplace.
  • There are no in-person assessments at alert level 3.
  • Contingency assessment plans for any previously planned in-person assessment are communicated to students in Blackboard or by email.
  • Classes (but not research) are limited to two hours and should take place in a well-ventilated area.
Teaching bubbles
  • A teaching bubble is a group of 10 or fewer people (students and staff) who interact in person with one another. Individuals can be in one work bubble (a teaching or research bubble) and one home bubble.
  • Research and teaching bubbles are limited and need approval of the Dean (or delegate). When on campus, staff and students should observe the same physical distancing protocols as in alert level 2. This means that where it is practical to do so, you must physically distance:
    • on campus: 1-metre distance from others
    • in public: 2-metre distance from people you don’t know.
  • All students must use contact tracing systems when they come to campus, and information must be collected confirming when and where a learning and teaching and research bubble has come together.
  • The rules relating to bubbles may change at any point. Students are advised to pay close attention to any such changes.
  • No individual (staff or student) can be part of more than one bubble.
  • Individual students are responsible for ensuring they comply with these government requirements.
  • No individual (staff or student) can be required to be part of any bubble.
  • Each bubble should use separate bathroom facilities (unless they are sanitised between use).
Campus activities
  • Limited study spaces and computer labs are available at selected campuses.
  • Use ID cards to swipe in and out of buildings.
  • Use the COVID-19 Tracer app and the QR codes located across our campuses.
  • All student services are provided online.
  • Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) is able to operate on the Kelburn campus, with most services offered online or over the phone. Infection control and distancing procedures apply, including mandatory use of face coverings for in-person appointments at Mauri Ora.
  • Student accommodation may remain open, as long as there is access to self-isolation areas if required.
  • Use the click and collect service to borrow books from the Library.
  • Security is present on campus.
Health and safety
  • Do not come onto campus if you are unwell.
  • Use the COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth enabled.
  • Face coverings will need to be worn inside buildings on campus (for example, in study spaces) and are strongly recommended at other times, particularly where physical distancing may be difficult. If you are using disposable masks, place used ones into a lined bin. Make sure to wash or sanitise your hands immediately after doing so. The Ministry of Health has more detail about use of masks.
  • Shared equipment needs to be sanitised between use.
  • Practice healthy hygiene habits.
  • Hand sanitiser is widely available on campus.

Alert level 4: lockdown

At alert level 4, it is likely that COVID-19 is not contained in New Zealand.

All teaching and assessment is delivered online. Campuses are closed to the public, staff, and students. Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) is able to operate on the Kelburn campus with infection control and distancing precautions—most services offered online or over the phone.

Ministry of Education requirements
  • Educational facilities are closed.
  • Student accommodation may remain open, as long as there is access to self-isolation areas, if required.
Teaching
  • All University teaching is delivered online, without exception.
  • Workplace-based learning that is on-site or in-person does not proceed, except in very limited circumstances where that type of business is allowed to continue operations, such as a hospital.
  • There are no in-person assessments at alert level 4.
  • Contingency assessment plans for any in-person assessment are communicated to students in Blackboard or by email.
Campus activities
  • No on-campus activities are allowed, with the exception of Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) and Student Accommodation.
  • No other student services are provided on campus.
  • Security is present on campus.