Updates and emails

Catch-up with the Vice-Chancellor's COVID-19 email updates for students and other key communications.

This page was last updated on 23 September 2021.

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

Vice-Chancellor's message to students, 23 September 2021

Kia ora koutou,

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing patience with life at alert level 2.

It has been great to see a good number of students and staff visiting the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Hub at the Kelburn campus today. The clinics will also be running tomorrow and Saturday between 9 am and 4 pm. You can book a vaccination by calling 0800 282 296 or logging into bookmyvaccine and using the booking code SC66OF8PCG. The clinic will also be accepting walk-ins. The vaccination programme is being run by Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) in partnership with Tū Ora Compass Health, and with support from VUWSA and other student representative groups—thank you to all those involved.

We have now received updated guidance from the Ministry of Education, which confirms that students and staff who are in an alert level 3 area are not permitted to return to Wellington, or any other area at alert level 2, unless they have an exemption from the Director-General of Health. I appreciate that this may be frustrating for those of you in this situation and thank you for abiding by the guidelines and playing your part in protecting our community. Please get in touch with your course coordinator, faculty staff, or our student services, if you require additional support.

Other changes include an increase in the capacity limits for large teaching and learning spaces, which can now accommodate up to 200 staff and students with physical distancing of one metre. The previous limit was 100.

You can read more information about University life at alert level 2 elsewhere on our COVID-19 information site. As a reminder, during alert level 2, the campus opening hours are the same as those for the Library. Currently our libraries are open from 8.30 am–8 pm from Monday to Friday, except for the Commerce Library, which closes at 5 pm (mezzanine floor will remain open). All libraries will remain open from 10 am–3 pm on weekends.

Find out more about library operations.

Kind regards,

Grant

All emails to students

23 September 2021 Student message

Vice-Chancellor's message to students, 23 September 2021

Kia ora koutou,

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing patience with life at alert level 2.

It has been great to see a good number of students and staff visiting the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Hub at the Kelburn campus today. The clinics will also be running tomorrow and Saturday between 9 am and 4 pm. You can book a vaccination by calling 0800 282 296 or logging into bookmyvaccine and using the booking code SC66OF8PCG. The clinic will also be accepting walk-ins. The vaccination programme is being run by Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) in partnership with Tū Ora Compass Health, and with support from VUWSA and other student representative groups—thank you to all those involved.

We have now received updated guidance from the Ministry of Education, which confirms that students and staff who are in an alert level 3 area are not permitted to return to Wellington, or any other area at alert level 2, unless they have an exemption from the Director-General of Health. I appreciate that this may be frustrating for those of you in this situation and thank you for abiding by the guidelines and playing your part in protecting our community. Please get in touch with your course coordinator, faculty staff, or our student services, if you require additional support.

Other changes include an increase in the capacity limits for large teaching and learning spaces, which can now accommodate up to 200 staff and students with physical distancing of one metre. The previous limit was 100.

You can read more information about University life at alert level 2 elsewhere on our COVID-19 information site. As a reminder, during alert level 2, the campus opening hours are the same as those for the Library. Currently our libraries are open from 8.30 am–8 pm from Monday to Friday, except for the Commerce Library, which closes at 5 pm (mezzanine floor will remain open). All libraries will remain open from 10 am–3 pm on weekends.

Find out more about library operations.

Kind regards,

Grant

21 September 2021 Student message

Vice-Chancellor's message to students, 21 September 2021

Dear all,

As you will have heard, the Government has confirmed that Auckland will move to alert level 3 at 11.59 pm tomorrow (Tuesday 21 September) while the rest of Aotearoa will remain at alert level 2. These arrangements will next be reviewed on Monday 4 October.

I would like to thank you all for your cooperation and patience with the current measures that we are required to have in place on our Wellington campuses during alert level 2.

With Auckland moving down a level, I know there will be students who are keen to return to Wellington and the University. The current guidance from the Ministry of Education (MoE) is that travel between alert level areas is highly limited and an exemption to travel is likely to be needed.

That guidance also advises students who live in halls of residence and are currently in an alert level 3 area that they should remain where they are and are strongly discouraged from returning to their student accommodation unless it is an emergency.

We are waiting for further advice from the MoE to help clarify the circumstances in which students who are in an area still at alert level 3 can return to campus and will share this with you as soon as it is available.

Meanwhile, all our campus areas remain available to students and staff but please maintain physical distancing protocols, wear a face covering, carry your student ID card at all times, and comply with contact tracing requirements.

Library opening hours

From today (Monday 20 September), libraries resume COVID-19 alert level 2 opening hours. All libraries are open from 8.30 am–8 pm from Monday to Friday, except for the Commerce Library, which closes at 5 pm (mezzanine floor will remain open). All libraries will remain open from 10 am–3 pm on weekends.

Find out more about library operations.

Given the limit of 100 staff and students in each lecture or teaching space, students can use study spaces in the Library in the Kelburn campus to join the classes online on their devices.

COVID-19 vaccinations

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week, COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be running in the Hub from 9 am to 4 pm. These clinics are run by Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling), in partnership with Tū Ora Compass Health and with support from VUWSA.

You can book your vaccination by calling 0800 282 296 or log into bookmyvaccine and use the booking code SC66OF8PCG. VUWSA are also running activities for students alongside the vaccination clinics.

You can find further information on how the University is operating and additional support for students elsewhere on our COVID-19 information site. Please get in touch with staff and our services if there’s anything we can help you with.

We will be in touch again when we have further information to share.

Kind regards,
Grant

8 September 2021 Student message

Vice-Chancellor's message to students, 8 September 2021

Dear all,

Thank you for your patience as we awaited the Delta alert level 2 guidance from the Ministry of Education.

In general terms, operating at alert level 2 reflects the confidence of public health authorities that COVID-19 is not currently circulating in the Wellington community. As a result, all businesses and services can open but legally must follow public health guidelines.

As I advised yesterday, we will resume normal University operations, including in-person teaching and delivery of student services, on Monday 13 September. You can come to campus this week of course to study or collect items you need.

We are committed to dual delivery, ensuring those of you who cannot get to campus can continue to study and use our services. This includes those of you who are in Auckland where alert level 4 continues, those of you overseas and those who are unable to come to campus for health or other personal reasons.

Learning and teaching

Under alert level 2, most courses are offered in dual mode. It is anticipated that there will be few new exceptions at this point in the teaching trimester.

Physical distancing of 1 metre is strongly recommended in learning and teaching spaces. A limit on 100 staff and students in each lecture or teaching space is strongly recommended. Our experience in previous periods under alert level 2 is that this maximum number was seldom reached. However, we will have an overflow space on the Kelburn campus that you can go to and join the class online using your device, if room capacity is exceeded or you feel uncomfortable being in a teaching space. This space will be in the Reading Room in the Kelburn Library.

Wearing a face covering is strongly recommended for staff and students in teaching and learning spaces but is not mandatory except in public-facing areas including Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling), the University Pharmacy, the University Recreation Centre and retailers on campus. You are also encouraged to wear a face covering in confined spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

We understand that some students may not be able to wear face coverings due to underlying health conditions. I urge you to be kind and support one another as we make a gradual transition back to campus life.

Entry and exit points in large learning and teaching spaces will be separate and clearly marked, and queue management systems will be in place.

There are a small number of already approved courses that have compulsory face to face components (PDF). All courses have contingency plans in place for any students who are not able to come to campus. There may also be a small number of courses that are delivered fully online. Students taking any of these courses will be notified via Blackboard and email.

You will notice a greater number of QR codes for the NZ Tracer app displayed in learning and teaching spaces, and in other places on campus, to ensure students and staff can comply with contact tracing requirements.

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.

Halls of residence

We look forward to soon welcoming our residents from other alert level 2 regions. Students are not required to wear face coverings at halls of residence as these are their places of residence, but may wish to do so in shared and communal areas.

Finally, another reminder that we are increasing ventilation in teaching spaces meaning they might be cooler than you are used to. You may need to bring extra clothing to class as a result.

While a return to more normal operations is welcome, some of you will understandably feel anxious about returning to campus and some of you will also have health concerns or other issues that may impact your return. Please reach out to any of our services if there’s anything we can support you with. Your wellbeing and safety is our priority.

Kind regards,

Grant

7 September 2021 Student message

Vice-Chancellor's message to students, 7 September 2021

Dear all,

With all of Aotearoa New Zealand outside Auckland moving to alert level 2 at 11.59 pm tonight, I wanted to give you a brief update on University operations under Delta alert level 2.

Unfortunately we are still waiting for formal guidance from the Ministry of Education. This is now expected tomorrow, Wednesday, which does not give us enough time for in-person teaching to resume on Thursday (as I indicated yesterday we were endeavouring to do). Accordingly, we will resume normal University operations, including in-person teaching and delivery of student services, on Monday 13 September.

Staff and students are able to return to campus from tomorrow, however, provided physical distancing requirements can be met. This will give staff time to prepare for the resumption of normal University operations next week.

Students may wish to come to campus from tomorrow to study, use the library, or collect items that they did not take with them when we moved into alert level 4. Student services will continue to be delivered fully online until next Monday.

If you are coming to campus, please remember to bring your ID card and record your movements.

We have had some informal discussions with government officials today, which indicate the Delta alert level 2 guidance from the Ministry of Education is likely to include the following:

  • Face coverings will be strongly recommended in educational facilities but are unlikely to be mandatory except for those in public-facing roles, such as reception desks.
  • Physical distancing of 1 metre inside will be required in educational facilities—which is what we have complied with in previous periods under alert level 2. If space is limited in a room, staff and students are asked to wear a face covering.
  • We expect a limit of 100 people being in a class at any one time. Our experience in previous periods under alert level 2 is that this maximum number was seldom reached.

Furthermore, we are increasing ventilation in teaching spaces. This means that rooms may be slighter cooler than what you are used to.

I’m sure you have more questions about how we will be operating in these new circumstances. We will provide more detailed information around the resumption of in-person teaching and other operations under Delta alert level 2 tomorrow.

Thank you

Grant

6 September 2021 Student message

Vice-Chancellor's message to students, 6 September 2021

Dear all,

As you will have heard, Aotearoa New Zealand, with the exception of Auckland, will move to alert level 2 at 11.59 pm tomorrow, Tuesday 7 September. Auckland remains at alert level 4 with alert level settings to be reviewed next Monday 13 September.

The Government has advised that education providers have until Thursday morning to officially reopen, and we will endeavour to begin teaching in person on Thursday (9 September).

There are, however, some aspects of the new protocols in Delta alert level 2 that need clarification in terms of their impact on University operations. We are awaiting guidance directly from the Ministry of Education about whether and/or how the new requirement for 2 metre distancing indoors and limits of 50 on gatherings might apply to the University.

We are expecting guidance from the Ministry of Education (MoE) within the next 24 hours and will update you as soon as possible.

As we get ready to welcome you on campus later this week, here are some details about what alert level 2 will look like on campus (bearing in mind that there may be some changes depending on advice from MoE).

Teaching and learning

  • In-person lectures, tutorials and seminars for many courses can take place in-person, but dual mode teaching continues. Studying online will be particularly important in instances where physical distancing protocols cannot be met.
  • Plans will be in place to pivot to full online teaching again if we move again to alert levels 3 or 4.
  • Please familiarise yourselves with how we will operate at under level 2, noting that these could change as a result of MoE guidance.

Research

  • We are waiting for further guidance from MoE about undertaking research at alert level 2 and will provide more information soon.

On campus activity under alert level 2

  • Students (and staff) can access University buildings by using their ID cards from Wednesday providing physical distancing protocols are met. All campuses are closed to the public.
  • It is mandatory to scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer app, with Bluetooth turned on, as you move through campus.
  • Maintain physical distancing—we are awaiting clarification of new requirements around this in educational and research settings.
  • Face coverings will need to be worn on campus.
  • Please stay home if you are unwell and adhere to the hygiene practices advised by the Ministry of Health when you are at work. You can find more information about these principles here.

Financial support

Help is available for students experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Most currently enrolled students who are in financial hardship are eligible to apply to the Hardship Fund, including international students.

The Hardship Fund helps with a range of issues including but not limited to:

  • A change in your employment situation
  • Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  • Increased living costs such as power
  • Difficulty covering weekly necessities.

Please email student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz to organise an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser or call 0800 04 04 04. You can find more information on the Hardship Fund page.

Student services

Most student services will offer in-person and online options. Please reach out to any of our services if there’s anything we can support you with. Your safety and wellbeing is our key priority.

University operations are much more complex at Delta alert level 2 and I know you may well have questions over the coming days. Please talk to your course coordinator if you have any specific questions.

We will be in touch again when we have received further information from the Ministry of Education.

Thank you and kia kaha,
Grant

Whitiki—1 September 2021

Message from the Vice-Provost (Academic)

Kia ora koutou,

A warm welcome back to the second half of the trimester. With all of Aotearoa south of the Auckland boundary now in alert level 3, I hope you’re safe and well in your bubbles.

Though we were hoping to see more of you back on campus this week, there will unfortunately be no on-campus teaching. Your safety and wellbeing is our key priority while under Alert Level 3. Students who do not have a suitable study space at home will be able to access allocated study spaces on campus. Learn more about how the University operates at different alert levels. If you have trouble accessing any space, please phone Campus Security on 0800 842 8888.

While being in alert level 4 coincided with the mid-trimester break for most students, we know that some of you, especially postgraduate students, have continued studying and working through the break. We’re aware that this period of lockdown has been more challenging for some of you and we hope you will reach out to our student services and support if there’s anything we can support you with. Our thoughts are also with all students in Auckland and Northland, at the centre of the current outbreak.

As we work towards addressing the challenges that have come up in the last couple of weeks, I’d also like to acknowledge all our students who are impacted by the current situation in Afghanistan. We are following the situation with great concern, and our thoughts are with all of you who have family and friend connections in this area. Please reach out to Kodrean Eashae, our refugee-background student adviser, if you need any support—email kodrean.eashae@vuw.ac.nz.

Please continue to check the Ministry of Health website and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you. We look forward to a time when we can welcome everyone back on campus.

Ngā mihi,
Stuart

Professor Stuart Brock, Vice-Provost (Academic)

Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling)

Starting today, 1 September, Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) is running clinics on Wednesdays and Thursdays every week, in addition to those already scheduled for Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Vaccinations

Students are encouraged to book their vaccinations through the Book My Vaccine website.

Student Counselling will continue to offer counselling sessions by phone or video appointments between 10 am and 4 pm from Monday to Friday. Students can call (04) 463 5308 to access this service.

Pūtea Āwhina—Hardship Fund

Help is available for students experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Most currently enrolled students who are in financial hardship are eligible to apply to the Hardship Fund, including international students.

The Hardship Fund helps with a range of issues including but not limited to:

  • A change in your employment situation
  • Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  • Increased living costs such as power
  • Difficulty covering weekly necessities.

Please email student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz to organise an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser or call 0800 04 04 04. You can find more information on the Hardship Fund page.

Student Services Levy

Earlier this year, the University held a consultation with students to understand how the University should charge the Student Services Levy, which is used to fund services that are not covered by tuition fees. Further to this, Student and Academic Services, in partnership with VUWSA, are conducting a short survey to understand which of three options students prefer.

Please check your email inbox for the link to the survey. This survey is open until Sunday 5 September. All participants who complete the survey by 11.59 pm on Sunday will go in the draw to win one of five $100 prizes towards supporting your living expenses.

All queries can be sent via email to student-levy@vuw.ac.nz.

Manawa Ora—Student Wellbeing

Sophie Standfield (she/her) is a second-year student majoring in Sociology and Political Science and minoring in New Zealand Sign Language and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a Rainbow Tuākana with the University's Rainbow and Inclusion service, part of Manawa Ora—Student Wellbeing.

Looking after ourselves

During the higher alert levels, our taha tinana (physical health) can impact our taha hinengaro (mental health) and vice versa, so try and take care of both. This could be in the form of watching content that makes you happy or listening to your favourite tunes. If you want less screen time, go for a walk and try and get some sunshine, or spend some time in the kitchen making some nourishing kai for yourself.

Getting a good amount of sleep is important, but oversleeping can also have negative side effects. If it’s something you need, making a routine can be beneficial—setting an alarm might suck, but having a regular sleep pattern can be worth it!

If your bubble is not the most affirming of places, know you can reach out. I recommend making a list of people who you can contact if you're struggling. Many organisations like InsideOUT, Qtopia, or QYouth are holding online spaces to offer connection during lockdown, and you can also plan things for when the country opens up again at lower levels.

Finally, ask yourself “does this spark joy?” You might not be in a position to remove the things that do not spark joy from your life right now, but try to notice what does make you happy and hold onto it.

Remember that you are never alone. Manawa Ora—Student Wellbeing is here to provide students with support, and for Rainbow students, you can contact Rainbow and Inclusion adviser Liam Bloomfield, email liam.bloomfield@vuw.ac.nz

myView

Information and our lives with animals

PhD student Niloofar Solhjoo loves pets. Recently, a spinal injury suffered by her dog Peter has confirmed in her mind just how special companion animals are in peoples’ lives. In this myView blog post, the Iran-based student explains how her experiences of living with and caring for pets inspired her PhD research project.

Read Niloo's story on the myView site

A community focus through the pandemic

Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) student Jennie Smeaton is a Ngāti Toa community leader with a passion for helping people get through the pandemic. In this myView post she talks about the mahi her iwi are providing in response to the latest COVID-19 outbreak and how her studies play a big part in helping her make a difference.

Read Jennie's story on the myView site

Share your stories with us!

If you’d like to contribute to our student blog myView and share your experiences and stories, visit the website and read our submission guidelines, or get in touch a students@vuw.ac.nz.

University Recreation

The team at Uni Rec are delivering live lounge group exercise classes for our students to stay active during lockdown!

Sessions coming up during the rest of the week are:

  • Thursday 2 September at 12 pm—Pump with Trudi on Zoom. Join the meeting and enter the meeting ID: 784 600 9063
  • Friday 3 September at 1 pm—Yoga with Liz on Instagram. Tune in to the story live on the Uni Rec Instagram.

Check out the schedule on our Facebook page for more upcoming sessions. If the live sessions times don’t work for you, check out this Pilates session on YouTube from our amazing instructor Arlene!

For more information about University Recreation, head over to the website and take a look at what we offer.

Notices

Requesting items from the Library in alert level 3

While we are in alert level 3, you are able to request items from both the Kelburn and Law Libraries to help with your individual study and research needs. We will be offering this service Monday to Friday.

You can collect requested items from level 2 of Kelburn Library (Monday–Friday, 10 am to 5 pm), or we can courier items to you at your home, or have chapters of books scanned and emailed to you. You can learn more on the Library’s website.

Postgraduate information evening

Come along to our Postgraduate information evening and get advice about choosing programmes and career pathways, and explore your research interests. The event is at
6 pm on Thursday 23 September at Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus. If New Zealand is not at COVID-19 alert level 1, this event will be held online, and all registrants will be sent an access link.

Accessing Wellington City Council services

In case you need help with accommodation or are having trouble affording food, here is a list of Wellington City Council services you can access.

Summer Research Scholarships 2021/22

Applications for Summer Research Scholarships 2021/22 open on 6 September 2021 and close at 4.30pm, Monday 20 September 2021. These scholarships offer a unique opportunity for external organisations, academics, and students to work together in research. Students gain valuable real-world experience as well as insights into what research is all about. Students are expected to work on a research project for up to 10 weeks (400 hours) over the summer trimester, under the supervision of well-established researchers or a research team at the University. Each Summer Research Scholarship includes a minimum tax-free stipend of $6,000.

Whītiki

As a student, we want you to feel connected with your Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington community. Whītiki is a Māori word that is often used in a phrase heard at the University: 'Whītiki mai tō waka ki te wharenui nei, ki Te Tumu Herenga Waka'—'tie or bind your canoe to this meeting house, to the hitching post of canoes'. This regular newsletter provides important information and updates from the University, resources to support your studies, and stories from our student community.

27 August 2021 Student message

Email from Vice-Chancellor, 27 August 2021

Dear all,

As you will have heard, Aotearoa New Zealand will remain at alert level 4 until 11.59 pm on Tuesday 31 August, at which point all of Aotearoa south of the Auckland boundary will move to alert level 3. That includes Wellington of course. Auckland remains at alert level 4, and the Government will announce how long this will stay in place on Monday.

We understand that this is a challenging and difficult time for our students, and your wellbeing and safety is our priority. We are aware that people face a variety of different challenges during lockdown and assure you that we are here to support you in any way we can.

With Trimester 2 resuming on Monday, here are a few details about how the University will operate next week

Teaching and learning

The University is closed during alert level 4 and students are not able to come to campus. All teaching will be delivered online during alert level 4 (on Monday and Tuesday next week).

Once we move to alert level 3 on Wednesday, all teaching will continue to be online and small voluntary in-person teaching bubbles may be approved. There will be no in-person assessments at alert level 3. Contingency assessment plans to replace in-person assessment will be communicated to students in Blackboard or by email. Please contact your course coordinators with any further questions you may have.

Learn more about how the University operates at different alert levels.

On campus

At alert level 3, students who do not have a suitable study space at home will be able to come to campus to access allocated study spaces in the Hub and the Reading Room in the library on the Kelburn campus. Students will need to use the entrance to the Hub at the Tim Beaglehole Courtyard. These spaces will be open on weekdays (Monday to Friday) between 10 am and 5 pm.

Students who are part of a course-specific teaching bubble will have relevant building access added to their student ID card. Please contact your course coordinator, who will be arranging bubbles. Don’t forget to bring your student ID with you if you come to campus to attend class. If you have trouble accessing any space, please call Campus Security on 0800 842 8888.

On campus students will need to:

  • Use their student ID card to gain access
  • Use the NZ COVID Tracer app, with Bluetooth turned on, as they move through campus
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 2m from others
  • Use hand sanitiser
  • Wear a mask when physical distancing can’t be maintained, and when moving around campus and in shared office and study spaces
  • Disinfect and clean any workspace/s you might be using.

Financial support

Help is available for students experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Most currently enrolled students who are in financial hardship are eligible to apply to the Hardship Fund, including international students.

The Hardship Fund helps with a range of issues including but not limited to:

  • A change in your employment situation
  • Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  • Increased living costs such as power
  • Difficulty covering weekly necessities.

Please email student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz to organise an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser or call 0800 04 04 04. You can find more information on the Hardship Fund page.

COVID-19 vaccinations

Students are encouraged to book their vaccinations through the Book My Vaccine website.

Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) will continue running clinics on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and starting 1 September, additional clinics will be organised on Wednesday and Thursdays.

Student Counselling will continue to offer counselling sessions by phone or video appointments between 10 am and 4 pm from Monday to Friday. Students can call (04) 463 5308 to access this service.

Research

At alert level 3, all research that can be conducted from home should be. Some exceptions can be made where access to specialist equipment is required.  Postgraduate research students needing access to campus for research should request permission from their Deans.

Student services

Here's a summary of all the student services you can access. More information is available on our student services and support page.

Our thoughts are with all staff and students who are in Auckland, at the centre of the current outbreak. We also acknowledge staff and students in other parts of the country outside of Auckland who are not able to return to Wellington due to COVID-related travel restrictions. We look forward to a time when we can welcome everyone back on campus.

It remains crucial that you check the Ministry of Health website detailing locations of interest and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you. Please reach out to any of our services if there’s anything we can support you with.

Kia kaha.  
Grant

23 August 2021 Student message

Email from Vice-Chancellor, 23 August 2021

Dear all,

As you will have heard, Aotearoa New Zealand will remain at alert level 4 until at least 11.59 pm on Friday 27 August. Auckland will remain at alert level 4 until at least 11.59 pm on Tuesday 31 August.

It remains crucial that you check the Ministry of Health website detailing locations of interest and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you.

Update on positive cases in Wellington

As you will have no doubt heard, there are two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wellington today, bringing the total number in the region to eight.

Last Friday, we advised you that one of our staff members was a close contact of two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wellington. The staff member has now also tested positive for COVID-19. However, the Regional Public Health team has advised that, based on prior negative tests, the staff member was not infectious until last Friday—when we were all at alert level 4. As a result, there are no locations of interest related to the staff member at the University. We are keeping in close touch with them and providing support.

Access to campus

The University is closed during alert level 4 and students are not currently able to come to campus.

COVID-19 vaccinations

Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) continues to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to students. Extra vaccination clinics will be made available in the next week. Students should keep an eye on the Book My Vaccine website for when these clinics become available.

Learn more about how Mauri Ora is operating at alert level 4.

Teaching at different alert levels

A summary of what you can expect in terms of teaching at different alert levels will be sent to students tomorrow from Vice-Provost (Academic) Professor Stuart Brock. This information will also be published on the University’s website tomorrow.

Student Volunteer Army

This is a difficult and challenging time for all of us, and it is extremely encouraging to see our Student Volunteer Army resume its work.

The Student Volunteer Army is here to help anyone who needs support across the Wellington region. If you are feeling isolated and need any support, please reach out to the volunteers.

The team is currently operating at reduced levels. You can also reach out to them if you’d like to become a member of the Army.

Financial support

If you are facing financial difficulty the University is able to help. You can apply to the Hardship Fund which helps with a range of issues including but not limited to:

  1. A change in your employment situation
  2. Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  3. Increased living costs such as power
  4. Difficulty covering weekly necessities.

This fund considers applications and pays out twice weekly via direct credit.

Please email student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz to organise an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser or call 0800 04 04 04.

Domestic students can find out about the different government support that may be available to them on Work and Income New Zealand's COVID-19 webpages. This includes the COVID-19 wage subsidy.

Student services

Here's a summary of all the student services you can access. More information is available on our student services and support page.

We understand that the current uncertainty affects us all and, once again, I encourage you to be kind to each other and to yourselves. Don’t hesitate to reach out to staff or any of our services if there’s anything we can support you with.

Kia kaha.  
Grant

20 August 2021 Student message

Email from Vice-Chancellor, 20 August 2021

Dear all,

As you will no doubt have heard, Aotearoa New Zealand will remain at alert level 4 until 11.59 pm Tuesday 24 August, and there are now three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Wellington region.

Positive cases in Wellington

The University has also been informed that one of our staff members is a close contact of two of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wellington. The staff member has so far tested negative for COVID-19. We are supporting the staff member and will be working closely with Regional Public Health, which will manage contact tracing.

It is crucial that you check the Ministry of Health website detailing locations of interest and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you.

This is difficult news for all of us and I encourage you to reach out for support if you need it.

Access to campus

The University is closed during alert level 4. Students are not currently able to come to campus.

Financial support

If you are facing financial difficulty the University is here to help. You can apply to the Hardship Fund which helps with a range of issues including but not limited to:

  • A change in your employment situation
  • Additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  • Increased living costs such as power
  • Difficulty covering weekly necessities.

Please email student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz to organise an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser or call 0800 04 04 04.

Learning and teaching

Vice-Provost (Academic) Professor Stuart Brock will be providing information on learning and teaching under alert level 4 and alert level 3 early next week. This will be emailed to all students.

Postgraduate research students

If your research is being disrupted by the lockdown, please discuss with your supervisor how to pivot your work in the short-term to things that you can do from your current location.

If you have any other questions, please talk to your supervisor in the first instance.

In light of the suddenness of the lockdown, the Dean of the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research has agreed that doctoral students who were planning to submit their thesis by 31 August will have a grace period and can submit up to 6 September without incurring fees for the month of September. The thirty-one Masters-by-thesis students who have thesis submission deadlines between today and 20 September 2021 can also be granted up to 6 days grace without requiring an extension.

University Pharmacy

The University Pharmacy on the Kelburn campus remains open during alert level 4, between 10 am and 3 pm, Monday to Friday for students who need to collect new and repeat medications, as well as other essential items.

Campus security will be near the entrance of the Easterfield building and will be able to let you inside the campus. Please bring your student ID card with you.

Student services

Here's a quick recap of all the student services you can access. More information is available on our student services and support page.

International Students

International students can contact the International Support Team at international-support@vuw.ac.nz. COVID-19 tests for all international students are free and all treatment related to COVID-19 will be covered by student insurance.

Please look after yourselves and others and follow all Ministry of Health advice on keeping our community safe, and don’t hesitate to reach out to staff or any of our services if there’s anything we can support you with.


Kia kaha.  
Grant

18 August 2021 Student message

Email from Vice-Chancellor, 18 August 2021

Dear all,

As you will have heard, the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Auckland region has grown and is expected to grow further in the coming days. All of New Zealand remains at alert level 4, and I urge you to take all necessary precautions to ensure that you remain safe.

Although it is mid-trimester break, we want to keep you updated about University operations.

Access to campus

The University is closed during alert level 4. Students are not currently able to come to campus to collect equipment or belongings. This will be reviewed if alert level 4 is extended beyond the current three-day period. We will keep you updated.

However, the University Pharmacy on the Kelburn campus remains open during alert level 4, between 10 am and 3 pm, Monday to Friday. Students who need to collect repeat medications can access this essential service on campus. The Pharmacy can be contacted on phone (04 472 8881) or email unichemuniversity@outlook.co.nz

Health and Counselling Services

Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) is continuing to deliver health and counselling services remotely with a small number of essential health appointments taking place in person. Read more about how Mauri Ora is operating at alert level 4.

Postgraduate research students

Postgraduate research students will need to work from home. Please contact your supervisor to discuss how to adjust your plans so that you can work effectively during lockdown.

You should also plan for the scenario that lockdown goes on beyond the current three-day period. For most of you, there will be useful work that you can do reading and/or writing.

Only research deemed ‘essential’ is allowed to continue on campus. This includes care for animals, biological specimens, samples, etc. This is being coordinated by the Schools concerned. If this affects you, your supervisor should be the one to coordinate with your School’s leadership.

Student services online

Student services are available online, and more information is available on the student services and support page.

By now, we hope you are safely located within your bubbles. Please look after yourselves and others and follow all Ministry of Health advice on keeping our community safe and don’t hesitate to reach out to staff or any of our services if there’s anything we can support you with.    

Kia kaha.  

Grant

17 August 2021 Student message

Email from Vice-Chancellor, 17 August 2021

Dear all,

As you will now know, New Zealand is moving to COVID-19 alert level 4 from 11.59 pm tonight. Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula will be at alert level 4 for seven days, and the rest of the country will be at alert level 4 for three days.

Given it is mid-trimester break, many of you may be away from Wellington. It is essential that you check the Ministry of Health website detailing locations of interest related to the latest COVID-19 community case in Auckland, and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you.

At alert level 4, the University will be closed, and all teaching and learning activity must be delivered online. Only those deemed as part of an ‘essential service’ will be allowed on campus—this includes security and those involved in active research activity who have permission from the relevant Dean. Our halls of residence will remain open.

Unfortunately our Open Day on Friday will be cancelled. However, we have contingency plans to ensure some information is provided digitally and our recruitment team will be in touch tomorrow with further information about this.

The University’s Crisis Management Team will be meeting tomorrow morning (Wednesday 18 August) to discuss the move to alert level 4.

Please look after yourselves and others and follow all Ministry of Health advice on keeping our community safe.

We will be in touch soon.

Kia kaha.

Grant

29 June 2021 Student message

Message to students—29 June 2021

Dear all,

As you have no doubt heard, the Wellington region is returning to COVID-19 alert level 1 from 11.59 pm tonight, Tuesday 29 June 2021.

This is welcome news and a great relief to us all as it means it will be business as usual on our campuses from tomorrow, Wednesday. There are no longer physical distancing requirements, and the public has full access to our campuses.

It is imperative however that we all remain vigilant, continue checking locations of interest on the Ministry of Health website, follow good hygiene practices and stay home if you are unwell. Please also scan QR codes using the NZ COVID Tracer app.

I’m pleased to let you know that all events can now resume. New Students’ Orientation for Trimester 2 will continue as planned, with a range of online sessions tomorrow and a mix of in-person and online events taking place on Thursday and Friday.

It continues to be mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport and we strongly recommend also bringing a face covering with you to campus.

I would like to thank you all for your patience and flexibility as we adjusted to a new alert level.

Please keep an eye on this COVID-19 information for students page for the latest updates on how the University is operating and guidance to keep our whole community safe.

Kind regards,

Grant

27 June 2021 Student message

Dear all,

As you will now know, the Wellington region is staying at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 until 11.59 pm on Tuesday 29 June 2021, and the rest of New Zealand remains at COVID-19 Alert Level 1.

The University will continue to operate as it did last week under Alert Level 2. You can find information about University operations below.

While it is good news that there are no cases of COVID-19 in the community, it remains important that you check the locations of interest on the Ministry of Health website and seek advice from Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Kind regards,
Grant

24 June 2021 Student message

Dear all,

I wanted to give you a brief update on the University’s response following yesterday’s COVID-19 alert level change in Wellington.

I am pleased to confirm that that our investigations have shown that the COVID-19 positive traveller who visited the Adam Art Gallery did not visit any other parts of the campus and no additional cleaning of any areas is required. The Adam Art Gallery has been thoroughly cleaned and will reopen tomorrow.

Given the rapidly unfolding situation yesterday, we took a precautionary approach in our advice to staff and students who had been in contact with close contacts of the COVID-19 positive traveller. Our advice was to stay away from campus if you (or someone you have been in contact with since the weekend) had been categorised as a ‘close contact’ from visiting a location of interest.

With more information now available and greater clarity about the situation, we can now revert back to the Ministry of Health guidelines for contacts of people who have been in a location of interest. You should still not come to campus if you are unwell. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and follow their advice.

Under Alert Level 2:

  • Carry your student ID card at all times to swipe in and out of buildings. Please also scan QR codes using the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer app.
  • Please also carry a face covering and wear it where you cannot easily observe physical distancing.
  • Follow the hygiene practices advised by the Ministry of Health.

University operations at Alert Level 2:

  • All campus areas remain available to students and staff, but our campuses are closed to the public.
  • All non-educational events that would involve more than 100 people must be postponed, cancelled, or moved online.
  • All campus libraries will be open between 8.30 am and 8 pm, with the exception of the Commerce library, which will close at 5 pm. During the weekend, all libraries will be open between 10 am and 3 pm.
  • Student services continue to offer in-person and remote appointments and are available to provide support.
  • Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) offers more services online or over the phone and resumes infection control and distancing precautions. Read how we operate at Alert Level 2.

We will continue to update information on this COVID-19 information for students webpage, and will provide further information by email when there is any significant update. At this stage, that is likely to be on Sunday when Cabinet meets in the morning to review the Alert Level settings. These are currently in place until 11.59 pm on Sunday night (27 June).

Thank you for following the guidelines and keeping our whole community safe.

Grant

23 June 2021 First Student message

It is essential that all students in New Zealand check the Ministry of Health website detailing locations of interest in Wellington related to the latest case and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you.

We remain at Alert Level 1 for now but there is a degree of uncertainty about what happens next and we must be prepared for the possibility of moving up an alert level.

Note the following:

  • Do not come to campus if you are unwell; anyone that becomes ill should remain at home and must seek medical advice through Healthline—0800 611 116—or their GP. You can contact Mauri Ora (Student Health) on 04 463 5308.
  • If you have any symptoms of respiratory illness, call first and do not come into Mauri Ora. As a precaution, there will be social distancing in the waiting room and we will be screening students to ensure they have not been to Sydney on either of the flights noted on the Ministry of Health website (QF163 and NZ247).
  • Do not come to campus if you have been at a location of interest (see above) and, as a result, are advised to stay at home by the Ministry of Health.
  • When on campus please closely adhere to the hygiene practices advised by the Ministry of Health—find more information about these principles.
  • Follow contact tracing processes. You should download the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer app (including enabling the Bluetooth function) and scan the QR codes at entry points to buildings and as you move throughout campus. You can download the app in the Apple App Store or from Google Play. You are also encouraged to swipe in and out of buildings and use the physical sign-in sheets around our campuses. Carry your student ID card at all times.

This is a developing situation and we will keep you updated on any changes by email, on the University social media channels and on this webpage.

You can contact us on the main information number 0800 04 04 04 or by emailing info@vuw.ac.nz if you have any further questions.

23 June 2021 Second Student message

Dear all,

As you will now know, the Wellington region is returning to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 from 6 pm tonight, Wednesday 23 June. This will stay in effect until 11.59 pm on Sunday 27 June, with the Government due to review the situation on Sunday. The rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 1.

Please check the Ministry of Health website detailing locations of interest in Wellington related to the latest case and follow the instructions on that site if they apply to you.

The change in alert levels has occurred at the beginning of the mid-trimester break so the impact on learning and teaching activities will be minimal. Students who would be attending one of the very limited range of teaching (or other) activities are asked to please contact your course coordinator, or the person responsible for planning the event, for information about any change to arrangements.

If we remain at Alert Level 2, or higher, beyond Sunday 27 June, we will send you further information about teaching and learning activities in Trimester 2, which commences on Monday 5 July.

As a reminder, do not come to campus if you are unwell. If you become ill, remain at home and seek medical advice through Healthline—0800 358 5453.

You should not be on campus if you or someone you have been in contact with since the weekend have been categorised as a ‘close contact’ from visiting a location of interest. You should also get in touch with Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and follow their advice.

Adam Art Gallery

We have been advised by the Ministry of Health that the COVID-19 positive traveller visited the Adam Art Gallery on our Kelburn campus on Sunday 20 June. They were at the Gallery from around 12.30 pm for about 40 minutes. As a result, the Adam Art Gallery has been closed until further notice. A deep clean of the Gallery is being carried out.

Only members of the public who were associated with the COVID-positive traveller were in the Gallery at the time of the visit.

The staff member who was working at the Gallery on Sunday is isolating at home and is seeking medical guidance. Although the risk is low,  we have also asked all other Gallery staff to work from home as a precautionary measure.

Alert Level 2 operations

At Level 2, all campus areas remain available to students and staff but our campuses are closed to the public. All non-educational events that would involve more than 100 people will need to be postponed, cancelled, or moved online.

Remember that face coverings are mandatory on public transport and we ask that you also bring a face covering to campus and wear it wherever you cannot easily observe physical distancing. It is essential we all follow the guidelines to look after ourselves and each other. Please follow the hygiene practices advised by the Ministry of Health. Please also follow contact tracing processes and carry your student ID card at all times to swipe in and out of buildings.

Under Alert Level 2, Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) offers more services online or over the phone, and resumes infection control and distancing precautions. If you are advised to attend an in-person appointment, you are asked to wear a face covering. Check the Mauri Ora website for advice on operations at Alert Level 2.

If you have any disability-related needs as a result of, or impacted by, the change of alert levels, contact Disability Services to help you. If you would like to book a remote or in-person appointment, or if you have any questions or concerns, contact (04) 463 6070 or disability@vuw.ac.nz. Please follow the advice above and do not attend in person if you are unwell, have visited the locations of interest or have been advised to stay at home. If you have an in-person appointment, Disability Services will be screening all visitors upon arrival at reception.

Student services continue to offer in-person and remote appointments and are available to provide support.

At Alert Level 2, all campus libraries will be open between 8.30 am and 8 pm, with the exception of the Commerce library, which will close at 5 pm. During the weekend, all libraries will be open between 10 am and 3 pm.

Students in our halls of residence will be sent additional information by hall staff.

While it is largely ‘business as usual’ on our campuses, there is a degree of uncertainty about what happens next and we should be prepared for the possibility of moving to Alert Level 3.

We understand this is a stressful time so please take care of your wellbeing and reach out for help if you need to.

We will keep you updated on further developments by email, on this COVID-19 information for students page, and on our social media channels.

Please take care of each other.

Grant

5 March 2021 Update

This message is sent to all students on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford

Dear all,

As you will now know, the Wellington region, along with all other parts of New Zealand outside Auckland, is returning to COVID-19 alert level 1 from 6am on Sunday 7 March, while Auckland moves to alert level 2.

This is welcome news and means it will be business as usual on our campuses from next week. There are no longer physical distancing requirements, the public has full access to our campuses and all events can resume. Our Auckland premises will be operating under alert level 2 guidelines.

This weekend, the Library will remain open at alert level 2 opening hours and revert back to normal hours on Monday 8 March (all campuses, 8am–midnight). You can use quiet places around our libraries to watch classes online or to study.

Please note that it continues to be mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport and we strongly encourage you to bring a face covering to campus. It is also crucial that we all continue following good hygiene practices and that you scan QR codes as you move around campus.

I would like to thank you all for your patience and flexibility as we adjusted to a new alert level.

Please check the COVID-19 information for students page for the latest updates on how the University is operating.

Regards,
Grant

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford

Back to the main COVID-19 information page