COVID-19 information for students

The University is taking advice from authorities on COVID-19. We are supporting students to manage the impact on your health, studies, finances, and wellbeing.

This page was last updated on 23 March 2021.

Message to students—23 March 2021

  • All of New Zealand is at alert level 1.
  • Please read the latest update to students from the Vice-Chancellor.
  • At alert level 1, all campus areas are open and all usual activity is allowed on campus.
  • Teaching will be taking place on campus, with online options available.
  • Let us know whether you have appropriate technology, connectivity and study space by answering these questions.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to bring a face covering to campus. It is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport in New Zealand.
  • Students are asked to follow contact tracing processes. Please download and use the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer app (including enabling the Bluetooth function) and scan QR codes wherever you see them on campus, or keep a record of your movements.
  • Do not come to campus if you are unwell; anyone that becomes ill should remain at home and seek advice through Healthline—0800 358 5453—or their GP.
  • Read how Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) is operating at alert level 1.
  • Student services continue to offer in-person and online appointments and workshops.

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.

Go to your Faculty office with questions about your degree and courses, for academic transcripts and help with other academic matters.

Current university operations

All of New Zealand is at alert level 1.

Contact tracing on campus

Download and use the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer app (including enabling the Bluetooth function) and scan the QR codes at entry points to buildings. You can download the app in the Apple App Store or from Google Play.

You are encouraged to be vigilant with scanning QR codes as you move through the University. You are also encouraged to swipe in and out of buildings and use the physical sign-in sheets around our campuses.

Health and hygiene

If you are unwell, you must stay at home and not return to campus until you are fully recovered. If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, seek medical advice—contact your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately. If you are living in halls, you should let your Head of Hall know.

When on campus, please follow the hygiene practices advised by the Ministry of Health—regularly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, use the hand sanitiser stations placed around the University, and cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Hand sanitiser stations can be found around our campuses, and will be regularly refilled. High-contact surfaces like door handles, handrails, push plates, taps, and tables are being cleaned frequently.

If you are in the at-risk category for COVID-19 according to the Ministry of Health guidelines, you may wish to consider studying remotely.

Most courses can be accessed online via Blackboard—contact your Faculty office if you have any questions or concerns relating to your study.

Face coverings/masks

When using public transport, it is now mandatory to use a face covering/mask during COVID-19 at all alert levels. You must also wear a face covering when you’re travelling on a domestic flight anywhere in New Zealand.

All students and staff should continue to bring a face covering to campus and use as appropriate, such as in crowded spaces or when attending large gatherings.

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. Science educator Dr Michelle Dickinson gives a demonstration of how to make your own mask.

Looking after yourself and others

If you are concerned about your own health, or anxious about coming into campus, the majority of courses in 2021 support in-person and online enrolment.

This University has a set of core ethical values, as well as a commitment to wellbeing, inclusivity, and diversity. We want everyone to feel safe and included on campus.

Be respectful to each other and to staff and take the time to connect with and look out for fellow students.

Look after yourself and others by prioritising your wellbeing during this period of uncertainty. Our student wellbeing leaders and Student Wellbeing team have created a series of resources to support you.

The Ministry of Health has advice on managing your mental wellbeing, and the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience has strategies for coping with COVID-19.

It is normal to feel stressed or lonely at the moment as we all navigate difficult circumstances. For support with anxiety or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 free at any time and talk to a trained counsellor, or contact Student Counselling.

Student services

Student services are available on campus. At the same time, all services continue to deliver online resources and options for the remote delivery of services. Find more information on the student services and support page.

Teaching and learning

Find out more about teaching and learning in 2021.

Find and manage the information, systems, and tools you need while studying.

Student Learning have put together resources to support skills for online learning.

Faculty offices

Contact your Faculty office with questions about your degree courses and help with other academic matters.

Support for studying

If you are unable to study from home because you do not have access to a computer, specific software or a wifi connection, you can apply to the laptop loan scheme.

Access resources for managing your studies.

Student Finances

Solutions are available for students experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19.

Student finance advisers are holding on campus and online meetings with students.

Most currently enrolled students who are in financial hardship are eligible to apply for help from the Hardship Fund, including international students. The University will continue to support the Fund and students who are experiencing financial need.

More information on the type of financial assistance available to support students, including the Hardship Fund, the loan laptop scheme, and the Tutor Relief Fund can be found on the Hardship Fund page.

StudyLink support

Information on support available from StudyLink can be found on the student loans and allowances page.

Withdrawing from courses and StudyLink

When considering withdrawing from classes, keep in mind that this may affect your student loan support (student loan living costs, student allowance, course related costs) if StudyLink no longer recognise you as a full-time student. Full-time study is defined by StudyLink as being enrolled in at least 48 points in one trimester OR 96 points in two or more trimesters in the same loan period. If you are concerned about losing this support, contact student-finance@vuw.ac.nz before withdrawing to discuss your options first.

As StudyLink view late withdrawals as fail grades, withdrawing from courses may also affect your future student loan entitlements, this continues to apply and there has been no relaxation of the rules. StudyLink requires students to have passed more than half of their study in the past 5 years to be eligible for a student loan. If you are withdrawing due to exceptional circumstances affecting your ability to study, you can appeal to Studylink to have this paper disregarded from their calculations. More information can be found on the StudyLink website.

Remember: if you choose to withdraw from study, you need to let the University and StudyLink know straight away.

If you are withdrawing from study due to exceptional circumstances, more information can be found on the fees reconsideration page.

International students in New Zealand

International student support

The team at Wellington University International continues to support international students, in New Zealand and overseas. The team can be contacted directly by email international-support@vuw.ac.nz for information, advice, or guidance on visas, insurance, referrals, specialist scholarship support (such as the New Zealand Scholarships Programme), and other wellbeing and support needs. One-on-one appointments in person, by phone, or by Zoom can be requested through email. Further information for students outside New Zealand.

Paying your fees

If you are facing difficulties paying your tuition fees on time, contact the Student Fees Advisors via student-finance@vuw.ac.nz. However, to be eligible for the Fee Paying Student Visa, Immigration New Zealand requires:

  1. proof that you have paid your tuition fees or proof that you have a scholarship or loan that is paying on your behalf, and
  2. proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you are studying in New Zealand, and
  3. proof of how you will return home when your studies are complete (such as copies of airline tickets or proof of funds to buy them).

Student who are approved a payment plan with Student Finance have the option to pay their tuition fees in full for one trimester. The visa granted will be for this duration and will require you to renew your visa.

It is not possible to apply for a student visa if you have not paid in full for at least your next trimester of study and without evidence you have sufficient funds to support yourself and proof of how you will return home when your studies are complete.

If you are concerned about meeting the requirements for your visa, contact our International Student Advisor—Visa at Wellington University International, student-visa@vuw.ac.nz as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Find more information on renewing your visa as an enrolled student.

International student advisers

International student advisers are here to provide information, advice, and guidance to you during your time in New Zealand while studying at the University. Their primary role is student support, rather than academic advice. The team can also provide information about visas and insurance.

We understand that living and studying in a foreign country can be challenging and talking about it can help. This is particularly important now, when you may be anxious about your family overseas and what is happening in your home country.

Visa information

Immigration NZ is processing Full Fee-paying student visas for applicants who are already in New Zealand. You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter. More information for Student Visa holders.

Studentsafe University insurance and COVID-19

If you contract COVID-19 in New Zealand, and you are insured with Studentsafe University insurance, the medical cost of treatment will be covered. But if you have other types of insurance, you need to contact your insurance company to find out whether they will cover it. More information about Studentsafe University insurance.