Monday 23 March (part 2)

COVID-19 update Monday 23 March (part 2)

This is a message to all students from Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford

I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected in this very difficult and stressful period.

I am now able to provide further details about the impact on our university of the announcement that New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert level has risen to 3 and will rise to level 4 from Wednesday at 11.59 pm, after which people must make every endeavour to stay at home.

The two-day period between the announcement and the ‘lockdown’ taking effect gives us all a brief window to ensure family and personal priorities are taken care of, and to finalise preparations for being at home or staying in a hall of residence. This period of living and studying from home or a hall will be for a minimum of four weeks from Thursday.

Academic arrangements

All teaching will stop from today until the scheduled mid-trimester break ends. This will give us an additional three-week period to prepare for a change in delivery methods, to teaching online.

Teaching will recommence online on Tuesday 28 April. Notwithstanding this, there will still be an Online Student Engagement Day on Thursday 2 April. This will be instead of Friday’s scheduled Teaching and Learning from Home Day. It is intended to be an opportunity for you to check your ability to engage with your teachers online. More detail on this will be provided soon.

Because no face-to-face or on-campus activities are permissible, there will be no examinations for Trimester 1. As a consequence, the teaching period will be extended by three weeks at the end of trimester into the period previously occupied by the week-long study period and two-week examination period. The last day of teaching for the trimester will be 26 June. The mid-year break will remain as it is currently scheduled.

We will be replacing exams with alternative forms of assessment that can be completed at home and we will provide you with more information about this.

Research students, like taught students, will need to work from home.

Halls of residence

All students in our halls of residence have been asked to return home as soon as possible. Our halls will be closing to students at 1.30 pm on Wednesday. All accommodation contracts will be suspended from today, and students will not be charged during this time.

Students are who unable to return home will be provided with accommodation at Weir House. This will ensure we can provide everyone a high level of care while ensuring health is protected through good public health practices. We will provide food and other services to all remaining students and will also care for hall students who are currently self-isolating.

Essential services

Student Academic Services will be working remotely but will continue to support students and provide pastoral care. Appointments will continue to be made with students through email, video, Zoom, and telephone. This includes the Student Interest and Conflict Resolution team, Disability Services, Career and Employment, Student Learning, and Student Wellbeing services.

Student Health and Counselling (Mauri Ora) will remain operating on the Kelburn campus only. Appointments will be managed online or by phone. All appointment requests or requests for medical advice should be made via phone call on 04 463 5308. Please do not come into the practice to make enquiries and please check the website for further details. If it is an emergency, please contact 111.

If you have a counselling appointment, your counsellor will telephone you at your scheduled appointment time. Duty Counselling will also occur via telephone from tomorrow, between 1 pm and 4 pm each day. Further updates on counselling services will be provided on the Mauri Ora website.

Student support coordinators will continue to provide services to those students remaining in halls of residence as required.

Student Recruitment will be delivering course planning service to future student and advice to schools remotely.

The Kelburn pharmacy will continue to operate until Friday 27 March and then a decision will be made on continuation of service. We understand this is a particularly worrying time for students with high health needs. Prescription requests for medication should be made using the Student Health online form, and please let us know where you would like these sent to as these can no longer be collected from Mauri Ora in person. If you have run out of medication, please call Student Health by phone, 04 463 5308, during business hours.

Victoria University of Wellington's COVID-19 Contact Centre will continue to operate on 0800 04 04 04 and info@wgtn.ac.nz. Further details will be provided over the next two days. If you are concerned about your access to devices to access online material or your internet connectivity, please advise the Contact Centre. The University’s Disability Services is working with our COVID-19 Contact Centre to ensure students with high health and students with disabilities are provided with all other support, including academic needs. We will also be remaining in close contact with students who are currently in self-isolation.

Our technology service (ITS) will work remotely and can be contacted through the usual channels.

Libraries on our campuses are closed but access to electronic resources and to our Library staff remains available.  If you need any assistance or have questions, please email us at library@vuw.ac.nz.

Wellington University International will move all its services online, including International Student Support, International Enquires, Admissions, Wellington International Leadership Programme, International Admissions, Visa and Insurance. In the first instance students should email international@vuw.ac.nz.

As I have mentioned before, the weeks ahead are going to be challenging but there is absolutely nothing that we will not be able to find our way through if we work together. Please take care not just of yourself but also your family and friends. I understand that you will have further questions and I will provide a further update tomorrow and regular communication in the coming days and weeks. I encourage you to regularly visit our website for updated information.

All the best and kia kaha.

Professor Grant Guilford
Vice-Chancellor of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington